Posted In:Home Improvement Archives - Pligg

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7 of the Best Interior Design Trends of 2018

March 25, 2018 - By 
interior design trends

According to statistics, Americans will collectively spend upwards of 18 billion dollars annually on professional interior design services.

Of course, you don’t have to turn to an expert to give your home or apartment a facelift. All you have to do is become a student of emerging interior design trends.

This year proves to be a great time to completely revamp your living spaces. Get out your paint cans, find some awesome fabrics and get started!

1. Rich Colors Own the Moment

Tired of all those funky neons? Bored by pastels? It’s time to graduate to some robust colors.

Even if you don’t want to paint your bedroom in a deep burgundy, find a way to incorporate a sophisticated palette into your rooms. You’ll immediately bring a sense of warmth and wealth with rich hues.

2. Textured Floors Catch the Eye

What can you expect to see on all those popular interior designer websites this year? If you’re focused on flooring, you’ll notice plenty of texture.

A fast way to texturize your floors is to add interesting throw rugs with patterns such as stripes, florals or geometric shapes.

3. Clutter Gives Way to Calm

Maybe you’ve lived for a while with a Bohemian household that includes plenty of trinkets and knick-knacks. The era of clutter is out of style, though.

Consider putting things away as a means to downsize your living spaces. Best of all, this is one of those interior design trends that can have an immediate uplifting effect. After all, psychologists have shown that decluttering creates a relaxing environment.

4. Nature Comes Knocking

With so much emphasis on eco-friendliness, it’s little wonder that plants, flowers and even small trees are increasingly used in today’s interior design trends.

Have an allergy to outdoor items because of pollen? Try a faux replacement with the look of nature minus all the allergens.

5. Smells and Sounds Play Big Roles

Most of the time, we think of how to change up our visual and physical elements. However, homeowners and apartment dwellers are beginning to bring pleasant aromas and happy sounds into their houses.

For instance, why not download some inspiring music and have it playing in the background to uplift you and your housemates. At the same time, purchase a diffuser to mist away stress with irresistibly lovely smells.

6. Spa Bathrooms Will Take Over

Wouldn’t it be great to take a trip to the spa every day? You can with a few modifications in your bathroom.

Even if you can’t afford to get a soaker tub, you can still do a few upgrades to feel like royalty. Consider buying a wall-mounted towel heating rack, luxurious bath sheets and upscale products.

Decorate your personal spa in relaxing tones. Be sure to remove personal items from surfaces to streamline the appearance of the bath.

7. Spectacular Ceilings Make Everyone Look Up

For far too long, the ceiling has gotten far too little love from DIY interior designers.

Fortunately, that era has ended.

Consider playing up your ceiling with a fancy chandelier, textured ceiling (not a 1970s popcorn one) or some kind of fun accent color that’s lighter than the surrounding wall colors.

It’s Never Too Late to Try Fresh Interior Design Trends

Haven’t redone your home in an age? Now’s the time to make a pact with yourself and completely revitalize your spaces.

Who knows? You might just be so inspired by your creativity that you decide to find out how to write your own design ebook so you can share your ideas!


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How to Choose the Best Kitchen Appliances

March 10, 2018 - By 
kitchen appliances

From Smeg’s incredible collaboration with Dolce and Gabbana to Marc Newson’s stunning range of toasters and tea kettles, kitchen appliances are no longer serving a purpose — they’re also making a statement.

Whether you’ve just redone your kitchen and are looking for an upgrade, or if you’re interested in connecting with your inner Julia Child, you need options that combine form and function.

However, buying the right appliances is seldom as easy as it looks.

There are lots of hidden factors that you’ll need to take into consideration when making your decision.

Need a little help in getting it right?

If so, then keep on reading our appliance buying guide.

Consider The Cost

Of course, the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re putting together a plan for your kitchen appliances is your budget.

Especially if you gravitate towards expensive materials and brand names, the cost of appliances can add up pretty quickly. Before you know it, you’ve spent so much that you can’t afford to finish installing that backsplash tile.

To help keep you in check, keep in mind that your appliance budget should be between roughly 8-10% of your overall remodeling budget.

Chances are, this number is a lot lower than you anticipated.

However, it’s ok to select a few “investment appliances” — especially if they’ll actually help you to keep costs down in the end.

For example, consider investing in steel appliances, which are more durable and resistant to staining and rust. Think about whether it would be financially smarter to invest in an electric or gas stove, depending on how much you actually cook at home.

Would going over budget to invest in smart appliances, which may ultimately help you to save on electricity and water costs, be a wise move?

These are all crucial things to think about when defining your budget.

Read The Consumer Reviews

So, you’ve fallen in love with a variety of kitchen appliances — though that love is mostly based on looks alone.

We get it.

It’s incredibly easy to get distracted by beauty and completely ignore the more important things, like overall functionality and the amount of space an appliance will take up on your countertops.

(Speaking of, let’s take this opportunity to remind you of taking as many exact measurements as possible before investing in any appliances.)

Luckily, the good news is that you’re likely not the only person who has ever been interested in these appliances. And you can rely on the reviews of dozens, possibly even hundreds, of past consumers to determine whether or not the appliances you’re considering truly live up to the hype.

For example, these ice maker reviews outline the pros and cons of some of the most popular ice makers on the market. They also detail the different features, give the dimensions of the machines, and compare them to other bestselling brands.

When it comes to reviews, there’s really no such thing as “too thorough.”

Think About What You Really Need

When you’re shopping for kitchen appliances, it’s incredibly easy to allow your eyes to be too big for your stomach — or at least, for your countertops.

In order to determine what you actually need, and what you can find a way to live without, think about the meals you like to cook the most.

Do you need a stand mixer because you love making cookies for your neighbors, or do you just vow to make this the year that you actually try to make gingerbread, only to put it off yet again?

How often do you toast bread, microwave a bowl of oatmeal, make tea on the kettle or use your toaster oven?

These are all things to take into consideration to help you understand what your essentials actually are. Plus, the less you spend on appliances, the more you’ll have leftover to dedicate to the rest of your interior decor and design.

When In Doubt, Stay Neutral

So, you’ve outlined a thorough budget, you’ve figured out which appliances you truly do need, and you’ve even read a few reviews of the frontrunners.

Now, it’s time to think about the tones, materials, and colors that you’ll choose.

We know that it can be tempting to go for the latest trend, the most over-the-top pattern, or the sleekest design of the moment.

However, especially if you don’t plan to renovate your kitchen once every three years, you need to design with longevity in mind. After all, no one wants a kitchen that will look outdated by the time it’s finished being installed.

For best results, we suggest sticking to more neutral colors like brown, black, white, or silver/chrome.

Keep in mind that it’s totally possible to liven up your kitchen with bold prints and patterns in other ways. Save the crazier designs for your curtains, your placemats, and your decorative dishes instead.

Which Kitchen Appliances Will You Choose?

We hope that this post has helped you to figure out how to choose the best kitchen appliances for your home.

Remember, it’s all about neutral shades, setting a firm budget, knowing what you need, and reading online reviews to make sure the appliances you’re thinking about are actually worth it.

Looking for more home and kitchen decor advice?

Want to access manuals and guides that will help you to go the DIY route when it comes to setting up your appliances and upgrading your kitchen?

We’re here to help.

Spend some time on our website and blog to access ebooks, articles, and guides about everything decor.


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5 Home Improvement Apps for DIYers

March 9, 2018 - By 

Remodeling the house is a mammoth task. And if it’s left up to contractors and builders, you could spend a huge amount of money.

But how about you “do it yourself”?

In fact, statistics say that only 41% of the population would leave it to the professionals, whereas over half of you feel confident enough to give it a go yourselves.

But doing it yourself means you’ve got to plan, design, get the right tools and supplies and more!

But before you rush down to the local hardware shop, first visit a virtual store! Yes, use your smartphone, whether it’s Google Play Store or the App Store and check out their cool DIY apps!

Keep reading for five home improvement apps that will assist you with your next DIY project.

Home Improvement Apps

Okay, so you’ve all heard of Pinterest (for inspiration) and YouTube (for “how to” videos) but there are several other apps that can help you with very specific tasks.

For example, you can:

  • Find the perfect color scheme
  • Get inspired by decorating ideas
  • Calculate the number of tiles needed
  • Measure a space
  • Rearrange your furniture virtually
  • Hang pictures or mirrors with a digital level

These next five home improvement apps are all unique and useful in their own way. Most are free or cheap, so don’t be shy to download them and test them out for yourself.

1. Home Design 3D

This app allows you to build a 3D model of your home so you can visualize what your home improvement project will look like. Many professional companies actually use similar software when they are designing a home.

You can basically design it to look any way you want. With a database of over 1000 items, you can even furnish and accessorize your virtual home.

Using this app can also help you to iron out any issues before you start demolishing things!

Available for iOS and Android. And it’s free! But can be upgraded to a premium version for those hardcore DIYers!

There are many other similar home improvement apps, some free and some available in a range of prices. For example, Magic Plan and Adornably are both excellent apps for designing your home, giving you the chance to try before you buy!

2. ColorSnap

ColorSnap is an extremely useful app that can help you pick the perfect color for your home.

They have a huge selection of colors to choose from. The app features a photo color matcher, paint previewer and you can even create your own color palette.

The purpose is to help you to digitally test your color scheme ideas without wasting time painting and repainting until you’ve got it right. It’ll save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Available for iOS and Android. It’s free! Yay!

Other similar apps include TapPainter and Project Colour, which both have similar features of giving you the opportunity to play with colors before you grab a paintbrush.

3. iHandy Carpenter

This app allows you to turn your smartphone into a carpentry toolkit! It really lives up to its name, as your phone is totally handy and small compared to dragging around a load of bulky tools.

The app includes a ruler, surface level, steel protractor, bubble level bar and plumb bob, all useful carpentry tools.

Available for iOS and Android. Can be purchased for $1.99.

Another practical carpentry app is The Woodshop Widget, which is available only for iOS at $3.99. It includes a helpful collection of calculators and converters specifically designed for woodworking projects. A cool feature of the app is that it can estimate how different kinds of wood can expand or shrink under different conditions.

4. Wikihow

Just like Wikipedia, but tailored especially for DIY. Wikihow contains thousands of how-to guides. From quick repairs to major DIY, Wikihow has got it all.

Wikihow completes its instructions with illustrations and videos. You can browse and search categories, bookmark specific how-to’s for offline reading and keep up with their featured articles.

This handy app also includes smaller DIY or craft projects, so you can finish off your decor nicely. Another useful feature (only currently for iOS) is the inclusion of first aid tips, which might be useful for those common DIY accidents!

Available for iOS and Android. Another freebie!

DIY Tip Genious app is also full of great DIY advice. From helpful techniques and professional guides to random household tips, it’s a helpful source to have when it comes to home projects.

5. Pro Landscape Home

Many DIYers put loads of time and effort into designing the interior, but what about the exterior?

The Pro Landscape Home app is similar to interior design apps, such as Home Design 3D mentioned above, but it focuses on the exterior of your home. You can take a photo of your backyard and then start designing your outdoor space.

There are thousands of shrubs, trees, flowers and garden accessories to choose from. Even extra features such as a fire pit or patio set are available.

You can add your chosen plants and accessories into your virtual backyard to visualize what your newly landscaped garden will look like. A cool feature this app includes is, if you tell the app your location it will help to choose plants and flowers that will thrive in your climate!

Available for iOS and Android. And again, it’s free as a bird!

There are a few more apps with similar features, such as PRO Landscape Companion, that can also help you to visualize your dream garden!

Leave It to the Professionals

Yes, these apps are super cool and can help you to be successful in your DIY projects. But sometimes it’s best to leave it up to the professionals.

Your phone continues to help though! Through several apps, you can view most major hardware store chains or professional builders in your area.

This is especially helpful if something goes wrong or if it’s something you can’t fix alone.

For example, a blocked drain. You can use different kinds of chemicals or a plunger for a while, but if it’s a consistent problem, only a professional plumber can solve the issue. Dr. Drip Plumbing professionals are well equipped to handle a blocked shower drain, check out their page for more information.

A New World of Technology

As you can see, technology is advancing more than ever before. Your smartphone isn’t just for sharing photos online anymore. It can really help practically, especially with these home improvement apps!

While your phone can’t replace a full set of physical tools, it can help you to design, measure, calculate, order and find qualified professionals!

For more DIY hacks, check out our blog.


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10 Best Sites To Go Furniture Shopping Online

March 1, 2018 - By 
furniture shopping online

When it comes to redecorating your home, finding the perfect pieces makes all the difference.

Whether you’re an interior design expert or not, you know that the right furniture and a few great details can complete a space.

But before you rush out to your local furniture store, think twice. Even if you visit a dozen stores, you’ll likely only see a small selection of the same pieces again and again. You’ll only get to see a few colors, patterns, and styles that may or may not match your space.

Furniture shopping online offers a great solution. You can browse countless pieces in every color and pattern imaginable. But finding the right online furniture makes all the difference.

If you’re ready to find the perfect pieces for your home, check out these 10 awesome websites.

1. Modern Digs Furniture

With so many websites online offering furniture, it can be tough to find quality pieces. ModernDigsFurniture.com can help.

Modern Digs offers a variety of modern pieces for every room in your home and office. Browse desks and chairs, sofas and end tables, and more. You can choose from simple, minimalist styles or colorful items to match your unique style.

2. Wayfair

Wayfair is another great one-stop-shop for furniture shopping online. From sofas and sideboards to mattresses and wall decor, they have everything you need to furnish your space.

Another benefit of Wayfair is how easy they make it to find what you need. They offer a variety of room inspirations and ideas to help you choose the perfect pieces for your style and space.

Wayfair offers furniture and decor in a range of prices to fit any budget. They also offer free shipping on orders over $49.

3. Design Within Reach

If you’re in the market for high-end designer furniture, a visit to Design Within Reach’s website is a must.

With iconic pieces and styles in every type of furniture imaginable, Design Within Reach has beautiful items for every room in your home.

4. west elm

Furniture shopping online doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your favorite designer furniture. Plenty of designers have great websites where you can shop for your favorite pieces and styles from anywhere.

West Elm is one such designer. Browse their website to enjoy a massive selection of their world-renowned, classic pieces. Their website is also a great spot for finding sales and deals on their pieces that you wouldn’t find in a store.

5. fawn & forest

When you’re juggling kids and trying to redecorate your home, visiting a furniture store is likely the last thing you want to do. Hiring a sitter can be a hassle. But trying to bring along your little ones to a store packed full of things they’ll want to climb on can end in disaster.

Furniture shopping online is a simple alternative. You can browse a range of children’s furniture to find the perfect pieces for your little angels’ bedrooms and playrooms, right from the comfort of your home.

Fawn & Forest is a great spot to shop for all of your kids’ furniture needs. From cribs and bassinets to kid beds, they have everything your kids will need as they grow, all in cute, class styles and colors.

You won’t have to worry about anything too cutesy or themed here. Fawn & Forest offers only stylish pieces that will match your child’s room now and in the future.

6. Barn Light Electric Company

Furniture shopping online doesn’t have to end with buying sofas and desks. Complete your look with a stunning light fixture from Barn Light Electric Company.

Don’t let the name fool you though. Barn Light offers far more than just farmhouse chic pieces. They have a range of modern and minimalist pieces as well.

Barn Light also offers furniture like desks, beds, sofas, and more.

7. Thrive Furniture

If you’re looking for a great selection of modern furniture, Thrive Furniture is the place for you.

They offer mid-century modern pieces with a minimalist flair.

One of their most popular products is their sofas. They’re available in 20 fabrics and four kinds of leather. If you can’t find one that you love, they also offer custom design services to help you create the perfect piece for your space.

8. APT2B

Decorating an apartment or other small space can be a challenge, especially when furniture shopping online. Even with measurements, it can be tough to visualize whether a full-size sofa will fit in your living space, let alone fit through your front door.

APT2B is the solution. They offer a variety of furniture and decor designed to fit into tight spaces.

Their pieces come with a higher price tag than some online furniture stores, but they always have a big selection of outlet items for a sale price.

9. hayneedle

If you aren’t sure what type of furniture you’re searching for, its time to visit Hayneedle. With over 1 million items, there’s something for every space and style.

Narrow your search field by choosing the room you’re decorating, the styles you prefer, or the item you want. They also have plenty of decor items, pet supplies, and more.

10. Urban Outfitters

If you know anything about Urban Outfitters, you might be surprised to see it on this list. But believe it or not, this hip clothing store also has a line their own line of furniture.

Like their clothing, the furniture line features plenty of modern, trendy pieces. But you might be surprised to find plenty of classic items as well, like leather sofas, minimalist headboards, and simple chairs.

Furniture Shopping Online Made Easy

Shopping for furniture online is a great way to find the perfect pieces for every room in your home. You can shop endless amounts of styles, colors, patterns, and more, making it easy to find items for any space.

But with so many websites offering furniture, narrowing your search can seem overwhelming. Use this guide to narrow your search and find high-quality pieces for any budget.

Furniture is far from the only thing you should be shopping for online. If you want to score a great deal on clothing, check out this article to learn about why you should shop online for your next outfit.


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The Benefits of Using Portable Solar Panels

February 27, 2018 - By 
portable solar panels

When you flip the light switch in your home, are you wondering what’s powering the light?

Most electric utilities today are powered by natural gas. However, alternative energy sources like solar are gaining momentum. For off-grid applications in particular, portable solar panels are becoming very popular.

Why Makes Solar Power a Good Option?

Unlike other sources of power, solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source.

The fossil fuels powering our cars and homes produce certain emissions when they burn. They also require significant time and labor to locate, drill for, refine, and transport the resulting fuel. It’s a dirty, dangerous job.

In addition, oil and natural gas, which are both fossil fuels, are considered non-renewable. This is because they can’t be reproduced within our lifetime.

For this reason, alternative energy sources are becoming more popular. In particular, renewable sources that can be harvested without limit are gaining traction. Solar power is one of these energy sources. As long as the sun is shining, we have the ability to harvest its energy.

Solar Panels Powering Homes

Many people who want to lower their energy bills while being kind to the environment are investing in solar panels. These panels can be mounted on a building’s rooftop to harvest solar power.

These home solar panels do have limitations, however. If a home’s roof is blocked by other houses, hills, or anything else, it can prevent the panels from receiving sunlight.

Even if there’s nothing blocking the home’s exposure now, new buildings may pop up later on. This could impact the efficiency of your panels.

For these reasons, portable solar panels are often a better choice.

The Rise of Portable Solar Panels

As solar technology becomes more mainstream, portable solar panels are gaining popularity.

Already, consumers have been able to purchase solar power chargers for electronic devices. Rather than plug your mobile phone into an outlet or computer, you can use a power bank charged by portable solar panels.

These power banks are easy to transport and can be charged by placing in direct sunlight. As long as you charge it ahead of a trip, you won’t have to worry about finding an available outlet.

Portable solar panels are increasingly being used for larger jobs, too. Golf carts around the country have already been outfitted with solar panels. Now they can scoot around golf courses, country clubs, and university campuses without needing to refuel with gas.

Choosing the Right Solar Panel

Because solar panels have so many uses, it’s important to consider these functions when choosing solar panels.

Think about what devices you’ll need solar power to charge. Do you know the exact voltage you’ll need? This is an important detail to be aware of. You should also think about where you’ll be using the panels and what other functions you need.

Solar blankets, for example, can also cover your windshield to act as a shade, preventing your car from getting too hot in the sun.

You also want to make sure you’re getting a good value. While new technology can be expensive, look for brands and products that offer what you need for a fair price.

You might be wondering, “Is the Adventure Kings Portable Solar panel range the BEST VALUE panels on the market?” That’s up to you to decide, but it does provide a wide range of benefits without adding on unnecessary costs.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to renewable energy, portable solar panels are on the rise, and for good reason. To learn more about this technology before you make the switch, be sure to check out some of our resources. Happy researching!


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9 Reasons Why You Need an Air Purifier

February 14, 2018 - By 
air purifier

Increased levels of hazardous air pollutants is causing a number of health problems for people across the United States. Using an air purifier in your home is a great way to keep your family safe from pollution.

These nifty devices keep the air fresh, even if you live in the middle of a large city. They’re great for people with breathing conditions like asthma, but they can benefit you whether you’re completely healthy or not.

Here are 9 reasons why using an air purifier is a great idea.

1. Protect Your Family

Air pollution can trigger existing and produce new cases of asthma. It can also lead to several other lung conditions, some of which are very serious.

Children are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution than adults. That’s why an air purifier needs to be a vital part of your daily living arrangements.

Air quality has a drastic effect on people’s health. You need to know that your family isn’t breathing in pollutants every day.

2. Secondhand Smoke

Inhaling secondhand smoke increases cancer risk in non-smokers.

If someone in your household smokes, an air purifier will help to clear the air when they’re having a cigarette. It actively removes the toxins from the air and prevents chemicals from the smoke lingering in your home. These often cling to soft fittings and furniture like sofas and carpets, and it’s very hard to get rid of the smell once it has settled in.

A purifier tackles the chemicals before they settle, so it reduces the smell of stale tobacco.

3. Protect Your Home from Mold Growth

An air purifier will help to prevent mold, and keep mold growth under control.

Mold is a type of fungus which can cause a range of illnesses. These can affect the lungs, provoke allergies and cause other symptoms including tiredness, dizziness and headaches.

Purifiers remove moisture from the air and trap mold spores in their filters. This prevents the spread of mold within your home.

4. You Live Near a Road

Traffic is probably the biggest polluter around today, besides heavy industry.

Not many of us live near large factories, but if you do, that’s just doubling the importance that you go out and buy a purifier right away.

You may not realize it, but your home isn’t safe from the pollutants just because you’ve got all the windows closed.

Long-term exposure to these chemicals can cause symptoms such as nausea and dizziness. Especially among people with a condition called ‘Multiple Chemical Sensitivity’ (MCS).

A purifier will reduce the risk that exposure to the traffic fumes will have a major impact on your health. You can also learn how to monitor fumes to keep exposure to a minimum.

5. They’re Affordable, So Why Not?

Many people put off buying an air purifier because they think it’ll be really expensive.

They tend to make a comparison in their heads with how much their AC unit cost them. If you don’t know much about purifiers, this seems like a reasonable comparison.

However, you don’t need to spend an awful lot of cash for the benefit of fresh air. You can scoop them up for less than a hundred dollars. In any case, we think it’s worth the investment due to the health benefits it provides.

Check out this guide with some of the top air purifiers under 100 dollars in price. Absolute bargains!

6. Dealing With Allergies

Air purifiers help to deal with allergies by removing dust mites and other allergens from your home. Mold is one allergen that we’ve already mentioned.

However, if you have pets, you’ll almost certainly have pet dander in your home too. This is tiny particles of skin and hair that they have shed. It can trigger allergies. A purifier will help to remove pet dander from the air too.

During summer, it’ll help to clear up any pollen which has entered your household. You can help to keep this to a minimum by brushing off any clothing which you’ve worn outside during pollen season.

7. Removing Bad Odors

Bad smells lingering in the hall? Set your air freshener up to help out. It’ll remove the particles causing the smell, trapping them all in its filter.

If you live in an apartment block, this can also help to remove the smells that naturally move through the building. Perhaps you’re not a fan of your neighbor’s greasy cooking, for example.

The purifier will trap the particles causing the smell, making it more bearable inside your apartment.

8. Household Dust

It won’t eliminate dust entirely, but a good air purifier will help to keep dust around the house under control. It’ll suck dust into its filter alongside all the nasty chemicals it’s keeping you safe from.

No one wants to spend their time dusting the home, and this device will ensure you need to do the bare minimum only.

9. Eradicating Germs

Are there any nasty bugs lurking in the air? You would never know if there were, but you can protect against this invisible threat with a purifier.

Just like with mold spores, the purifier will suck all those germs and bacteria up. When you change the filter, you’re eradicating them from your home.

You will benefit from this when moving into a new home too – you don’t have a clue about the living standards of the previous owner.

If they were dirty people, bacteria will have thrived there. Eliminate them so you can continue to live a healthy life.

Cleaner Living With an Air Purifier

We’ve covered all the main reasons why you should choose to use an air purifier to make life healthier for you and your family.

We hope this guide has helped you understand why it’s important.

If you want to read more about other uses for purifiers, try these articles.


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Guide: How the Best Solar Panels Can Save You

February 13, 2018 - By 
best solar panels

The solar energy industry is experiencing massive growth as the need for renewable energy sources become increasingly important. In the last year alone, solar power generation increased almost 30% with 1 million US homes using solar panels.

With many investment opportunities, it can be hard to tell if it will actually save you money in the long run. Will it be worth the initial investment? With the best solar panels, you can be sure that you will be saving both money and energy.

Keep reading to learn just how solar energy can benefit you.

Energy Savings

One of the main draws of solar panels for homes is that they will help you save on the amount of energy you’re using.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electricity and energy generation along with greenhouse gas emissions are among the leading causes of climate change. The United States is second in the world for carbon dioxide emissions. And, on top of that, the average home produces 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide gas annually.

Solar panels can significantly reduce your home’s energy usage as well as reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you produce. While it does depend on where you live and the amount of sun your home is exposed to, the average solar panel system saves 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25 year period.

Save the Environment

We already mentioned that solar power can reduce your energy usage, which will reduce your carbon footprint.

Solar energy is also a way to go green by using a sustainable, renewable resource. Coal, oil, and gas are finite resources that will run out once we use them all up. Solar, on the other hand, can be used indefinitely. The sun will always keep shining on the world (well, except during eclipses).

The best solar panels can help the environment in other ways as well. Burning fossils fuels like coal and natural gas produce harmful greenhouse gasses. But, as we mentioned earlier, the amount of greenhouse gasses produced via solar energy is significantly less. In fact, it’s around 300% less.

Compared to other types of energy generation, like the burning of fossil fuels, solar power uses around 86% less water and 80% less land. Solar power also leads to over 95% less toxicity, acid rain, and harmful algal blooms, all of which have a negative impact on the environment.

Save Money

Besides all of the great benefits to the environment and to energy savings, the biggest benefit of solar energy is the financial savings.

Saving on Energy Costs

Perhaps the most obvious area of savings is with your energy costs. We already mentioned that solar panels can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of power you’re using to produce electricity.

With traditional energy production, the average American uses almost 11,000 kilowatts of energy per year. This translates to around 111 dollars per month of energy costs.

With the best solar panels, you could cut your energy bills in half. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year. And when you think about it in the long term, you could be saving thousands of dollars.

Using finite resources for energy, like fossil fuels, can also result in high energy costs. The market for fossil fuels can often have extremely high prices, depending on trade, taxes, and the fact that these are finite resources.

Using a renewable, sustainable resource like solar energy will allow you to avoid the often high prices of finite energy resources.

Incentives

Besides the direct energy costs you’ll be saving on, there are also numerous government incentives for solar energy systems. While the installation and maintenance of solar power systems can be quite an initial investment, government incentives allow you to save thousands of dollars on these costs.

There are also federal and state-specific Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) that allow you to earn money off of your solar power system. SERCs can be worth hundreds of dollars. They will allow you to both save and earn money on your initial investment.

Performance-based incentives (PBIs) vary state to state. These incentives will actually pay you money based on how much solar energy you produce with your solar panel system.

Tax credits also vary from state to state. Tax credits on solar power systems will allow you to deduct a certain portion of the overall cost of your solar system’s installation.

There are also some rebates that you can get from either the utility company, the state you live in, or other organizations. These rebates can reduce the cost of your solar panel system, which will save you money in the long run. Be sure to do your research on these rebates, as they are sometimes only available for a limited amount of time.

Increase Home Value

Lower energy costs and the initial investment into solar power will add significant value to your home.

Research shows that solar power systems can increase your home’s value by 4%, which can amount to thousands of dollars. So not only will you save and earn money from a solar power system while living in your home, but you’ll also be able to make a potential profit if you ever sell your home.

The Best Solar Panels Can Help The World and Your Wallet

Going green is a hot topic in the modern era, and for good reason. NASA estimates that the world’s temperature could increase another 10 degrees over the next 100 years unless we take drastic action.

Solar energy is one step many of us can take to help reduce carbon emissions and energy usage. Solar power can save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the best solar panels can help save, and even earn, some money in the long run.

If you’re interested in other types of life-changing technology and tech news, check out our other articles about technology on our blog.


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How Can a Ceiling Fan Save You Money?

February 12, 2018 - By 

A Ceiling fan is a great way to keep your home cool in the summer months. They also save a lot more money than air conditioning units.

Standard HVAC units cost around 36 cents per hour to run compared to only 4 cents per hour for fans.

If you run them together, the Department of Energy says that consumers can raise their thermostats by 4 degrees and still stay comfortable. That’s a big difference!

This article will show how a fan can be used to save money all year long.

How Your Ceiling Fan Work

Fans don’t work in the same way that air conditioning units do. Air conditioners blow cool air through a room or home and change the temperature of a room.

Fans move air around a room to create a wind-chill factor.

This is why fans should be turned off when a room is not in use. Fans cool people, not rooms.

The size and angles of the fan blades play an important role in efficiency. Another consideration is the application of the fan or where it will be used.

For example, if a fan is to be used in an office environment where there will be a lot of papers blown about, it’s best to have a fan with a larger diameter that can blow more air at a lower speed.

Fan blade angles need to be more than 12 degrees to be somewhat effective. Anything less than 12 degrees and the fan blades are virtually flat and will not move air around a room.

That can help homeowners remain comfortable in a room while listening to their favorite music.

Save Money in the Winter

Most people think a ceiling fan should work only in the summer. They can be utilized to help save money during the winter months, too.

In the same say that the fan blades push air around a room during the summer, if the fan is used to push warm air down when the heat is on.

When a fan is gently rotating clockwise, it pulls cool air up from the bottom part of the room and pushes warm air downward to keep a room warm.

This simple switch can save up to 10% to heat a home or apartment.

Maintained Fans Save Money

A well-maintained fan will also help save money. Cleaning fan blades regularly, check the screws and bolts to ensure safety, and checking the weight of the fan blades for wobbles all go a long way to keeping your fan functioning properly.

Visit https://ceilingfanshq.com/harbor-breeze-ceiling-fan-parts/ for a complete guide to common fan issues and how to fix them.

Yes, There’s an App for That

There is an app for everything. Even a ceiling fan.

Companies like Harbor Breeze and Hunter produce fans that can be controlled by Bluetooth and smart home kits. There are kits available for not-so-smart fans, which makes this technology available for almost any fan.

The great thing about this technology is that if a fan was accidentally left on, it can be turned off from virtually anywhere.

Check out our website to see the best tech around to link your fan to your connected home.


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Top 10 Reasons to Go Tiny

February 11, 2018 - By 
top 10 reasons to go tiny

Even though the average American home is now 1,000 square feet larger than homes in 1973 were, there’s a new movement that’s making waves.

The tiny house movement has prompted people from all walks of lives to give up living in over 2,500 square feet so they can live in a space that’s often under 250 square feet.

While moving into such small quarters might have people scratching their heads in confusion, there are actually plenty of reasons to make the switch. Here are the top 10 reasons to go tiny.

1. You’ll Save Money

The average home costs much less than the average house. That’s because it requires far fewer materials to build.

Even if you hire an engineer to design and build your home, you’ll still end up saving money. If you don’t want to hire anyone, you can actually find free tiny house plans online. These will run you anywhere from $20-$50,000.

The average home costs around $107-$125 per square foot with an average size of 2,400 square feet. A regular home usually requires you to take out a mortgage but a tiny home can be yours without needing a loan.

Even if you do need to take out a loan, it’s far easier when there’s less money involved.

2. You Can Take It With You

In most cases, when you build your own home, where you built it is where it will always stay. You’re invested in both the land and the home itself.

That type of permanence is no longer as attractive as it may have been in the 1950s. Back then, having one job was completely normal. We’re now a much more mobile society.

One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that if you need to move, you can take your home.Which means if you got a new job or just hate your neighbors, you’re not stuck.

You may need to look for a new plot of land, but you’ll never have to find the perfect home again. Best of all, communities like the tiny house community North Carolina are starting to spring up.

3. Your Tiny Place Can be For Anything

One of my favorite top 10 reasons to go tiny is that these little homes are so versatile. It can be your primary home, but it doesn’t have to be.

It can also be the perfect space for you to use when visitors come. You can also use it as a home office. It’s perfect because you’ll be able to remove yourself from the usual distractions that working from home often have.

Another great reason to go tiny is when a family member comes back to the roost. This way, you’ll both have your space, but you’ll also enjoy the ability to live close to one another.

4. They Are 100% Eco-Friendly

Imagine owning a home that is 100% eco-friendly yet complete with modern conveniences. That’s why eco-friendliness is one of the top 10 reasons to go tiny.

You can actually set up your home to be completely off the grid. There are solar and wind sources that you can use for power. You can install a rainwater catch, add in a filtration system, and install a compost toilet.

These additions would make your home functional anywhere while limiting your environmental impact. Even better, it’s possible to re-purpose pretty much everything that goes in your home.

The materials used to build your home can all be made from recycled materials.

5. There’s Less Clutter

There’s no space for clutter in a tiny home. Clutter causes frustration, overwhelm, and even anxiety and depression. One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is to increase your levels of happiness while decreasing your stress levels.

Less clutter makes it easier to make smarter, healthier decisions. You won’t find yourself becoming emotionally attached to items. You also might find you start to cherish the items you do own and use.

6. It’s Easier to Decorate

One of the most fun things to do with a new home is to decorate it. One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that it’s so easy to decorate your tiny home.

You’ll save a ton of money on decoration costs because of the size alone. Which means, even if you get bored easily and keep deciding to redecorate, you’ll still save a ton of money.

7. Less Time Spent Cleaning

Small homes are also easier to clean. You’ll spend only a fraction of the time trying to clear out dust and dirt from your tiny home.

You’ll also find that with less space, there are fewer opportunities to cause a mess in the first place.

8. No Debt

The average American has over $15,000 of credit card debt. To many, owning a home now seems like an impossible dream.

However, if you invest in a tiny home, you actually have the opportunity to get out of debt and become a homeowner. It’s really a win-win situation because the costs are so much lower than owning a traditional home.

9. You’ll Lower Your Energy Bills

Unless you’re Amish, most of us enjoy living with the benefits of electricity. However, one of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that you have options when it comes to choosing which energy source to use to power your home.

The energy needs of a tiny home are much lower than those of a more traditional home. Your smaller appliances will work more efficiently.

You’ll also find it easier and far less expensive to heat and cool your space because it’s so much smaller. You can choose to use a solar source or hook up to a power line.

10. Top 10 Reasons to Go Tiny Ends By Enjoying a Simpler Life

Life can get complicated extremely quickly. There are a lot more options now than there were in the past.

In some ways, having more choices is extremely beneficial. Other times, it just makes decision-making more difficult and stressful.

Having a tiny home means you are forced to choose what really matters to you in life. You can’t just keep everything. Your options are much smaller and simpler.

Be in Charge of Your Life

Learning isn’t something that stops when school ends. It’s a lifelong process.

We love helping people learn how to make the most out of life. Keep coming back to our blog to learn how to make life better and easier for yourself.


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10 Smart Home Devices and Appliances That Will Change the Way You Live

January 23, 2018 - By 

The Internet of Things (IoT) has made huge strides over the past few years, interconnecting almost everything you can imagine. The result is a stunning array of smart home devices that allow you to automate and control almost every inch of your living space.

We now live in a world where your appliances can go out to the internet for information, communicate directly with you, and respond to your voice commands.

Whether you want to start small with something like voice-controlled lightbulbs or go for full-house automation, the key lies in choosing the right smart home devices and appliances. Here are ten of our favorites.

1. Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera

Perhaps one of the most valuable things you can do with smart home devices is to increase security. Installing 12-volt LED lighting and a WiFi camera system can help deter criminals and make your home feel safer.

The Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera is weatherproof and sends out 1080p video that you can watch using a mobile app or on a computer. You can also set it up to send you alerts when there’s sound or movement in a specific area.

2. Adobe Home Security Starter Kit

The Adobe Home Security Starter Kit is the perfect way for a beginner to upgrade home security without spending a fortune. It’s easy to install and doesn’t require an expensive ongoing monitoring service.

It covers all of the basics you’d look for in a home security system, and third-party integrations allow for major upgrades. This system pairs with many other smart devices like door locks, switches, lighting, and Nest home devices.

3. Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector

This intelligent home protection system gives verbal warnings and tells you exactly where the danger is detected. It sends notifications directly to your phone and allows you to turn it off remotely. Nest Protect integrates with all of the other Nest smart home devices, offering additional safety measures.

4. Eobee4 Thermostat

Save money and increase comfort by installing the Ecobee4 smart thermostat. It had built-in sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, proximity, and motion. This helps the device know whether you are home and change temperature settings accordingly.

This device is superior to its competitors partially due to the inclusion of a remote sensor that helps regulate temperatures throughout your home. The 4th generation of this device also has built-in Alexa voice capabilities. This means that it can do everything Alexa can do, including controlling other devices, playing music, and providing weather updates.

5. Philips Hue Lightbulbs

Adding Philips Hue WiFi lightbulbs to your home allows you to control not only the light from room to room but also the color scheme. This personal wireless lighting system lets you easily create an ambiance to fit every occasion.

Turn lights on and off remotely to make it look like you’re home when you’re not. Set them to wake you up to a gentle sunrise every morning or create a virtual thunderstorm indoors.

6. June Intelligent Oven

Feel like a whiz in the kitchen with the June Intelligent Oven. This countertop oven uses WiFi and has a built-in camera. What makes it really awesome, though, it the artificial intelligence (AI) that seems to know how to cook everything with almost no input from you.

Simply put your food in the oven and tell it how you’d like it cooked. Once the oven confirms that it’s understood you correctly, all you need to do is sit back and wait. It sounds too good to be true, but this oven actually creates excellent results when cooking an array of dishes like meat, vegetables, fish, and even waffles.

7. iRobot Roomba 690

We all have better things to do than spend hours cleaning our homes each day. The iRobot Roomba 690 zooms around your home picking up dirt and debris from the floor. This model features a navigation camera and it links to a smartphone app so it can deliver detailed cleaning reports.

8. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 2

There are few things more frustrating than realizing you’ve left your sprinklers on during a rainstorm. The second generation Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller features both scheduled and weather-controlled watering settings.

You can use the system to manually begin and end watering in eight or 16 different zones, depending on the model you choose. It also integrates with many third-party smart home devices.

9. Robomow RS622

The Robomow automatic lawn mower offers the ultimate in homeowner convenience. The RS622 model is perfect for areas of up to 23,000 square feet. Simply program in the perimeter you want it to follow and let it go.

The dual blades spin at 4,000 RPM and mulch while they mow, eliminating the need for clean-up.

10. Amazon Echo

As you add more smart devices to your home, a quality controller will make your life much easier. Amazon’s Echo products, powered by Alexa, allow you to control almost all smart home devices with simple voice commands.

The Amazon Echo features a high-quality Bluetooth speaker while the newest edition, Amazon’s Echo Show, has a video touch screen. If you’re looking for simplicity, opt for the small and inexpensive Echo Dot.

Plan Ahead When Designing Your Smart Home

When designing a smart home, it’s important to choose quality appliances and plan ahead to ensure everything you purchase will work together. A high-end dealer, like Eurohome Canada, can help you choose the perfect devices for your needs. Find out more by taking a trip to the showroom for a hands-on experience.

Security Precautions When Using These Smart Home Devices

Since many of the devices in your home will be connected to the internet, it’s important to take basic security precautions. Make sure to keep up with software updates to help ensure your devices are able to protect themselves from potential hacking attacks. For your protection, also make sure to change the default password that comes with security systems and other devices.

Once you start experiencing the power and convenience of a smart home, you’ll be hooked. Stay on top of the latest innovations and digital trends with the Gadgets and Gizmos blog on Pligg.com.


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Kitchen Trend: The Latest Design Fads

January 22, 2018 - By 

It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

That doesn’t mean though, that it should get left behind in the design stakes. At the same time remember that a kitchen remodel is a big investment – make sure you get something that you’ll love for years to come.

There are great kitchen trends out there to suit every taste and budget and we’re here to help you choose the best kitchen trend for your home.

We’ve broken them down into key components – countertops, cabinets, gadgets, and flooring.

Here’s our guide to what’s hot for 2018.

Countertops

There are so many considerations when it comes to countertops – durability, finish, maintenance but above all – style.

There was a time when flecked granite countertops ruled – not anymore. However, before you go for mirror-finish hot pink, try to visualize your kitchen 5 or 10 years down the line…

Quartz

Last year’s NKBA survey showed that quartz is continuing its upward trend, whereas granite is well and truly in second place, and falling fast.

Quartz countertops can be made from slabs of quarried stone, but the latest kitchen trend is for counters made from a ground down mixture of quartz and resin.

The result? A near-indestructible material that can be tinted to create an array of color choices. This year’s key kitchen trend is for dark countertops, which can be offset against lighter cabinetry to really pop.

Reclaimed Wood

Keeping up with the eco-friendly movement, reclaimed wood is not just good for the environment, it’s got some serious design credentials. With it’s worn character, markings and unique nature they scream individuality.

No two are the same, and if you know the backstory, it can make a great conversation piece. For a major statement, check out ‘live edge’ pieces that retain the natural edge, and sometimes bark, of the tree.

Marble

A timeless classic, white Calcutta marble is a key 2018 kitchen trend. As it is quite porous, think twice about using it throughout, as it can be unforgiving on spills.

Great for a statement piece like an island, nothing will add sophistication and class to your kitchen like a well-chosen piece of marble.

Cabinets

For a while now, transitional kitchens – combining elements of both traditional and contemporary styles – have dominated the market.

This shows no signs of abating, so don’t hold your breath for country style kitchens to make a comeback.

It’s All About Color

Classic door styling painted in contemporary colors – particularly whites and grays – will continue to be a key kitchen trend.

Deep blues and greens are also on point, and tone well with deep wood tones. Bold hues such as emerald green and plum are striking and sophisticated.

Either as cabinet or accent colors, they add depth to the room, although use them sparingly, as too much could easily darken it.

This follows another trend for this year – mixing and matching and two-tone. Don’t be afraid to suggest a combination to your kitchen designer, maybe varying upper and lower cabinets, or having an accent island.

High or Low?

The trend for minimal high-level kitchen cabinetry shows no sign of slowing in 2018. Think open shelving and artistically arranged plates and glasses on display for the loft look.

To achieve a high-end finish, without the eye-watering price tag, check out the range at RTA Depot.

Flooring

Our love affair with hardwood flooring seems set to continue for the considerable future. However, if you want to combine the look of hardwood, with the user-friendliness of tile, there are some great options – and they’re on point this year.

They come in a huge range of styles and can be a more affordable and durable option.

If you’ve got your heart set on wood, engineered wood flooring is the way to go. It gives you natural wood on top, but just a thin layer that is laid on top of a high-density composite wood base.

This means it’s strong and durable, up to the rigors of kitchen traffic, but retains the stylish look of hardwood.

Gadgets

Still think a timer on the coffee maker is pretty high tech? Here are the latest kitchen trends in gadgets.

Where’s the Refrigerator?

Side by side refrigerator? Practical it may be but the trend continues to be for concealing your fridge rather than showing it off.

Think built-ins – under counter, drawers, and uprights. Wherever you conceal them, conceal them you must.

Microwave in a What??

Oh yeah, microwaves don’t have hinged doors anymore and are certainly not freestanding.

Microwave in a drawer might sound an improbable concept, but it’s the latest in kitchen tech and it’s here to stay. Hidden from sight, it helps to retain the sharp, clean lines contemporary kitchens thrive on.

Smart is Coming

With a myriad of different gadgets now available, from auto-sensors for taps to smartphone-controlled lighting systems, if you’re wanting to keep up, smart technology has invaded the kitchen.

Don’t forget to check out smart refrigerators as well. Models are now available that will monitor your groceries, prepare hot water on demand or by timer and alert your smartphone when doors are left open.

While some of this may be securely filed under fad, don’t be surprised to see this becoming a more common kitchen trend in the future.

The Verdict – The Key Kitchen Trend for 2018

It’s clear to see, this is going to be a year to try something bold.

Whether it’s a reclaimed wood countertop, a marble slab, a bold cabinet color or something smart, the farmhouse kitchen has been left in the dust – contemporary styling is in.

Whatever direction you choose to take your kitchen remodel, seriously think about wiring up now for smart innovations in the future.

A kitchen remodel can certainly add value to your home – just check out our blog here for the reasons why. If you’re thinking of selling though, make sure that you remodel to sell, not just to suit your personal tastes.

At Pligg, we’ve got tons of online resources to help you maximise the value of your home and the enjoyment you get from it.

Check out our home improvement blog for more creative ideas.


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15 Rustic Kitchen Decor Ideas

January 20, 2018 - By 

There’s no denying it, upgraded and renovated kitchens can net about a 70% return when you decide to sell your house.

In a world of extreme modernism and minimalism, more people are turning to cozy, rustic elements for a feeling of comfort.

Ready to add some rustic charm to your kitchen this year? Unsure where to start? Read below for 15 decor ideas to achieve the perfect rustic kitchen!

1. Salvaged Material

One easy tip when looking for rustic elements to add to your kitchen is salvaged items or materials. Salvaged pieces create the perception that an item has been there for a long time and aged.

This will make your kitchen feel cozy and “lived in.”

Look for either large pieces like a kitchen island or focus on small accents and decor. Either way, choosing salvaged pieces will help your rustic kitchen become a cohesive design.

2. Wood Plank Floors

Wood planks can be a good foundation for any rustic kitchen look. They provide a solid, simple appearance and can warm up a space compared to tile or linoleum.

Wood floors provide a neutral base for your other pieces to stand out against. Consider using a home improvement app when beginning your work. These can help you plan each step of the process and keep track of all needed supplies.

3. Paneled Walls

If you are really interested in the rustic feel, why stop with wood planks just on the floor? Consider adding them to the walls for a modern rustic feel.

Placing wooden planks on the wall will provide warmth and texture. Consider covering one or two walls with wood while leaving the other walls white. This will give you the rustic feel, but also keep the vibe crisp and clean.

4. Fireplace

Adding a rustic styled fireplace can change the entire room. Create one using rock or stone to bring in earthy and rustic elements.

Be sure to add a thick mantle to have plenty of room to display your family photos and trinkets.

By adding a fireplace, you will have an amazing focal point for your kitchen. As an added bonus, you will also have a warm place to curl up and read a book on winter nights.

5. Antique Signs

Shopping your local flea markets or antique stores for vintage signs can be a unique way to create a rustic kitchen. Antique signs can add a vintage farmhouse feel to even the most modern kitchens.

Look for ones that have kitchen related themes. For example, signs that say “market” or “eggs for sale” would be excellent options.

6. Window Treatments

When renovating your kitchen, window treatments are a must.

If you struggle with hanging curtains, consider getting some help. For example, Amerishades will discuss options with you, measure, and install whatever treatments you decide upon!

Beyond choosing curtains, you can also use reclaimed wood to lie the window sill. If you are handy, consider creating a custom wood piece for a window valance.

7. Ceiling Treatments

If you want to feel one with nature’s rustic side, bringing in wood ceiling elements is a winning option, especially if you want to leave your walls white.

Wooden beams provide large focal points that can create rustic barn vibes. If the cost of wooden beams scares you, there are faux options in numerous colors and finishes. This means you can find the perfect style for you.

8. Exposed Shelving

This rustic element provides function while helping to create a vibe for the kitchen. Choose a darker wood if you have white walls for awesome contrast.

Use these shelves to display all your dishware or collection of spices. While you may think exposed or open shelving means you will constantly be cleaning and organizing, think again.

A mismatch of plates and dishes will just further add to the rustic feeling of the shelves and kitchen as a whole.

9. Wood Covered Kitchen Hood

Nowadays, most kitchen range hoods are stainless steel. But to create a unique look, think about using reclaimed barn wood to cover a basic venting system.

This method will hide the standard stainless steel hood and keep your kitchen from looking too modern.

10. Vintage Sink

Think about adding a vintage sink to your kitchen for a true farmhouse feeling. These time-weathered pieces will create a conversation piece that will last for years to come.

11. Faux Animal Hides

Bringing in faux animal hides is a great way to add accents to your rustic kitchen that will contribute the perfect feel. Focus on things like zebra or cow prints.

Bring these hides in for rugs or throws on accent chairs.

12. Woven Baskets

Kitchens always need storage. By utilizing woven baskets you will add more of a rustic feel to your kitchen while keeping your items hidden and organized.

Keep pantry goods organized with multiple baskets or even keep silverware stored in one to bring out for big dinner parties.

13. Chunky Furniture and Decor Items

When people think rustic, they usually think of heavy, masculine styles. Small, dainty pieces may look out of place in a rustic looking kitchen.

Instead of sleek chairs, think about chunky stools made of wood. They will carry visual weight and be a piece that lasts over time.

14. Woven Textiles

Rustic often is synonymous with handmade or handcrafted. Bringing in more soft elements like blankets is a great way to accent your kitchen.

Shop around for a woven throw for a cozy breakfast nook or a hand-braided rug to place in the middle of your kitchen for some color pops.

You might even be able to find handcrafted curtains to use in your kitchen.

15. Non-Shiny Metal

To achieve a rustic kitchen design, avoid shiny metals. Rusted or matte looking metals are more in line with nature inspiration.

A few ideas include tin lampshades or metal cabinet hardware.

Get Started with Your Rustic Kitchen Makeover

No matter your budget, there are many options for you to bring rustic elements into your kitchen.

Whether you want to cover your walls in wood or shop around for the perfect vintage island, you will soon have the cozy kitchen of your dreams.

Now that you have a gameplan for your kitchen, are you eager to plan another home renovation? Check this list for some improvements that keep adding to the value of your home!


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8 Home Improvement Apps for iOS and Android

January 11, 2018 - By 

The DIY industry is booming as it barrels toward $14 billion a year. More and more people are becoming interested in saving money and empowered by fixing things at home. Along with television shows and YouTube tutorials, people are also getting help from home improvement apps for direction on their projects.

If you’re thinking about getting your hands dirty on a home renovation project, but don’t know where to begin, turn to your phone. With the variety of projects people could be working on at any given time, there are just as many answers offered by these home improvement apps.

Are you looking to get started on your next DIY project ASAP? Check out these 8 apps to make your project easier and more convenient than you could have imagined.

1. Houzz Interior Design Ideas

This free app for iPhones and Android phones is chock full of an endless array of tips for your next project. It can offer you ideas for both interior and exterior projects.

While you might know that you need to fix something, you might not know how you should expect the end result to look. Houzz’s app can give the examples you need.

There’s a scrapbook of user-generated photos that help show the number of options you could pursue as your next design solution.

If you can imagine it, someone has probably done it. Wondering if your dark cabinets will look good with your light colored tiles? Check out user uploaded examples to see if it works.

If you’re still looking for great interior design apps, check out this other list we’ve compiled.

2. ColorSmart

Another free app that’s available for both Androids and iPhones, Behr’s ColorSmart is meant to take away the pain of choosing colors.

With ColorSmart, you can take a photo of any color you like and upload it. After you pinpoint the right hue, the app will match it to Behr’s own palette. You’ll also get a few options for complementary colors.

This app helps you get the right color whether a wall is wet, dry, or 100 years old. There’s no more fear as you watch the paint dry that you’ll somehow end up with the wrong shade.

3. Home Depot/Lowe’s App

Running around a store trying to remember everything you need can be a frustrating experience. You could spend extra hours at the hardware store just trying to remember that one thing, only to end up leaving without it.

Home Depot’s app has voice recognition so you can add items to your list hands-free. You can also scan barcodes of items you need and it will add them to your list.

Take the option to pick up your prepaid load of items and save yourself some time on a busy shopping weekend.

Lowe’s app is pretty similar but includes a few extras. If you’re working to renovate something with foreign screws, it’s got a unit converter and a nut and bold finder. Tell it what you’re working on and you’ll get a list of just how much flooring, insulation, drywall, or paint you’ll need for the project.

4. I.D. Wood

If you’re a restoration person or love working in older interiors, you’re probably familiar with encountering wood you might not be able to identify. Whether it’s because of age, paint, or strange staining techniques, there could be some hurdles to restoring your next project.

For people who want to build replica antique furniture, this app could help you get the accuracy that you or your customers are looking for.

I.D. Wood offers hundreds of images to help identify wood. For just $4.99, it’s available on Android and iPhone. Five dollars is a small price to pay to save you from digging around a lumber yard for hours looking for a piece of Japanese hardwood they might not have.

5. iHandy Carpenter

While you shouldn’t necessarily rely on your phone to be 100% accurate in all levels of measuring, you can find a few good apps for approximation. If you like the convenience of leveling with your phone, try this app.

It’s got a complete set of tools that give you a better idea than an eyeball measurement. Once you get your vague idea, break out the ruler and projector for an exact measurement.

6. HomeAdvisor App

This is one of the best home improvement apps for getting help fast. If your next DIY project leaves you a little in over your head, you can get a directory of professionals to help you out.

You can start by snapping a photo of the project and upload everything to HomeAdvisor. Specialists can send you price quotes to let you know how much it’ll cost to fix.

All the specialists are subject to a review process, so there’s no need to worry about getting ripped off.

7. Insteon

If you like to control all of your HVAC and home security systems from one central location, this free app has what you need.

Depending on your system, you can even unlock doors for guests from anywhere on the planet. As your needs grow, so does the app’s capabilities. You can add individual outlets, sensors, and cameras as needed and then synchronize them with the app.

You can set schedules and monitor everything in your home with one simple tool.

8. Eden Garden

If you want to know the best way to plan out your garden, this is the app for you. Add an image of your yard and scale it. Then you can add plants one by one.

The app will take into account the time of year, temperature patterns, and blooming seasons. It will give you a bird’s eye view with each season to let you know how much success you can expect.

For garden designers who want to achieve a certain visual balance, this can help immensely.

So Many Home Improvement Apps To Choose From

This list just scratches the surface of the number of home improvement apps that are available for homeowners. DIY has never been easier. If you know what you want, there’s an app to help you get it.

If you’re ready to find some apps for your next DIY project, contact us for more tips today.


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How To Start A Cleaning Blog For Your Industrial Cleaning Company

January 11, 2018 - By 

These days, it’s more and more common to hear people say they are a blogger.

The digital boom has opened doors for writers to turn this hobby into a full-time business or extra source of income. But, blogging is effective for more than trendy niches like fashion or travel.

It is an essential tool for any business.

In fact, if you’re struggling to get new clients, a blog might be the perfect solution for your sales to increase.

The following is a closer look at the value a cleaning blog can bring to your business.

Why Have a Cleaning Blog?

Many – if not all – of your business operations are focused on one thing: an increase in revenue.

This can happen with a blog, although it is because of other benefits at play. A blog expands your audience, makes it easier for them to find you, and sets you apart as an expert in your industry.

Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.

Expand Your Reach

Without a blog, your industrial cleaning website is missing out on content opportunities.

You can only talk about your services and your team so much on landing pages. But, when you add a blog, you can continue the conversation with your audience.

This is your place to talk about the best cleaning products, cleaning maintenance tips, and much more.

Plus, all of this content translates well on social media.

Improve SEO Performance

The more you post new content, on your website as well as on social media, the better your SEO ranks will be.

There are more things that go into this – like keyword optimization, local targeting, and link building. But, these all go hand in hand with a successful blog!

When you write content with SEO in mind, you are doing more for your business than you might think.

The blog is a way for users to find you, get to know who you are, and build a stronger sense of brand recognition and loyalty.

Establish Authority

Speaking of brand recognition, don’t forget to use your blog as a way to share your knowledge.

This isn’t about revealing your best cleaning secrets. Instead, it’s about making an effort to share your expertise.

The more you share your opinion on industry behaviors and cleaning tips, the more people will see you know what you’re talking about. Over time, trusting your advice may become using your services.

Here’s how to make all of these goals happen by starting a cleaning blog.

1. Set Your Goals

You should now understand the overarching goals of a blog: reach, SEO rank, and authority.

The thing is, these don’t happen without a clear sense of what you want your blog to be.

Remember, your cleaning blog is an extension of your industrial cleaning business. It needs to be aligned with your brand’s values and voice. The messaging should be consistent in each post, too.

Not everyone understands this, and they just start posting new content for the sake of having content. Such a process may do more harm than good.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make sure your blog’s goals make sense with the rest of your business.

2. Research Your Audience

Whenever you’re thinking of goals and objectives, do so with your audience in mind.

For a cleaning blog, this goes a bit more in-depth than demographics and expendable income. You want to know what your audience is most interested in when it comes to industrial cleaning.

Are they looking for regular maintenance or more extensive solutions? Do they want to know how to do some cleaning themselves, or are they interested in how to hire an efficient service?

Ask yourself these questions to guide you as you add to your buyer persona.

This is something you should already have in place for your marketing campaigns. But, the persona also helps you understand who it is you’re talking to when you create a blog post.

3. Make a Schedule

Once you get a couple ideas for an article, you need to create a schedule.

You can choose to write a blog a few times a month, once a week, or even once every couple days! But, try to have them planned ahead of time.

For instance, the blog you write today should be in anticipation of posting it a week or a month from now. Similarly, the blog you post today should have already been ready to go well in advance.

Aside from timing, your schedule allows the content to flow together.

You can create a different theme or series for each month. Incorporate a mix of cleaning tips and product reviews – like Haaker Equipment Company has done.

Also, pay attention to the changing of the seasons and holiday times.

These can offer new ways to approach the writing process, which helps keep everything interesting.

4. Track and Edit

As much as you might think you’ve thought of some great cleaning blog topics, you won’t know until you check the feedback.

Tracking audience engagement is crucial whether you’ve just started a blog or if you’ve been managing it for years.

It’s your way of knowing how effective your strategies really are.

If you see a rising trend in click-through rates and the time users spend on a page, you’re doing something right. But, if these numbers are dropping or you’re losing traffic overall, it’s time to make some changes.

This doesn’t mean edit old blog posts. It means taking a closer look at your schedule and topic ideas to change things moving forward.

Changes are often simple edits.

The following are easy things you can do to see a substantial improvement in blog performance:

  • Use different keywords
  • Post less or more frequently
  • Add relevant photos and graphics to your blog

Keep in mind effective changes won’t happen overnight. It will take a few new posts for you to see a difference in the numbers.

If you still can’t get it right, you might need to hire a content team to help you out.

Create Your New Blog

Ready to put these steps to the test?

The very first thing you have to do is claim a new blog domain!

Click here to discover how to make this happen.


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7 Modern Home Improvements That Will Add Value to Your Home

December 28, 2017 - By 

A home is something people take personally because, well, it’s where they live.

Or it’s where they’ve lived.

Either way, your home’s value is tied to two things: the memories you’ll make there, and how good of a building it is, overall.

Whether you’re buying or selling, modern home improvements make your home is a better buy.

There are always improvements to be made on any building, exterior or interior. From a paint job to more advanced smart technology and home security, your options for increasing the sale value of your home are boundless.

So, with so many options available to you, where do you begin?

Join us, today, as we take a closer look at seven innovative opportunities for improving your home, and making it more valuable.

Seven Effective Modern Home Improvements

When it comes to improving your home, it’s the little things that count.

All the thoughtful little ways we improve a house so that living in it becomes easier, more attractive, and fun. These are the types of modern home improvements that can make or break a house’s resale value.

And, with smart technology, better design, and refined finishes, there’s never been a better time to sell your home.

So, with that in mind, let’s start with a classic.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Curb appeal is a fairly common term among house sellers.

It refers to the idea that your home’s sale value starts with how good it looks from a distance, or “on the curb”.

And those good looks start with your home’s paint job. If your walls have scuff marks or the standard wear and tear that comes with age, a high-quality paint job is an inexpensive way to bring them back to life.

Research matching color combinations for the outside walls, gutters, and awnings. Then, use neutral colors like off-white and soft grays to paint your rooms, making them look roomier.

With the right combination of colors, you can transform your entire home for a better sale.

Better Landscaping

Of course, the color of your house isn’t the only factor playing into its curb appeal.

There’s always the question of your lawn.

Hire a professional to trim back your trees and shrubs, prune back dead plants, and mow your lawn. If your grass is patchy or thin in specific areas, you can plant new grass as needed.

Finally, take a leaf blower to your driveway to get rid of grass trimmings.

The effect of professional landscaping will be a refreshed, neatened look that will add to your home’s marketability.

Update Your Window Fixtures

Like a pair of glasses that goes out of style, dated window fixtures can make your home look older than it actually is.

A good rule of thumb is, if you inherited your blinds, drapes or curtains from the owner before you, they could probably stand to be updated.

Look into quaint wooden blinds, plantation shutters, or high-end draperies to bring a touch of modernity and class to your home.

Kitchen And Bath

The two most important rooms in the sale of your home are the kitchen and bathroom.

These two rooms are where the buyer will carry out the most important parts of their day, aside from sleeping. Preparing their meals, and cleaning themselves.

They have to be spotless but, moreover, you should consider renovating these as well. You can start with something as simple as a new coat of paint, as with the outside of your home, and move on to islands and sink fixtures later on.

In your bathroom, look into new hardware and countertops. Wall mounts look better than overhead lamps, and low flow toilets continue to be very popular.

In the kitchen, new tile can add a needed flair, and stainless steel fixtures and appliances create a sleek look that’s hard to turn down.

And, as natural stone looks continue to be a hot seller in the housing market, it makes sense to research a reliable granite company to source your countertops from.

A Backup Power Generator

There are two simple facts when it comes to home electricity. Anywhere you live, there’s no guarantee against power outages. And nobody enjoys spending an evening in the dark.

A practical step you can take to make your home stand out is to invest in a backup power generator.

Maybe you’ve considered getting one for yourself but never committed to the price. This is understandable, but it’s an investment that will put a check in favor of your home when it comes time to sell.

And anything that holds a potential buyer’s attention for even a few minutes longer is worth the effort.

Make Your Basement Better

In real estate, more is almost always better.

Increasing the floor plan of your home is a great way to increase the value of the property as a whole. And one room that remains criminally underused in most homes is the basement.

If you have a basement room, invest money into remodeling it. If you can turn it into a viable bedroom, study or nook, that’s just more reason for somebody to want to live there. If the basement is big enough, you might even consider turning it into an additional apartment.

Smart Features

One of the most exciting developments in real estate and modern home improvements is smart technology.But, if you are going to buy into high tech, it has to be smart.

Audiovisual systems, for instance, lose value at an alarming rate because the technology evolves too quickly.

Certain smart devices, however, can have a positive impact on a home’s value. Nest thermostats link to smartphones and tablets for easy adjustment and can learn your preferences. Smart lighting, door locks, garage door openers and security systems, similarly, add a high degree of value to a home.

Sell More Effectively, With Modern Home Improvements

Making your home better can mean different things to different people.

Ultimately, the more you can do with what you have, the better chance you’ll have of selling your property.

Interested in learning more about modern living, home maintenance, and a range of other fascinating topics? Check out some of our other great articles, and learn how to get the best out of your daily life, today.


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6 Signs It’s Time For Driveway Resurfacing

December 22, 2017 - By 
driveway resurfacing

We know driveway resurfacing is not the most exciting household job you’ll ever pay for. And many people like to sort out individual problems at a time, as simple problems can be relatively cheap to fix – as low as $300.

When a driveway is reaching the end of its life, this strategy feels like whack-a-mole. You fix one problem and another pops up in its place.

At this point, driveway resurfacing makes financial and aesthetic sense. But at what point is your driveway due for a full overhaul? Here are the signs to look out for.

1. Water Pooling

If you see water pooling on your driveway, it may have drainage issues. This can happen if the driveway is uneven, as all the water is running to the lowest spot and staying there.

Over time, this will weaken your drive, but the effects won’t always be visible until it causes cracks and potholes. In the winter, if the water freezes, it will push these cracks apart further.

If you live in a rainy area, adding a drainage channel when having your driveway resurfaced can help to avoid this issue in the future.

If you do notice water pooling after a storm, you can help to minimise the damage to your driveway. Push the water out of cracks and dips with a brush or a mop.

2. Cracks

Cracks are often the first sign that a driveway resurfacing job might be necessary in the near future.

While they’re not going to damage your car right away, they don’t look great. And they’ll only get worse over time.

You can try to fill in or cover up cracks. But the more you do this, the more your driveway starts to look like patchwork.

You should also know that sometimes, fixing cracks only covers up the problem, and doesn’t actually fix an underlying issue. For example, if an asphalt drive has already been damaged all the way through, it may be that a pothole is inevitable, even if you fix the crack on top.

3. Potholes

A step beyond cracks, you get potholes. These are caused by cracks getting worse and worse over time, as well as the ground beneath the paving shifting.

Water (and other fluids) seeps into the cracks and weakens the ground underneath the paving. The ground is also compacted as you drive your car over it.

The paving or tarmac starts to break up and sink downwards, forming a pothole.

Large potholes can damage your car’s suspension, and increase the wear and tear on your tires.

You might decide to fill a small pothole in, but this will never totally fix the issue. You need to look into a full driveway resurfacing job to make sure the problem is tackled at its source.

4. Your Driveway Looks Rough and Weathered

Wind, rain, sunshine, and snow all wear down your driveway over time.

This is inevitable, but the good news is that it’s largely cosmetic. For example, you might notice colored slabs are losing their hue, or paving slabs have slight chips and cracks.

However, if a driveway has been in place for a very long time, the weathering can mean it’s less stable than it used to be too. A driveway will only last for a certain amount of time.

You should expect it to remain stable for around 20 years if it’s asphalt. Or 25 if it’s paved or concreted. You still need to remember your maintenance tasks to make it last this long though.

So if your current driveway has been in place for a long time, you’ll need driveway resurfacing after a while. It might be better to get it resurfaced right away.

If you’re unsure, you can always call up experts like Pavement Planet to get their opinion of whether resurfacing is needed or not.

5. Tire Marks

Particularly noticeable on gray concrete, black tire marks end up being very unattractive after a while. These tend to appear faster if you live in a hot state.

You can’t avoid this unless you decide to never drive on your driveway!

By the way – if you do have a concrete or asphalt driveway, do you remember to reseal it every few years? This process helps to stop it cracking so quickly, and from getting chipped off at the edges.

By protecting the material, you’re helping your driveway to last longer. If you don’t keep it protected, you’re pretty much asking for cracks – which will lead to more frequent driveway resurfacing jobs.

Save yourself money by adding a reminder to your calendar to get this done.

6. It’s Too Old – Driveway Resurfacing Time!

Everything reaches the end of its useful life at some point or another.

If it’s for cosmetic reasons, or you just want a change, a new driveway can really add to the appeal of your home.

Perhaps you’re selling up and want buyers to be attracted to the house. Or maybe you’re sick and tired of being outdone by the neighbors.

Eventually, your driveway will develop one or more of the problems listed above. Replacing it now and again can save your car’s suspension and keep your home looking great.

My Driveway Looks Great – Now What?

If you’ve now sorted out your old, worn driveway, and done away with the cracks – what’s next?

How about bringing an old garage up to date? Consider some of these cool automation devices for your garage door.

Or if you’ve put in a new driveway because you’re looking to sell your home, heed our 5 solutions for a fast sale. No potential buyer will be keen on moving into a new home and having to replace the driveway themselves right away.

Whatever your objective, we hope this guide has helped you identify common driveway problems. Browse our archive for more great advice.


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5 Interior Design Apps That Will Help You Remodel

December 19, 2017 - By 

Has it been too long since the last time you gave your home a little makeover?

Maybe you’re noticing that the dining room wallpaper is a little shabby. Perhaps that living room couch has seen better days.

Chances are, it’s been a while since you’ve updated your home. According to a survey, 47% of Americans haven’t revamped their home decor in over 5 years. Life gets in the way, and home maintenance often falls by the wayside.

It’s understandable. Doing a remodel or redecorating is a big task. Luckily, there are hundreds of apps that can help you with this undertaking.

Getting started on a home improvement project can be daunting. Check out these awesome interior design apps that will make the project so much easier.

1. Hutch

Know that your home needs a change, but you’re not sure where to start? Use the Hutch app to play around with different ideas.

Start by uploading a picture of a place in your home that needs redecorating. Within an hour of submitting your photo, Hutch will virtually erase all clutter from the room.

Then apply one of their “filters” like, “flea market finds” or “eclectic chic.” The filters are basically the names of whatever style you’d like the room to have. The filter will superimpose potential room designs onto your photo.

Everything in the space are items you can buy. The app itself is free, so there’s no harm in trying it. You can buy as many or as few of the furniture and decor as you want.

If you don’t want to use one of their filters, you can try out a totally new look on your own. You can use photos of furniture and decor from their vendor’s list. Mix and match items until you get the look you want.

From there, you can buy all the pieces you’ve found. You can also hold on to the picture for inspiration. Take it with you next time you go home goods shopping.

One downside to the app is you can only use their features on living rooms and bedrooms.

2. Color Capture

Color Capture by Benjamin Moore is like the Shazam of color.

Do you love a color used in a random piece of street art? Is there a particular shade of green you saw on your camping trip? Take a picture of it using the app and it will help you match the exact shade with one of their paints.

The app lets you save your favorite color inspiration pictures. You can also browse through the Benjamin Moore paint collection. Once you know what you want to buy, the app can direct you to the nearest store location.

There are other interior design apps that are similar to color capture. Sherwin William’s has one called Color Snap and Behr’s is Color Smart.

Using any one of these apps will ensure that you get the perfect color for every room during a remodel.

3. Modsy

For some, interior design is an exciting fresh start. For others, designing might not be their strong suit. What are those people to do if they can’t afford to hire a professional designer?

Luckily, Modsy is a relatively affordable way to get the help of pro.

The service costs $69 per room. Start by taking eight pictures from different angles of the space you want decorated. Then you’ll take a quiz to figure out your desired style.

Finally, you’ll let Modsy know what your approximate budget is. Then from there, they’ll get to work!

Modsy will send you back a personalized, 3-D rendering of how you should decorate. From there, you can buy what you want from the rendering straight from the app.

Still not feeling so confident and need a little more help? For $199 you can speak virtually with a designer and ask them all your questions.

4. BrightNest

Maybe you love a good home design project but you’re just not so good at staying on task. There’s an app for that!

Everyone loves looking on Pinterest and finding a cool home project. But, often we never end up getting around to it.

With BrightNest, you can browse through their app and find design and maintenance projects. When you see one you like you can save it and schedule a time to try it.

They’ll send you a reminder when it’s time to get started. There are also hundreds of articles to check out for home design and DIY inspiration.

5. PRO Landscape Home

You’ve put a lot of time into the interior, but what about the exterior? Make your backyard like another functional entertaining and relaxing space.

The Pro Landscape Home app is similar to other interior design apps. Take a picture of your backyard and upload it on to the app. Then start designing your outdoor sanctuary!

With this app, you can see how different landscaping options would look in your yard. Add grass, mulch, and fountains. There are thousands of photos of shrubs, trees, and backyard accessories to choose from.

Play around and see which area would best accommodate a fire pit and patio set. When you’re done, you’ll know exactly where your BillyOh garden furniture should go.

Are you also a gardener? PRO Landscape can help plan and map it out.

Tell the app your location and it will pick out plants and flowers that will thrive in your home’s climate.

Done designing your dream yard? View what you’ve done in “before and after” mode. Then share it all to your social media.

There are Tons of Interior Design Apps Out There

But, we think these are some of the best and most innovative.

Doing a home remodel can be stressful and time-consuming. Interior design apps like these can help take some of the guesswork out.

Are you looking to do some home improvement projects and need a little inspiration? Then check out some of our other blogs!


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10 Interior Design Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier

December 14, 2017 - By 

While many smartphone and tablet apps are strictly for entertainment purposes, many put a powerful tool in the palm of your hand.

There now seems to be an app for everything. In fact, as of March of 2017, there were 2.2 million apps to choose from in the Apple Store alone.

The interior design world hasn’t missed out on exciting apps that help bring creativity to your home improvement projects. From accurate planning to help with color schemes, there are interior design apps for all steps in the decorating process.

To help you choose the best app for your next home improvement project, we’re going over ten of the most popular apps on the market.

Let’s start designing.

1. MagicPlan

Do you have a vision of your new room but aren’t so great at crunching numbers when it comes to dimensions? MagicPlan has your back. With this helpful app, you can take a picture of your room and it will tell you the dimensions.

You can also use the app while you shop. If a piece of furniture catches your eye, take a picture of it and the app will let you know if the dimensions will work in your room. MagicPlan takes care of the mathematics and leaves the vision to you.

2. Zillow Digs

We all know Zillow, the online real estate database. Now they provide an app that brings price estimation to the interior design world. Zillow Digs provides estimates on design projects to help you get a bird’s eye view of the cost before you start.

Need help finding retailers that carry the products you need? The app will point you in the right direction.

3. ColorSnap

Interior design apps need to enhance your eye for color, and Colorsnap does just that. Sherman-Williams has built an app that lets you find a paint color that exactly matches your source of inspiration.

By taking a photo of your favorite piece of art, car, window curtains or just about anything, the app will tell you exactly which shade of Sherman-Williams paint matches your object. You can also look through 1,500 shades of paint and apply it to virtual rooms in the app.

4. Houzz

This is a monster when it comes to interior design apps. Houzz contains over 5 million high-resolution images of homes and rooms for you to peruse. These are all categorized and tagged based on style, type of room and location.

Houzz works as your ultimate idea guide. Save your favorite ideas and let the app’s design consultants give feedback on the direction you should take the room. Think of this app as your own personal interior decorator at your fingertips.

5. Homestyler

This app calls itself a “virtual fitting room,” and this makes sense once you see what it can do. Homestyler allows you to sample different styles for your home by superimposing virtual models of furniture, light fixtures and more onto a picture of the room you’re working on.

This gives you an accurate look at a rooms end result using certain products. Definitely a huge time and money saver. The app also includes a gallery where you can view other user’s ideas along with portfolios of actual interior designers.

6. Chairish

If you love pre-own or vintage furniture, this is the app for you. Chairish provides a buyer and seller market for used furniture. And rest assured, quality is key when it comes to Chairish products.

The app lets you browse furniture, save your favorites and message sellers if you’re interested. Even the buying process is done through the easy-to-use interface.

7. Curate

If you need interior design apps that help with choosing artwork, Curate is the way to go. With this app, you no longer have to use your imagination when trying to decide how a piece of art will look in a room.

Curate sets up a virtual environment where you can upload a picture of any wall and see how a piece of art will look. If also lets you browse art by your favorite artists or art galleries. Forget about playing a guessing game when trying to pick artwork for your home.

8. MyPantone

Think of this app as your color guru. If you’re questioning the exact color of a shade, MyPantone will set you straight. The company has included its entire library of colors in this app so you never have to question if you’re looking at teal or green.

MyPantone also lets you share your color choices with decorators and manufacturers so they can provide you with news about their products and services. It can also identify colors in a specific photo and give feedback on complementary color choices.

9. BrightNest

Interior design apps are meant to help, but this one goes above and beyond. BrightNest acts as a virtual personal assistant during your home improvement project. Using this app lets you remain organized, making sure you maintain your initial vision throughout the project.

Keep track of tasks and stay on schedule with helpful reminders. BrightNest even gives you advise on completing tasks more effectively. Projects you thought would never get done finally become attainable with this app.

10 Sun Surveyor Lite

This cool app helps you achieve the perfect amount of natural light in your home. Sun Surveyor Lite includes a 3D compass that measures the angle of the sun with respect to your home.

By walking through your house with the app, you can decide where to position furniture or plants in order to get the best natural light. Also, use it when planning for a remodel or if you plan on adding new furniture.

Which of These Interior Design Apps Are for You?

The first step in successfully completing an interior design project is knowing exactly what you want. While you may not have a use for all of the apps listed above, it’s likely that two or three will benefit you.

Ask yourself what you need help with the most and go from there. You’re sure to find something that works.

Visit Pligg.com for more articles on home improvement to help out with your next project.


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How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

December 7, 2017 - By 

Nothing beats the scent of a clean house, right?

Today, we’re going to share the frequency with which you should clean out dishwasher in your home and give you the step-by-step process.

It’s so simple, it makes cleaning fun! And once those good, clean vibes get ahold of you, you won’t want to stop with your dishwasher.

Let’s take a look at the quick and easy steps that will leave all your kitchen appliances sparkling like the day you brought them home.

Clean Out Dishwasher Once a Month

Technically, things get pretty clean in your dishwasher every time you run it. There’s enough steam in there to melt away our biggest messes.

But this is not enough.

Food, grease, and soap scum get caked onto the dishwasher over time.

Whether or not they give off any unfavorable odors, their presence means germs are on your horizon.

We have to combat any of that residual bacteria left behind by our delicious green bean casserole.

Once a month, give your empty dishwasher a spin to make sure you clean out every last nook and cranny.

How to Clean Out Dishwasher

First, run the garbage disposal. You want to filter out any lingering muck sitting in those pipes since it filters into the dishwasher anyway.

Then, pull out the bottom rack.

Next, take a Dobie pad to the dishwasher drain on the bottom. Give the cleanup process a leg up by removing any built-up food, grease, or detergent.

Then, place a Pyrex cup filled with distilled white vinegar on the top rack and let ‘er rip. Make sure you run a full cycle, using the hottest water setting you have.

Next, you’ll want to deodorize the scent of vinegar from the dishwasher by pouring a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the tub.

Finally, run one more cycle. This time, a half cycle will do. It’s best to leave your dishwasher open for a few hours afterward to fully air it out.

If you ever have any doubt about how to clean your dishwasher, feel free to use Dishwasher Wizard. This is a dishwasher additive that targets the machine itself while your detergent cleans up all those pots, pans, and dishes.

Other Appliances

Don’t forget about the other appliances hard at work in your kitchen and home!

Since their cleaning process is quite similar, let’s take a quick look at some of the most important appliances.

Coffee Maker

Fill the coffee maker’s reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water.

Then, place a paper filter in the basket.

Stop the brewing process halfway through and let the solution sit there for 30 minutes.

Pour out your solution and then run water through your machine twice more.

Washing Machine

Run a load with hot water and about a cup of distilled white vinegar.

This will wash away any lingering germs from those dirty gym clothes.

Garbage Disposal

Cut up an entire lemon and throw it down the drain.

Follow that up with a couple tablespoon of salt and a few ice cubes.

Then, let ‘er rip.

Do this about once a month to prevent any yucky odors from emanating.

Microwave

Fill a bowl with a cup of water, several slices of lemon, and put in a couple tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.

Then, run the microwave for three minutes.

Make sure you see it getting good and steamy in there.

When that’s complete, wipe it down from top to bottom and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You now have a spic and span kitchen.

We Love Learning!

Pligg provides you with all you need to know about a variety of topics, including household repair manuals.

We love hearing from our readers! Let us know how your dishwasher cleaning went in the comments below.

And if there’s another topic you’d like to see us cover, feel free to reach out to us today.


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5 Automation Devices for Modern Garage Doors

November 30, 2017 - By 
modern garage doors

Home automation devices are designed to make your life just a little bit easier. Who doesn’t like convenience?

In a world with so many distractions, it’s easy to have your attention diverted from a task. Maybe you’ve misplaced your house keys in the hurry to leave the house, or maybe you’ve forgotten to close your garage door.

With modern garage doors, the latter doesn’t have to be a problem anymore. Read on to find out our top 5 automation devices for modern garage doors.

1. Chamberlain MyQ-G0201

The Chamberlain MyQ-G0201 is everything you could want in a garage automation device. This nifty gadget will monitor, open, and close your garage door from anywhere as long as you use your smartphone.

It’s compatible with most modern garage doors’ opening systems made after 1993 that have standard safety sensors. Its easy installation makes it super convenient.

If you’re in the process of a garage door installation and the thought of setting up a tech system feels intimidating, fear not! It doesn’t take long at all to set this little thing up.

Since it’s controlled via smartphone, it comes with its own MyQ Garage App. It’s compatible with both Apple and Android devices. For security purposes, you can choose whether you want the app to notify you when your garage door opens and closes.

2. Garageio Garage Door Opener

The Garageio garage door opener is another easy to install beauty. With this neat gadget, you can open or close your garage door with a simple swipe of your smartphone. This particular model is also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

The great thing about this model is its range. You can implement modern security for your garage from the other side of the world if necessary. Wherever you are, you can rest assured your garage and its contents are safe and secure.

You can also easily grant and remove device access to anyone. There’s no limit on the number of users, so there’s no need to share existing codes or invest in extra openers.

3. Asante Garage Door Opener

This device is compatible with multiple modern garage doors.

The Asante door opener also offers the option of LED lights for better night vision.

You can not only control but also see your garage with their amazing free app. It boasts unlimited cloud access, too, as well as an optional push notification system.

4. GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4

This model makes a great addition to established smart homes. Easy to install and use, it also provides both visual and audio warnings before any garage door movement occurs.

The GoControl has a range of roughly 100 feet and is compatible with most garage door openers.

With an average rating of 4-5 stars on Amazon, you know you’re getting quality with GoControl.

5. LiftMaster MyQ Universal Garage Door Opener

This reasonably priced and reliable model is compatible with both older and newer garage door openers.

This is perfect if you’re not the most tech-savvy homeowner. The device can control up to two garage doors at once (provided you have an extra door sensor), as well as up to 16 MyQ enabled devices.

Suffice it to say, you’ll be getting your money’s worth with LiftMaster.

More on Modern Garage Doors?

For more about modern automation devices and smart-tech, check out our archives.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch!


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3 Qualities to Look for in a Great Access Door

November 13, 2017 - By 

Having a great access door means more than just providing entry for plumbing or electrical units. It can offer safety and security when used as a safe.

There are many purposes you can use an access door for but it ultimately ends up being an easy way to conduct necessary maintenance repairs. Whether that’s what you intend to use it for or want to convert it into something else, we have advice on the qualities a good access door should have.

Ready to find out what they are? Here we go!

Hidden Hinges

Concealed hinges are great if you’re wanting the door to be flush with the wall. That way, it doesn’t stick out awkwardly.

They also come in handy if you’re using your door as a safe. When the hinges are located within the door itself, it’s impossible to be tampered with. Crooks looking to gain access won’t find a way because they can’t locate the hinges.

Not only do they offer security when used that way but they’re easy to install. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do the install, most concealed hinges work like a puzzle. All that needs to be done is to click one piece inside the other.

Fire-Rated Access Door

Since most doors are used to conceal electrical units, it’s best to invest in a door that’s fire-rated. Why?

If a fire were to happen, one that’s fire-rated limits the amount of smoke that’s produced. Also, it has properties that prevent the fire from spreading past the doors.

These types of doors prove themselves useful because when installed, it creates a tight seal against the wall. When used in the kitchen, for example, the material it’s made out of won’t become hot to the touch. All that’s heated inside the door won’t transfer onto the door itself.

Companies like Best Access Doors understand consumers want to keep their home protected. Therefore, they offer a wide variety of fire-rated access doors.

Can Withstand the Elements

Most doors can be used indoors and outdoors. While it’s great to have one that can do both, it’s best to consider the type of weather in the area you live in if the door will be on the exterior of your home.

If it’s strictly indoor, sticking it outside won’t put it to good use. It’ll slowly deteriorate from the outside elements.

Harsh winters or even blazing sunlight can cause damage. When shopping, be sure to pick up one that’s specifically for the outdoors.

It can also withstand mildew and warping caused by weather. It’s worth the investment so you don’t have to replace the door three years from now.

Wrapping Up

When picking out an access door, it’s best to remember these three qualities. Your door should be able to withstand the outside elements and keep your valuables safe.

Whatever you decide to use it for, make sure it fits your needs. There’s plenty of options to choose from so you won’t be stuck with one that’s useless.

For more information on a plethora of topics, check out our recent blog posts!


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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

If there’s a better option for a deck than hardwood decking, we couldn’t tell you what it is. The strength and beauty of hardwood is without match, and its durability seals the deal for anyone considering hardwood as a deck building option.

Hardwood decking provides the best long-lasting alternative to synthetic materials or softwoods. It boasts a natural beauty that gets better with age, much like a fine wine.

Nobody can deny the durability of hardwood. As an example, the hardwood Ipe Decking used on the Coney Island Boardwalk lasted 70 years. When torn down, the wood was re-used on other products.

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable outdoor oasis for your house then hardwood is where you should start.

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY hardwood decking.

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

The first step is choosing the right hardwood for your project. Here, we’ll break down 5 of the most popular options so you can choose the right one for your project.

If you’d like to know what other types of hardwoods are available, then give this a click!

1. Ipe Wood

This is the most popular decking option for builders using hardwood. Color options range from olive-brown to dark brown. Some even have a blackish tone.

The wood grains vary widely.

Ipe wood will provide a gorgeous, long-lasting deck. It’s incredibly hard and will last over 40 years with the right installation and care.

If you live in a harsh environment with extreme weather, you can’t go wrong with Ipe wood.

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

Grarapa decking features a beautiful golden brown to light yellow color. As it begins to weather, it turns a silvery gray.

The best part about Garapa is that there’s no need to apply an annual sealer. It’s naturally resistant to decay, rot, scratches, splinters and even fire.

Also known as Brazilian Ash, its moderate cost makes it a great alternative to Ipe or Teak hardwoods.

3. Massaranduba

This type of hardwood is one of the most durable timbers on earth. It’s a very cost-effective sub for Ipe decking in many applications.

It has a straight grain and reddish-brown hue. Some people refer to it as Brazilian Redwood.

If you’re looking for a Mahogany appearance, Massaranduba is a great way to go.

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru provides a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative for hardwood decking.

It glows in a warm and attractive golden-brown color that’s unmatched by most hardwoods. It also ages gracefully and is long-lasting.

Cumaru has a similar density as Ipe but at a much more moderate cost.

5. Teak

Teak surpasses most all other woods for outdoor use. True teak decking, known as Tectona Grandis, has natural oils which completely eliminate the need for sealants or preservatives.

It’s the most expensive hardwood option but is also the highest quality. It’s so high quality that it’s used on many luxury yachts.

If you’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind deck, Teak is the best material.

Choose the Right Profile

The decking profile you’ll use will depend on the fasteners you’re using and the location you’re installing the deck.

Standard Decking

Use this profile for face screwed decking. Then, plug it to give your deck a completely seamless look.

Pre-Grooved Decking

Use pre-grooved decking when you want to allow hidden fasteners to be installed so that the decking boards don’t show any of the fasteners.

Tongue and Grooved Decking

Use this profile for porch flooring or when your deck will be covered. It should only be used when you aren’t concerned about water drainage.

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

First, note that all hardwood decking requires stainless steel screws. You’ll also need to pre-drill each hole due to the hardness and density of the wood.

Stainless Steel Screws

No matter what type of hardwood you’re using, employ stainless steel screws. The wood is going to last 40 or more years, so you’ll want your screws to last just as long.

In addition, other fasteners cause discoloration and staining in hardwoods.

Use stainless steel screws for hidden fasteners, face screwing and if using wood plugs.

Wood Plugs

When face screwing, wood plugs can be used. You’ll need to counter-sink each screw to allow you to cover the head of each screw with a wood plug.

Typically the wood plugs will then be planed or sanded to be smooth with the deck surface.

Hidden Deck Fasteners

When you’re using pre-grooved decking, you’ll want to use hidden deck fasteners. They’re used to clip the decking boards to the span and are almost completely hidden by the deck grooves.

Sanding and Finishing

Once your deck is installed, you’ll want to consider treating it will an oil-based finish. That’ll depend on the hardwood you’ve chosen and the look you’re going for.

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

First, you’ll want to seal all of your fresh cuts with AnchorSeal. Then, spot-sand as needed. It’s not recommended that you do orbital sanding because it will leave unsightly circular scratches in the wood grain.

Finishing

If you’re OK with your deck developing a natural “silvering” color, you don’t need to worry about finishing. Your deck will still last many, many years.

However, if you’re looking to keep the wood coloring of the original hardwood you should look for a penetrating oil-based finish that’s transparent. It should also have UV protection.

Before you apply, clean and brush your deck’s surface to remove all dust and dirt. Then apply several transparent coats and you’re good to go.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of hardwood decking is that it’s very low maintenance. However, you can still help improve its appearance and make it last longer.

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

A couple times per year put together a simple water and soap solution and take a stiff brush to your deck. This will keep is shining like new.

Pressure washers are rarely recommended for a hardwood deck. When it’s time to rinse, a garden hose and spray nozzle will work just fine.

Refinishing

When you need to remove stains or age from finishes, look for a commercial cleaner that’s made specifically for hardwoods.

When refinishing, make sure to clean the deck thoroughly before you start. Some finishing products may not need to be stripped off the deck prior to applying a new coat. If you have questions about this, contact the product manufacturer.

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

With all the options, durability and beautify of hardwood, it’s difficult to see a better option for your new deck.

If you learned from this article, take a look at some of our ebook downloads that can further expand your knowledge base.

Good luck with your deck project!


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Are You Breathing Toxic Air? 5 Ways to Monitor Air Quality

November 8, 2017 - By 

In a world where pollution is rampant, you need to get a handle on your breathing air.

There are some tips you need to know to protect your breathing air, whether dealing with indoor or outdoor air quality.

If you’re looking for ways to analyze toxic air and prevent from breathing it, read the tips below.

#1: Get Up-To-Date EPA Toxic Air Reports

Knowing that toxic air is present is the key to preventing breathing it.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues reports that let you know all about the air quality where you live.

You can get this data by researching the reports by city, county or other geographical location.

#2: Stay Tuned To Your Daily Forecasts

Aside from EPA reports, you need to stay tuned to daily forecasts.

Look for weather forecasts that include thorough breakdowns of air quality — to include the presence of toxic air due to wildfires or other issues. You’ll also be able to look into aspects like carbon monoxide, smog, pollen count, and other potential issues.

The more you know about the air quality, the easier it’ll be for you to take the appropriate measures.

#3: Buy An Indoor Air Monitor

Air problems can be as dangerous to your home as asbestos.

You can get measurable data on the air quality when you invest in an indoor air monitor. On top of a carbon monoxide alarm, this monitor will let you know info about humidity and whether any potentially toxic elements are present.

The investment in this monitor is worth your peace of mind.

#4: Take Care Of Your HVAC System

The better you care for your heating and cooling, the better the indoor air quality you’ll experience.

For instance, a poor HVAC system is known to breed mold, so you’ll need to get this under control.

Mold is known to irritate your respiratory passages, making your own home a health liability. Getting professional services from someone like Biological Health Services mould removal after an outbreak will help you protect your breathing air.

You can take care of your HVAC system by changing the air filters and cleaning out any passageways. This keeps your HVAC system in great condition while also protecting your breathing air.

On top of caring for your HVAC equipment, make sure to insulate your attic to get the best service from it.

#5: Get A Home Audit

The best way to know for sure whether you’re dealing with toxic air is to contact a professional that can perform a home audit.

This audit will let you get the best service from your indoor air components while shoring up any problems.

Air issues are sometimes undetectable without the right instruments and data, so bringing in a professional can help.

Browse our site if you’d like to learn more about air quality and ways to improve your household quality of life.


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How a Home Design App Can Turn You Into an Interior Designer

November 8, 2017 - By 

Whether you are a new or seasoned homeowner, redecorating is something that usually happens more than once.

But paying a professional interior designer can become very expensive. Do you still want that professional look without the high price tag? Enter design apps.

Read below for some fabulous ways a home design app will help you achieve your goals all by yourself!

Choosing Colors

Paint is often the first step in any redecorating plan. It can also be a scary choice to make. Fear of a color being overwhelming once on a wall prevents many people from beginning at all.

Luckily there are apps that can help you see what a color will look like. Many paint brands have their own apps that once you upload a picture of a room, you can apply any paint color to one or more walls.

This process will help you have an idea of how a color will actually look before you take the plunge.

Color apps can also help you figure out what a color is. Did you damage a wall and need to do some touch ups? Unsure what the paint color is? Snap a photo and most apps will be able to find you the exact color or a close match.

Get Inspiration from a Home Design App

If you have the urge to redecorate but lack inspiration, a design app may become your best friend.

These apps can provide you with different types of rooms all decorated in different styles. There is something for everyone regardless if you like modern furniture or country styled pieces.

Try Out Layouts and Furniture

Rearranging the furniture in your home is an easy way to bring new life and a new look to any room.

But sometimes the thought of moving heavy couches and tables sucks.

If you want to only rearrange once, consider using apps that let you create a 3D image of your room. These let you pick room shapes and put windows and doors where you have them.

Once you have a shell that matches your room, you can place images of furniture pieces in the space. When you move furniture, you can be sure it will look how you want!

Some apps even let you customize floor materials or window treatments.

For example, with a home design app, you can sometimes test out some blinds and designs to find something that works perfectly for your space.

Stay Organized

Staying organized during home renovations or redecorating is important. Managing your time well will ensure your project will help increase your home’s value.

Find an app that can act as a virtual assistant. Create all your tasks that need to be done and create reminders for cleaning tasks that will help you maintain

Start Creating Your Dream Home

As you can see, a home design app can really help make your dreams come true with your home.

Have some friends who want to do some redecorating? Be sure to share this article with them.

Also be sure to check out some other home decorating resources!


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