Sunday, 2 November 2008

BETTER HOMES GUIDE- EDITORIAL


How your home looks, reflects your own personal style and taste and a beautiful, practical home is a joy to come in to.


For those of us who love cooking, new units and fittings can help to make the kitchen a comfortable and effective working environment.


Professional landscapers and ground workers will make your outdoor space an all year round enjoyable experience, from a full garden makeover to clearing the leaves out of the guttering


BETTER HOMES GUIDE
With Christmas just round the corner now is a good time to get your home all ship-shape for the celebrations. How your home looks, reflects your own personal style and taste and a beautiful, practical home is a joy to come in to. With visitors and family coming home and neighbours popping in, there is still time to do all those little jobs and improvements to make your house as homely as possible.


Warm and Cosy


Start by making your home warm and cosy. Make sure your heating system is in good working order by getting it checked out. Radiators might need to be bled or the system flushed out. Boilers should be serviced and the system checked for leaks. Nothing spoils the look and integrity of your wooden floor than damp patches around the radiator pipes. Make sure the system has anti-corrosive additives as the fins of the radiators can block up with rust and make the system inefficient.


It can also be worth getting your chimneys swept out to avoid the risk of fires and increase the upward draw of the smoke. This will in turn make your back boiler more efficient. Consider putting in a wood-burning stove to cut down on the cost of oil and coal.


Heat rises, so a lot of heat can be lost through your roof. You can cut this down by insulating your loft. There are recommendations about the thickness of the insulating material and this will cut down on your heating bills. Another way to cut heat loss is to put in double-glazing. This can be an expensive out-going but the comfort will be felt straight away and it should pay for itself over the years.


Insulate your hot water tank. A special jacket that fits around the tank will slow down the amount of heat loss and keep your hot water at the right temperature for longer. Your cold water tank should also be insulated to stop it from freezing over in the winter months. Make sure that your taps aren’t dripping or leaking. Don’t forget to insulate outdoor taps in case of heavy frosts.


Revamping a Room


Giving a room a facelift needn’t be too expensive. A new coat of paint can make a big difference. Getting carpets, curtains and furniture professionally cleaned can also make a room feel fresher. Old pieces of furniture can be given a new lease of life by having them restored or re-covered. Built in cupboards and shelves can be a practical way of creating storage solutions for all your bits and pieces and can look good as well.


Kitchens


Kitchens are used a lot in the run up to Christmas to prepare the turkey and all the other trimmings for a family celebration. The kitchen is traditionally known as the heart of the home, as it is where women prepared nourishment for their loved ones. For those of us who love cooking, new units and fittings can help to make the kitchen a comfortable and effective working environment. Good storage, ergonomic worktops and sinks and enough storage can make the kitchen a pleasure to be in. Washable floors and surfaces ensure good hygiene. Think about your needs for your kitchen when making changes.
Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be a fun place to redecorate and stamp your own personality as well as being functional. Some people have themes such as the sea or garden, which is reflected in tiles, shower curtains or pictures. Power showers are a popular start to the day and leave you feeling wide awake and ready to tackle the day. A lovely warm bathroom is a great joy and still feels like a luxury. General maintenance of the bathroom is important such as seals around the bath need to be intact and water tight to avoid damp. Check that there is no leakage from the toilet overflow and that all the parts are working freely. Details like new tiles, a new floor or a funky toilet seat can add a bit of character to the room.

Gardens and Drives

Gardens and drives are worth a bit of attention too. No-body wants to slip on moss or wet decking so make sure these are kept clean through power hosing or washing down with appropriate cleaning products that will kill the moss and stop it from returning over the winter.

It can be a battle to keep the outdoor space outdoors. It is all too easy to tramp muck in when you go out to collect the coal or coming in from the car. Unfinished driveways covered in muddy hardcore can be laid with stone to make them safe to walk on and this is really important with the days being short and the long periods of darkness. The last thing you want is to fall and twist your ankle on a pothole. Professional landscapers and ground workers will make your outdoor space an all year round enjoyable experience, from a full garden makeover to clearing the leaves out of the guttering. There are jobs you could do yourself as well though. Start by cleaning all of the old summer bedding plants out of the window boxes and hanging baskets and replace them with colourful winter displays. There are plenty of plants to choose from and the impact is powerful. Your home looks loved and cared for and the sight of winter pansies and heathers is a warm welcome for visitors.


Brighten up the Bedroom

Make sure that you have the winter bedding in the bedrooms. Nothing warms a sleeping body for that “long winter’s nap” like a nice feather duvet and flannel bed linens. Rest your head on fluffy, soft down pillows. Since we tend to sleep longer in winter its important to be sure beddings are warm and comfy. Warm colours on bedroom walls can add to the cosiness, just one wall with a bold colour can make you feel as though the heating is on in the room. Don’t forget your hot water bottles too.


Planning and Preparation

With a little planning and preparation, you can make your home warm and comfortable for the long winter months so that family and guests enjoy the time together indoors. Nothing feels better and keeps people cheerful through the cold months of winter than a home that is well maintained and full of cosy winter d├ęcor.

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