The one design feature you’re overlooking

When it comes to decorating your home, it’s a smart idea to put your time, energy and money into the elements that make a difference to beauty and comfort. And don’t forget the window treatments.

An essential element in any space, window coverings manage illumination, privacy and even energy efficiency. They set the tone and ambiance; create a finished, polished look; and, can be a gorgeous design element that draws the eye.

When choosing the right window treatments for your home, consider these elements:

Light control and privacy. Harsh light at the window? Look for products with innovative fabric designs that transform sunlight into a soft glow and help protect your furnishings from damaging UV rays, such as the Silhouette line from Hunter Douglas. Want more light? Look for shades that can help channel light deeper into your room, filling dark corners and reducing your need for electrical lighting.

Privacy. You don’t need to sacrifice streaming sunlight for privacy from neighbours. Just look for products and operating systems that provide clever ways for giving you the privacy you want while maintaining your view through to the outside.

Energy efficiency. As much as 50 per cent of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. But window treatments that provide insulation and solar heat control can reduce your energy bills by keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Safety. Kids and pets can get hurt with hanging cords and chains. From cordless and motorized operating systems, retractable lift cords, cord tensioners and wand controls, there are several operating system options for enhanced child and pet safety.

Smart-home convenience. Imagine your shades moving automatically to the exact position you prefer to achieve the specific lighting effect you love, or adjusting themselves for optimal energy efficiency throughout the day. With Hunter Douglas’ PowerView Motorization system, your shades will automatically move to schedules you set, so they’ll always be in their perfect positions 24/7.

Refresh your home with new cabinet doors

Looking for a way to update your home? If you’re happy with your existing cabinetry layout, refacing with new cabinet doors is all you need. The timesaving, no-fuss solution will make your space look brand new in a week or less.

By using an in-home cabinet refacing service such as ReNuIt, which provides turnkey, in-home consultation and installation, all you have to do is pick your style and watch the beauty come to life.

Cabinet refacing is perfect for quickly refreshing kitchens as well as many other areas of your home where storage and organization are key. Here are some ideas for how to revive different spaces with fresh cabinets.

Laundry room. Updating cabinets in your laundry room is a great way to stay on-trend while keeping organized. You can use the cabinets to store detergent, laundry sheets and cleaning supplies. Consider updating with new cabinet doors in neutral tones such as beige, white or grey. These colours will bring a fresh feel and look as clean as your clothes.

Home office. Let style inspire you in this space. If you envision an energizing room, opt for cabinet doors in bright colours. There’s a variety of blues, greens or yellows that will get your creative juices flowing. Perhaps you’re looking for a luxury feel with warm tones. For this, consider a rich brown or dark burgundy, as they offer that ready-for-business vibe.

Hallway and mudroom. It can be hard to find a place to store all your shoes and outerwear. Having cabinetry near the front door will provide you with that extra storage space. Consider adding cabinetry to an unused alcove or entry nook. You can have them installed with shelves, dividers and hooks so that everything has its place. This will help hide all the clutter, creating a seamless space perfect for greeting guests.

For more information on cabinet re-facing and installation check out homedepot.ca.

Staying safe during home renovations

The first back-to-school sale catches you by surprise. Where did the summer go?  With the return of shorter days and cooler temperatures, perhaps there are some neglected renovation projects that you can finally tackle.

Even if it’s only painting the kitchen, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Is there asbestos in your house? If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos — like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles — contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin the renovations. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself. If left undisturbed, there are no significant health risks from asbestos.
  • Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of anything left over.
  • Be sure to pick up gloves, a mask and a pair of safety glasses. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  • Keep all chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where kids cannot see or reach them.
  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing wall-to-wall carpets using glues or adhesives.

Increase resale value with new countertops

Want a quick way to boost what your home is worth? According to a recent survey conducted by Houzz, countertops are the top upgraded feature in most homes and the material most likely to be splurged on.

There are several materials to consider when replacing your countertop. Here, The Home Depot shares insights that will help you decide which style is the best for your lifestyle. Consider these tips not only when you are looking to sell your house, but also when you are searching for a new one.

Quartz. Over the past few years, quartz has become the product of choice for many consumers. When preparing to sell your house, consider quartz as a durable material that buyers will pay extra for. There are a variety of colours to choose from, but if you’re selling you’ll want to stick to neutral tones like whites and greys.

When buying a house, ask what material the countertops are made from. One of the main benefits of quartz is that it is resistant to chips and cracks. It’s also easy to clean because of its non-porous surface.

Natural stone. Another popular option to consider is natural stone. When selling your house, you may not want to spend a great deal on refreshing and some natural stone costs less than quartz while still offering a beautiful look that will last forever.

The material resists staining and cracking under high temperatures and requires little-to-no maintenance, making it an ideal option for those who love to cook and entertain. You won’t need to worry if guests spill their glass of Shiraz or put a hot serving plate on your counter by accident.

3 tips to consider before your backyard renovation

3 tips to consider before your backyard renovationIf you’re thinking about transforming your outdoor space with a new deck or garden, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started:

Think about appliances and equipment early. Give some thought to the types of appliances or equipment you may want installed based on what’s most important to you. Is it comfort, energy efficiency or aesthetics? Plan based on what you’d like now and potentially in the future to identify what you’ll need, such as support beams, electrical wires and natural gas lines. When choosing the appliances, don’t forget to factor in the fuel source. There are several natural gas appliances available, like fireplaces, pool heaters and outdoor lighting.

Barbecue like a chef. If you’re designing your backyard with entertaining in mind, opt for a natural gas barbecue. Since they’re hooked up to your home’s natural gas line, you won’t run out of fuel or have to wait for charcoal to heat up. That means more time to spend with your guests.

Chefs also chefs prefer cooking with natural gas because the direct and consistent heat allows for more precise temperature control and even cooking.

Call or click before you dig. When you’re ready to start your backyard project, but before you do any digging, contact Ontario One Call to see what’s underground. Damage to a natural gas line can result in a gas leak, fire or explosion, and can even cut off utility service to an entire neighbourhood. A natural gas connection should also only be installed by a licensed HVAC contractor. Find more information at www.on1call.com or by calling 1-800-400-2255.

Renovating? Some DIY projects to avoid

Renovating? Some DIY projects to avoidUnless you have technical qualifications and a lot of experience, there are some projects and types of work that you are better off leaving to the pros. These are the ones that involve safety risks for you and your family, and it is better to let a professional to do the work.

Plumbing, electrical and gas repairs and installations. Depending on provincial regulations, a licensed contractor may be necessary by law. Make sure you know the rules where you live. For the sake of your family’s safety, work involving electricity and/or gas service should only be done by a qualified and licensed contractor. Because this type of work can result in a safety hazard if done incorrectly, permits are usually required.

Roofing or other exterior work involving heights. These projects require proper safety equipment that must be correctly used. If you don’t have such equipment and know how to use it properly, don’t take chances — hire a pro.

Asbestos removal. You should always use a professional for this tricky project, and provincial laws likely require it. Don’t risk your health by doing this work on your own.

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association offers free information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way. Find more information at www.getitinwriting.ca.

 

5 tips to help you keep your home clean during renovations

5 tips to help you keep your home clean during renovationsThere is no better time to renovate or spruce up a room than spring. But living through it can be messy. Here are five tips to help keep your home in good shape during a reno:

  1. Take down decorations. Before starting a project, remove decorations, light fixtures and extra furniture from the room and organize into bins. Removing any household goods that are not needed will help prevent them from becoming dirty or damaged during the process.
  2. Keep dust at bay. Dust can build up quickly while remodelling and can settle throughout your home, even outside the space you’re updating. For dust in the air, try an air purifier such as the Dyson Pure Cool HEPA Air Purifier and Fan that traps microscopic dust and other airborne particles. The device automatically senses indoor air quality in real time and projects clean air to every corner of the room.
  3. Isolate the area. While the renovation is in full swing, try to keep it isolated from other parts of your home. Hang a plastic sheet between rooms to help contain some of the dust and debris. If you’re kicking up a lot of dust, close your floor vents to help reduce the amount of dust that travels to the rest of the house.
  4. Vacuum up high, down below and in between. Despite your best precautions, it’s inevitable that debris from the renovated area will spill into other rooms. Take time to vacuum regularly to keep your other living spaces free of dirt and dust. Use a lightweight cord-free vacuum that has different attachments to reach on top of window panes, under furniture, in between upholstery and on stairs.
  5. Be aware of chemicals in the air. A fresh coat of paint can transform the look and feel of a room, but it can also emit volatile organic compounds into the air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs may have short and long-term adverse health effects. The Dyson Pure Cool purifying fan has a sensor that detects and captures VOCs and emits cleaner air into the room.

5 rooms you can brighten with a skylight

5 rooms you can brighten with a skylightAdding a skylight can enhance any space, making it lighter, brighter, fresher and more cheerful. A skylight can also improve our experience indoors, where we spend 90 percent of our time but the air quality is three to five times worse than outdoors.

In addition to the health benefits of more natural light, skylights reduce the need for artificial light and can lower electricity costs delivering twice the amount of light as vertical windows allowing for daylight to penetrate the center of the home. Here are five rooms that would be even better with one of these light solutions.

Bathroom. By adding a venting skylight, you can allow in an abundance of natural daylight while also letting the steam out after a hot bath or shower. Plus, did you know that the best lighting for make-up application is natural light? A skylight can let you enjoy privacy, an unobstructed view and a sophisticated design touch in your bathroom.

Kitchen. Programmable skylights from Velux will let in natural light and they give you the control to properly air out your home and keep your kitchen fresh during and after cooking. By opening your skylight, gases like hot air, cooking odours and toxins escape through the roof.

Living room. Make this popular space feel bigger with a skylight — you can even combine multiple units to create an architectural statement. Add a solar-powered blind to reduce the glare on your television and other screens.

Home office. Incorporate more natural light into your home office or studio to increase productivity, minimize mistakes and improve your mood. Working in natural light will also lessen eyestrain, which can help reduce headaches.

Attic/loft conversion. By converting your attic into a functional loft, you can add more usable square footage, increasing the value of your home. Keep the space bright, airy and open by including a skylight in your new design, leaving you with views of the sky and not your neighbour’s roof, exterior side wall or bathroom. This will allow you to transform your dark attic space into a practical bright space flooded with natural light.

Find more inspiration online at moredaylight.ca/5rooms.

Five DIY renovation tips

Five DIY renovation tipsAs the days grow longer and the sun begins to warm the soul, many of us might be thinking it’s time to get our home ready for the warmer weather. It’s a perfect time to embark on that painting or renovation project you’ve been dreaming about.

  1. Let the clean, fresh air in. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing any flooring using glues or adhesives. You can find out about your local outdoor air quality by visiting www.airhealth.ca.
  2. Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products. Be sure you use all personal safety equipment recommended on the label.
  3. Choose low-emission products when possible. Paint or varnish products often have a noticeable smell. The odour will contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some chemical products that are labelled as “low emission” give off fewer VOCs. Look on the label to see if the product is low emission.
  4. Check for asbestos. If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos (like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles), contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself.
  5. Keep chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where children cannot see or reach them.

By following these renovation health tips, you can brush away the last signs of winter safely.

Genius small bathroom makeover ideas

Genius small bathroom makeover ideasLooking for your next reno project? Consider transforming your bathroom — the most renovated room in 2017 — with a few strategic upgrades so you can enjoy a relaxing oasis and boost your property’s resale value. Whether you’re looking to refresh your ensuite or a powder room, use these tricks to make the most of every square foot.

Savvy storage solutions. Maximize limited space by incorporating streamlined and efficient organizing and storage options. Think floating glass shelves to hold toiletries, built-in shelves and shower niches to house mood-setting décor and towels, and pullout drawers and desk trays to keep jewelry and makeup tidy.

Mix DIY with smart shopping. To keep your budget under control, combine simple do-it-yourself projects with new quality purchases. For example, update a builder-basic vanity with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, and splurge on a clawfoot tub or heated floors. You can also go with more expensive tile and flooring in a small bathroom because you’ll need less material than you would in a larger space.

Opt for stylish resourceful fixtures. When upgrading your plumbing fixtures, choose efficient models that will make your life easier in the end. Make cleaning easier with the VorMax Plus self-cleaning toilet from American Standard. Available at Home Depot, this innovative toilet cleans and freshens with its Lysol Fresh Infuser every time you flush. Its smart design reduces the clutter of having multiple cleaning supplies and its antimicrobial surface eliminates buildup and dirt that cling onto conventional bowls.

Bring on the bold. Don’t be afraid to add fashion and flair — small bathrooms can benefit from character and charm that create visual interest and please the eye. Pick one or two features to play up. For a contemporary cottage look, try an oversized mirror framed in distressed wood. For a serious spa vibe, choose a luxurious showerhead, large tiles and plush accessories.

www.newscanada.com