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July 23, 2019

Top Tips on How to Reduce Energy Usage in Your Home

Using energy in the domestic household is a necessary evil. Yes, there are a lot of benefits to it, in that we thrive on more comfortable living and have the potential to use all sorts of electrical devices that we once didn’t. However, there are also downsides to having a

Read More »

Design Hub Creates Jobs in Cardiff

The latest design hub by Amey has opened in Cardiff, creating 60 new jobs in the area. The new hub was opened by Welsh Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates. “The opening of Amey’s new design hub in Cardiff, and the 60 jobs it will create, is part of our

Read More »

Meeting the Targets of New Carbon Law

June 27th 2019 was a significant day in the history as the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass a law to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by

Read More »

Design a Perfect Sunroom: Tips and Tricks

Do you already have a porch basking in sun and begging to become a sunroom? Or you wish to have an additional room where you will greet the sun? In the latter case, you would have more leeway when it comes to the size of the room, as least as

Read More »

Ways to Prepare Your Property for Natural Disasters

Mother Nature is usually wonderful, beautiful, and stunning, but every once in a while, it can be a cruel and unforgiving parent to us all. We, of course, refer to the natural disasters that can strike anytime, depending on your location and the season. Hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes, and fires

Read More »

A Guide to Safe Outdoor Lighting

Whether you want outdoor lighting for security or ambiance, taking power or electricity outdoors can be a potentially dangerous job. Outdoor lighting can provide a beautiful ambient setting in the evenings or can take on a firmer role by providing light to dark areas for safety and security purposes. Outdoor

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Freshen Up Your Home Style with Some French Country Décor

It’s always fun to bring a new essence to your home décor. It can be anything you want and you are always free and encouraged to make some changes, regardless of how small they may be. All it takes is some free time and creativity. Even money isn’t necessarily an

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

July 23, 2019

How to Give your Bathroom the Facelift it Needs, Without Breaking the Bank

It’s easy to neglect your bathroom. Despite it being one of the rooms in the home that we will inevitably need to spend time in every single day, it’s often one of the rooms that we forget about when we’re redecorating – besides keeping it clean, there doesn’t seem to be a lot else to it. However when you really consider it, it’s a bit nonsensical that the room we use every day without fail, isn’t the one we prioritise in making it look the best it can. It doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but there are ways of showing your bathroom the love and attention it deserves to make it look the best it can. Paint the Walls Sometimes it’s as simple as that. It’s amazing how a lick of paint can revitalise a room, and how opting for a different colour scheme can transform it completely. Plus it’s a very cheap and easy DIY job so you can’t really go wrong. It’s advisable that you go one of two ways colour-wise in your bathroom. Either go for a rich and luxurious vibrant colour, like a deep velvety purple, or alternatively a tranquil and crisp pastel or neutral colour like jade green. Neither one is better than the other, but whether you’re looking for luxury or tranquility, it’s easily achievable. Change the Mirror This can be one of the easiest fixes for a bathroom. Not only do they reflect light and make the room appear brighter, but they also give the illusion of a bigger space when placed in the correct location. Often, the mirror is a hugely underrated centrepiece in a bathroom. Luckily for you, there is an abundance of mirrors on the market these days, of all different shapes, sizes and colours so you’ll easily find one to suit you and the room you’re trying to create. One larger and ornate statement mirror will never, ever go out of fashion. However, it doesn’t have to be just one mirror – you can get as creative as you like. Sometimes placing several smaller and quirkier mirrors in a formation on your wall is a great way to produce a unique and interesting collage on your wall, whilst also using the advantage of mirrors. The best thing about mirrors is that you can switch them up whenever you please – they’re not permanent. Get Regrouting If you live with something long enough, you’ll learn very easily not to notice it any more, it’s just human nature. This is often the case when it comes to the grouting between the tiles and appliances in our bathrooms – and even though you don’t notice it anymore, it’s guaranteed everybody else will. Whether you’re a do it yourself kind of person (a good option when you’re on a budget), or you’d rather hire a professional to get the best possible job done, regrouting will give not only your tiles and appliances, but the entire bathroom a new lease of life. Another plus to regrouting, is the appeal if you’re looking to sell your home on. Whether you’re going through the traditional route of estate agents or looking or a company that can buy houses fast in the UK, a house with the smaller details such as grouting already attended to is a lot more appealing to purchase. Let’s be honest, if you’re moving into a new home you have enough to do without having to start grouting the bathroom! Get New Lighting If your bathroom is looking a bit dull and dingy, what better way to brighten it up than with new lighting? There’s little more visually appealing than a showroom bathroom, and how do you think they get that effect? By none other than bright lighting. Brass wall lights are a great alternative to vanity unit lighting. Refinish your Bath Instead of entirely replacing your bath, why not go down the cheaper and more economically friendly route of refinishing it completely. You can buy a toolkit to do this if you fancy doing a little DIY, or alternatively you could hire a professional to do it for you. It does take a little bit of skill to get the smoothest finish, so it’s worth considering this before deciding whether to DIY or hire someone else to do it. Replace the Toilet Seat Last and certainly not least, replace your old and tired toilet seat. As long as you have a screwdriver and some common sense, you’ll be able to do this one on your own. It might sound daft, but it’s one of the most used seats in the house and is bound to get worn. Would you expect royalty to sit on a worn down throne? Then you shouldn’t let your toilet seat deteriorate either.

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Top Tips on How to Reduce Energy Usage in Your Home

Using energy in the domestic household is a necessary evil. Yes, there are a lot of benefits to it, in that we thrive on more comfortable living and have the potential to use all sorts of electrical devices that we once didn’t. However, there are also downsides to having a home with high energy usage. For starters, your bills are likely to be a lot more expensive, and you’re actually contributing to the pollution and carbon emissions in the environment. It’s in everybody’s best interests that you reduce the energy usage in your home, but what are the best ways of doing this? Well, follow these top tips and you’ll be living a less expensive and eco-friendlier lifestyle in no time! Take a Look at Your Appliances Stop whatever you’re doing and have a sweep of all of the electrical items in the room that you’re currently sitting in (if you are at home!). Now you’ve done that, count up how many appliances there are, that are plugged in and switched on and you aren’t currently using. Chances are, there are quite a few, aren’t there? And if you don’t have any, then well done you! You’re already on your way to reducing your households energy consumption. This is a small change you can easily make that won’t impact your life on a day-to-day basis at all, but will massively reduce your energy usage and the cost of your monthly bills. Most the time if you feel like you’re overpaying on your bills, you absolutely are – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being overcharged! These appliances consume energy if they’re switched on, even when they’re not in use, so make a concerted effort to turn your switches and appliances off! The littlest things can sometimes make the biggest difference. Trusted professionals deliver home energy grants by installing what’s needed to make your living space more energy efficient. This includes energy-efficient home appliances and fixtures. They can provide cost-saving energy solutions for your home without hidden costs. Additionally, many energy providers offer free or subsidized energy audits to discover areas where you can save money.  Your Heating System Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is one of the most important things. Typically, people find that their energy bills are far more expensive in the winter months as opposed to the summer, due to the colder outdoor temperatures. Keeping your home warm in the winter is crucial, however, have you ever considered that if your home isn’t properly insulated, then it could be letting in more cold air than it should be? This is something that people often overlook when they’re paying for high energy bills throughout the winter, but if you tackle this issue you could seriously reduce the amount that you have to use your heating during these months. It’s actually really simple too. All you need to do is have a look at all of your windows and doors and make sure that each on is properly sealed. If not, you could either look at resealing them, or replacing them for something more sturdy. For example, if you don’t have double glazing, investing in some could save you a lot of money in the long run. Likewise, if you live in a brick house that hasn’t been worked on in a long time, consider getting in touch with a repointing brickwork specialist to do some improvements. Although some of these things do cost money, what’s better – to have a one off payment due now that’ll reduce all of your regular payments in the future, or to keep paying more and more for your energy bills? It’s a no brainer really! Water Next, think about the ways in which you use the water in your home. Did you know that on average, it takes up to one hundred and fifteen litres of water to fill a bath, in comparison to the mere fifty that a shower uses in comparison. If you bathe every day currently, why not consider switching it up and showering instead? By making this simple change, which is actually more time efficient anyway you’ll save as much as sixty-five litres of water. Likewise, are you guilty of leaving the tap running while you wash your face, brush your teeth, or even have a shave? Or do you even put the shower on for five minutes before you get into it? Be more aware of when you’re using your water, and whether it’s really necessary. Finally, if you wanted to take it a step further, you could invest in a low pressure showerhead. These reduce your water usage, energy usage, carbon emissions and will likely reduce your monthly bill too! Just by doing a little bit of research and making conscious decisions, you can make the world of difference – so what are you waiting for?

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Design Hub Creates Jobs in Cardiff

The latest design hub by Amey has opened in Cardiff, creating 60 new jobs in the area. The new hub was opened by Welsh Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates. “The opening of Amey’s new design hub in Cardiff, and the 60 jobs it will create, is part of our wider £5bn investment in the Wales and Borders Rail franchise and of our determination to transfer this investment into economic growth and job creation,” said Mr Skates. “I know that Amey plans to draw on the pool of engineering talent in the South Wales area, and I welcome the company’s commitment to creating high quality jobs in the heart of our capital city. This is the beginning of an exciting venture and I look forward to the future successes our pioneering partnership approach will bring.” This new hub comes on the back of Amey winning a new 15-year contract to operate the Wales and Borders rail service and South Wales Metro together with train operator Keolis – Transport for Wales Rail Services.  It will form the base where Amey will look to draw on the pool of engineering talent in the South Wales area and pursue new opportunities throughout Wales and its English border counties. Located on Callaghan Square, the hub will house a team of civil engineers and designers working on a range of projects from road and rail design to data analysis and asset management. The new recruits will join the existing Cardiff Valley Lines Transformation team and employees from Transport for Wales and ECI contractors, providing an environment for increased collaboration and co-working.  Amey’s new hub is the latest in a network of consultancy hubs which the business operates in the UK, including sites in Belfast, Birmingham, Crawley, Edinburgh, Manchester, Motherwell and Sheffield.

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HLM’s Design Drives Innovation and Creativity at University of Glasgows New Learning Hub

HLM Architects, a leading design and architecture company with studios in Glasgow, attended the celebrations held to mark the topping out ceremony for the James McCune Smith Learning Hub at the University of Glasgow. Attended by students, University representatives and the design and construction teams, the ceremony marked the significant milestone for the £90.6 million project, located on University Avenue. It is the first project which will be completed within the University of Glasgow’s £1 billion Campus Development programme.  HLM Architects were selected to create a stand-out design for the flagship 16640m2 development, providing over 2,500 students with state-of-the-art learning and teaching facilities.  HLM worked collaboratively with the University of Glasgow throughout all design stages to ensure that the University’s ambitious vision for the future education of its students is successfully brought to life. The thoughtful design has been inspired and driven by user-group consultation at every level, emphasising the student experience now and as it will develop in the future.  A particular focus has been the incorporation of technology and innovation, including a 500-seat lecture theatre, technology-enhanced seminar rooms of various sizes and multi-purpose advanced learning spaces; combining flexible and social areas with reflective study environments.  The location for the Hub, in the heart of the estate, overcomes the development constraints of the historic Gilmorehill campus, and is a clear statement of intent from the University to its staff and student community. The site will be pivotal in the connectivity across the expanding campus and creates a ‘gateway’ building, providing a sense of arrival for visitors to the University. The new building is named after abolitionist and medic James McCune Smith – the first African American to be awarded a medical degree, receiving an MD from the University of Glasgow in 1837. Patrick Clark, Project Lead Consultant at HLM Architects said, “It has been a privilege to lead the design process on the James McCune Smith Learning Hub at the University of Glasgow. We listened to the ambitions of the University and were truly inspired by the user-group consultations; the research we gathered on the student experience was critical to our meaningful design approach. Our aim has been to develop a environment that is open, enjoyable and accessible for all, striving towards a world-leading educational facility for a world-changing University.”  The University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said, “It’s tremendously exciting to see the progress being made on the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, and I would like to congratulate all our construction partners, on their work to this point.  Once complete, this will be a fantastic new facility, enhancing our world-class learning and teaching credentials, and helping to inspire future generations of students and staff at the University of Glasgow.”

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Meeting the Targets of New Carbon Law

June 27th 2019 was a significant day in the history as the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass a law to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. As the new legislation was signed, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The UK kick-started the Industrial Revolution, which was responsible for economic growth across the globe but also for increasing emissions. Now we’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 while remaining committed to growing the economy – putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.” Now, this really is fantastic news for the environment, supporting the need to reduce climate change by taking the right steps to make the world a better place for our future generations. But, what does it all mean in real terms? Is it a realistic target? Can we actually make a difference as individuals, or is this something that can only be addressed by Governments and large corporations? Won’t it all cost a lot of money to implement? There are so many questions, but the only one that we genuinely know the answer to right now is that if we continue as we are, climate change will continue at pace and we, as a society will continue to contribute to the ultimate destruction of our planet. It all sounds very dramatic and depressing, so let’s explore the evidence and work out what we can all do to help the UK (and hopefully the rest of the World) meet this ambitious target. Let’s take a look at a few facts and figures: Renewables are on the rise – the use of renewable energy is continuing to grow, and will account for almost 30% of total power demand globally by 2023. Source: IEA Coal consumption is declining – from 157m tonnes in 1970 to just 11.8m tonnes in 2018, and the UK’s seven remaining coal power stations set to close by 2025. Source: BEIS/National Grid ESO Offshore wind capacity is increasing – the Government is expecting offshore windfarms to provide a third of our electricity by 2030, with the World’s biggest offshore windfarm, Hornsea One, due to be completed in 2020. Covering an area five times the size of Hull, the 174 turbines will power 1m homes. Source: BEIS Our homes are improving – accounting for around 18% of the UK’s emissions, the Government’s clean growth strategy aims to improve the energy efficiency of around 1m homes, with measures such as cavity wall insulation, smart meters and LED lightbulbs. Source: BEIS We’re using more efficient appliances – helping the average household reduce gas and electricity usage between 2008 and 2017, saving £290 per year. Items such as eco kettles that only boil the amount of water required for a cuppa use 20% less energy than conventional kettles – quite a saving when the average household boils the kettle 1,500 times a year. Source: Committee on Climate Change / Energy Saving Trust Electric cars are becoming more popular – more than 2m electric vehicles were sold in 2018. This figure is expected to rise to 10m in 2025, 28m in 2030 and 56m by 2040, when they will account for 57% of global car sales. Source: BloombergNEF So, we’re definitely heading in the right direction but there’s still a long way to go. According to the Committee on Climate Change, the Government needs to support this target with strong policies to confront the key challenges we face. For example, we must make firm plans for housing and domestic heating, ensure that electric vehicles become the only available options from 2035, develop carbon capture and storage technology and create a supply chain for low carbon electricity that is 4 times it’s current size. All of this requires investment, not only in financial terms, but also as a collective effort from consumers to adjust our lifestyles. So, what can we all do to help? As previously mentioned, net zero emissions by 2050 is an ambitious target and requires a concerted effort from everyone to make it a success. Engagement and support from the general public will be essential, and changes will need to be made but the benefits will be huge – with better physical and mental health, an improved environment and, crucially, a reduced exposure to climate risks. So, here’s a quick checklist of things that you can do differently: The way you travel Choose to walk and cycle or take public transport in preference to a car. Make your next car an electric one, and then charge it ‘smartly’. Minimise flying, especially long-haul, where possible. In your home Improve the energy efficiency of your home through draught proofing, improved insulation, LED lightbulbs and choosing appliances with high efficiency ratings. Set thermostats no higher than 19° and the water temperature in heating systems no higher than 55°C. Consider switching to a low-carbon heating system such as a heat pump, which is significantly more efficient than a traditional boiler. Look at installing Solar PV on your roof for generating electricity, which can also now be stored so that it is available day and night, providing nearly 75% self-generated electricity consumption. What you eat and buy Eat a healthy diet, for example with beef, lamb and dairy only from grass based systems. Eliminate food waste as far as possible and reduce, re-use and recycle other waste too. Choose good quality products that will last, use them for longer and try to repair before you replace. Many of these changes are straight forward and simple to implement now, but others need people to make changes within their homes and make investment choices to

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Design a Perfect Sunroom: Tips and Tricks

Do you already have a porch basking in sun and begging to become a sunroom? Or you wish to have an additional room where you will greet the sun? In the latter case, you would have more leeway when it comes to the size of the room, as least as much as the free space allows you to. The first step, however, is to decide the purpose of the sunroom, since that will give you an idea about the necessary budget and the interior design. And when it comes to building it, the best option is to hire professionals. As an oasis of peace If you wish to use this room for leisure, the essential element to have in mind is the furniture. It needs to be comfortable and inviting so you could enjoy your morning coffee before work as well as reading a book on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Think in terms of reclining chairs, soft sofas and many pillows while the sun gently touches your skin. Also, colors are not a feature to be disregarded: they should be relaxing to the eye, so make sure you avoid bright colors. Even if the space intended for your sunroom isn’t too big, don’t worry since a leisure-themed room doesn’t have to be spacious, it only needs to be comfortable. As a space for fun If the sole purpose of this room is entertainment, size does play an important role, depending on the things you wish to place in it. For example, a pool table might take up a lot of space, so be mindful where you hang darts and where you put the bar. Yes, you can even install a bar and anything you, your friends and family find entertaining. If you intend to organize parties there, besides notifying neighbors, make sure that the sound insulation is adequate so you can enjoy it without worrying whether you are keeping somebody awake with loud music. As for the furniture, you might want to throw in a few bean bags for relaxing between darts rounds and high stools to go with your bar. As a setting for a home office If you wish to have a pleasant place to work, then a sunroom can be the perfect space to both calm you and inspire you since one of the perks of working from home is the atmosphere which allows you to sit in your pajamas. So, for example, you can fit in more tables of different sizes to have more nooks to work from and so that other people can keep you company. However, if you feel you cannot concentrate at some point, or you wish for more privacy, shutters could be the optimal solution for you. When installing them, you can ask experts for a recommendation for the right material so that you can still benefit from the sun while you maintain a peaceful working atmosphere. As a place for hobbies Are you an artistic soul who enjoys numerous hobbies so you finally decided to find a place to practice them? In that case, the space you need solely depends on your interests, but unless you are into carpentry, for which a workshop is a better choice, you probably don’t need a space that is too big. Regardless of the type of art you practice, natural light will allow you to see the colors and materials as they are, not to mention that the view will probably be all the inspiration you need. When it comes to the interior, you will probably need a large table so that you have a nice, clean surface for your crafting. As for the furniture, it would also be good to have a sofa to relax on while you look for inspiration. Sunlight has been known to be beneficial for a long time: it triggers the release of serotonin which people call ‘the happiness hormone’. Sunlight boosts your mood and helps you feel calm, so why not build a room entirely devoted to it? If you have space and some budget, you can start by thinking about what you would use it for. It is mostly a place for leisure, but you could also benefit from that sun-induced serenity by making the sunroom your office. But if you decide to throw a party there, a matinee combined with all the colors of the sunset will entrance your guests. Whatever the size and the purpose of the room, you are bound to spend many sunny and blissful afternoons there.

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Ways to Prepare Your Property for Natural Disasters

Mother Nature is usually wonderful, beautiful, and stunning, but every once in a while, it can be a cruel and unforgiving parent to us all. We, of course, refer to the natural disasters that can strike anytime, depending on your location and the season. Hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes, and fires are all pretty common natural disasters, especially in tropical areas. These things can cause a lot of damage to your home, so if you live in one of these tropical locations, you must always be prepared for all the disasters we mentioned above. Today, we are going to give you some tips on how to prepare your property for different natural disasters. First, make sure you have the right kind of home insurance Before we get into some practical tips on how to protect your home against natural disasters, you should know that in some cases, you simply can’t save your property from nature’s wrath. In these cases, it’s important to have the right kind of building and contents insurance. For example, if you purchase a policy that covers burglary and theft, that won’t help you in case of a natural disaster. Therefore, make sure to get a home insurance policy that will cover the damages caused by disastrous weather. If you live in Australia, which is one of those tropical areas where natural disasters are common, you should know that insurance companies like Youi cover the damage caused by this type of weather. Reinforce your roof, doors, and windows It’s safe to say that these things are natural weak spots of every house, especially during hurricanes and hailstorms. Hail and wind can do a lot of damage to your windows and shattered glass can hurt you and your loved ones. Therefore, make sure to reinforce your roof, doors, and windows by installing hurricane shutters. In most cases, these things will do the job, but if you want to be sure shattered glass won’t hurt you or your family members, you can use duct tape to make an X mark an all of your windows. Also, the curtains can also protect you from debris, so make sure they are drawn during the storm. Put your car in the garage and remove all valuables from your yard When a natural disaster strikes, a lot of people don’t think clearly. All they want to do is get inside, put on their hurricane shutters, and wait out the storm. However, most of them tend to forget their car and their valuables outside in their yard. The safety of you and your loved ones is paramount, of course, but you should also remember to put your car in the garage and remove all the things from your yard. Strong wind, hail, and other debris can cause a lot of damage to your car and your other possessions. These things cost a lot of money and there’s a chance your insurance won’t cover for them if you forget them outside during a storm. Build a safe room We are aware that this might sound like something from a disaster movie, but having a safe room in your home can protect you and your family during all kinds of natural disasters. You have to make sure that the walls and the doors in this room are strong and reinforced. Your safe room should have a few beds and some shelves stacked with canned food and water in case you have to stay there for a while. This room can serve as a utility closet or a storage room at other times when there is no danger from natural disasters. Have emergency supply kits in your home When a natural disaster strikes, it’s not just your home that’s in danger. All of your neighbors and local grocery stores will be damaged too. This means there is a chance that you won’t be able to acquire some food and supplies a few days during and after a disaster. You should always be prepared for a scenario like this. The best thing you can do is to build emergency supply kits and store them in all the rooms in your home. Items you should have in these kits are – canned food, water, first-aid kits, flashlights, a radio, and batteries. Make sure not to use supplies from these emergency kits during a safe period and you will be prepared when the time comes. Admittedly, natural disasters are not that common, but the worst thing about them is that they can strike at any time, usually when you least expect them. They can cause a lot of damage to your home and in some cases, they can even be fatal. This is why it’s always better to be prepared. Just because you’re not in danger today doesn’t mean you won’t be tomorrow. So, make sure to do all the things we talked about in this text and your family will be safe from harm.

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5 Important Considerations Before You Start Your Home Renovation Project

Going through a home renovation isn’t easy. Even if you’ve renovated a number of houses in the past, there are always some unique surprises that come up and make your job more difficult. So, what exactly can you do to make sure your upcoming renovation project is a success? Listed below are five important considerations to have in mind. What are your reasons for renovating? When renovating a home, you need to know the reasons why you’re doing it. Maybe you want a change of lifestyle and giving your home a new look to go alongside is a great way to get underway. Or maybe you just more space for you and your family. Think about what your reasons for renovating are and coming up with a master plan for your project will become much easier. Not only this, but with clearly set goals, you’ll also be more motivated to tackle the project and wait for the outcome. On the other hand, if you realize there’s nothing you want to achieve with your renovation project, maybe you don’t even have to change anything in it. How much money do you have? Obviously, you can’t start a home renovation project without money. Whether you want to extend your home or freshen up a floor, you’ll probably need a lot in order to get the job done. This is why knowing how much money you can put into your renovation is a must. Figure out your budget and you’ll know exactly what kind of changes you can make. Bear in mind that structural changes tend to be more expensive than aesthetic changes you can make to your home. Also, it’s a good idea to have some money on the side just in case of some unexpected costs during the project. Can you take a DIY approach? Most people who decide to renovate their home end up hiring experts who’ll get the job done for them. Although you can never go wrong with hiring a renowned contractor, you can also consider the idea of taking a DIY approach. Why? Well, doing it yourself means you get to save a lot of money that you can put into better materials or a more expensive upgrade. If you know your way around tools, this can turn out to be an amazing idea. Just bear in mind that you’ll probably need to rent equipment if you want to tackle everything yourself. For example, when adding an extension to the top floor of your home, you’ll need to turn to a company that offers scaffolding for hire in order to stay safe. Is your plan realistic? Dreaming is the starting point of every successful home renovation. However, if you want to get everything right, it’s important to be realistic about what you want to accomplish. Sometimes, you might come up with an idea for your home that simply doesn’t work or it exceeds your budget. To avoid setting unrealistic expectations for your project, talk to your contractor or turn to a designer if you’ve opted for a DIY approach. They’ll be able to tell you if your plan doesn’t work and how much money it’ll take to turn your ideas into reality. For example, they might convince you that you don’t need that expensive flooring that doesn’t even fit into your budget. It is important to find the right home renovation company, this way you will get the job done right and on-time. How much time will it take? Renovating your home can be a lengthy process. The worst part is it that it’ll probably take even more time than you think. This is especially the case if you start the project before or during the holiday season. Depending on the size and nature of the project, you might need to find a place to stay until all the work has been finished. If you think you can get everything done in a week or two, staying at a friend’s house or in a hotel is your safest bet. For longer projects, consider renting a home on a one- or two-month contract. If you decide to stay in your home, knowing how to live on site while renovating might be necessary. It’s important to remember that the success of your home renovation project depends on the amount of work you put in. Consider all these things before you put any money into your renovation project to avoid any surprises.

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A Guide to Safe Outdoor Lighting

Whether you want outdoor lighting for security or ambiance, taking power or electricity outdoors can be a potentially dangerous job. Outdoor lighting can provide a beautiful ambient setting in the evenings or can take on a firmer role by providing light to dark areas for safety and security purposes. Outdoor lighting is a necessity at all access points indoors from the outside, up steps or in dark parking areas. Your doorways and footpaths should always be well lit, in order to walk to and from your home or parking area safely. Using A Registered Electrician Initially, you will want to hire a qualified and registered professional to install the outdoor lighting safely and efficiently. You’ll be able to find a local electrician no matter where you’re located, just make sure they’re a trusted company. A good example to take a look at is these Electricians in Perth who are both properly accredited and knowledgeable to install outdoor lighting for you. Some people may claim to be registered or qualified electricians but in fact, they are not. Always use a reputable and experienced company or electrician when having outdoor power points or lighting installed. The last thing you would want to do is to pay someone to reinstall a system due to poor initial installation by someone who in fact was not qualified to do so. If something had to go wrong with the outdoor lighting and you wanted to claim from your insurer, you may be unsuccessful with your claim if the insurer finds that a registered electrician did not install the system. Do your homework on the electrician you decide to hire before going ahead with any installation. If you are installing outdoor lighting for security reasons, you will need a qualified and knowledgeable electrician to do a proper and secure installation for you. Security and safety outdoor lighting systems require a professional to install them correctly. You may even need a consultation from a security company to pinpoint problematic areas you would like to keep illuminated. Getting comparable quotes from registered electricians is always a good idea if you need to save costs. Check if there are call out fees or any hidden costs before you give the go-ahead to avoid being out of pocket. Never try to install outdoor lighting yourself unless you absolutely know how to. The dangers of installing electrical systems or power outlets outdoors can be a risky job if something goes wrong because you don’t know what you are doing. Rather be safe and call in a professional electrician. Timers And Bulbs Solar lights are at times easy to install and do not need a professional tradesperson to do so but they generally do not last as long as a properly installed system that connects to the mains power. When using an electrical system, insist on energy rated LED bulbs that save electricity and last longer than normal bulbs. Take note of the make and size of these bulbs in case you ever need to replace them. Electricians will always know which wattage of bulb to use for each fitting and circumstance, which is just another reason why you need to use registered electricians. If there are specific hues you prefer (warm or cool white), make sure your electrician knows this beforehand so that you do not waste money on the wrong colour bulbs. Research which tones you prefer or want to achieve in your outdoor lighting plan so that you make the decision based on what you want the outdoor lighting to achieve. Similarly, for security purposes, the size and make of bulbs will depend on the installation fixtures. It is a smart idea to add a timer to your outdoor lighting system. This will not only save on power (as the lights won’t be on all day and night) but will be set to switch on and off when you are not present or forgot to switch them on. Timers are highly recommended if you are using outdoor lighting for security and safety purposes. Maintenance Before the electrician leaves your property, ensure that you have all the information you may need to operate the system properly and safely. Ask questions if you are unclear as to be 100% confident in the using of the system. If you ever need to change bulbs, light fittings or cables and connections, ensure you have switched the power off to the outdoor lights to prevent injury. If your electrician was worth his or her weight in gold, they would have used waterproof fittings, fixtures, and cabling. Water and electricity do not mix well, and it is extremely important to check regularly that your fixtures are not cracked, broken or missing. Ensure all cabling is hidden, insulated and waterproof. Your electrician would have provided you with good quality equipment bought from a reputable supplier or manufacturer which will yield warrantees. If you find any problems or faults with your outdoor lighting system, switch the power to the system off and wait for an electrician to repair the system properly and safely.

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Freshen Up Your Home Style with Some French Country Décor

It’s always fun to bring a new essence to your home décor. It can be anything you want and you are always free and encouraged to make some changes, regardless of how small they may be. All it takes is some free time and creativity. Even money isn’t necessarily an issue as there is a lot that can be DIY-ed on a budget. However, sometimes we’re simply at a loss for the right ideas and it seems that we cannot really think of anything new to do with our interior. You can find many useful websites such as the Home Remodeling & Renovation Guide to help you. This is where we come in with French country décor. If you’ve never done it before, it’s time to start. Here are a few pieces of inspiration to steer you in this direction. Color palette This style involves a varied but tasteful color palette. The natural landscape is the inspiration for the choice of colors of this particular style. Having that in mind, we have lavender, sage green, summer yellow and soft blue as prime choices for the style. They work perfectly regardless of the number of colors combined. The secret is in the shades, they keep everything looking graceful and elegant. Of course, you can also experiment with some textures and patterns as long as they keep the original appeal. It can either be the pillows, rugs or curtains to break up the neutral look. Bring in the rustic This style is all about vintage staple pieces of furniture. For instance, you can introduce some mirrors with an unusual metal or wood frame. A vintage coffee table and a birdcage to match the style would go perfectly in the living room. The traditional French coffee table includes a sturdy wooden construction. Moreover, you can have a plush cushion on its top so it can double as a tabouret. If you want to really stand out from the crowd of your generic French country living rooms, opt for a set of amazingly practical barn doors. Not only do they look enticing but they slide in a very simple way, enabling you to move across the room easily as well as save some space. DIY it a bit If you want to bring a vintage French vibe into your home, you may not have to spend too much money. Many furniture items can be purchased at flea markets. With a good eye and a strong will and determination, you can find amazing stuff there. Don’t limit yourself to just one place. You can dedicate a whole day to your search. Just choose a partner equally enthusiastic as you and you will have a lot of fun browsing through all sorts of stuff. Once you find what you need, you can easily transform it a bit using sandpaper and some paint or decoupage. Perhaps you don’t even need to shop for new old furniture items. Try checking your own basement or attic and see if an old table or cupboard pops up. You’ll be surprised by what you find. Devil in the details Many people feel they need to do a complete makeover of their interior in order to make a change. On the contrary, if you just change the focal points of the room and a few details, you’ll achieve exactly the same results with much less effort and much less money spent. This is why you should start by determining the focal points of each room you wish to change and deciding on what to do with it. Once you do that, simply adding new covers to your cushions and changing the drapes may just do the trick. A few framed photos or mirrors can go a long way in this quest, too. All in all, where there’s a will, there’s a way. All you need is to make the decision. Everything else is easy. Trust us, it may seem tedious when you think about how long or expensive the process is going to be. However, as you can see from what has been written, you can save your money and still do great things. Think about the fun you’re going to have along the way and how happy you’ll be once everything is finished. Change is healthy and as soon as you have your new interior, you’ll be able to find inspiration for many other things, too.

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