Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Tips for Green Living in the Home

Do you care about the environment and your health, but want to be stylish with your home décor at the same time? Luckily, there are plenty of green living options that can be implemented in your home in order to create a great look while remaining eco-friendly.

Making Sustainable Choices

Making sustainable choices are an important component of green living. Making sustainable choices means purchasing products that don’t cause a negative impact on the environment and that will not make it more difficult for future generations to continue to sustain themselves. Making sustainable choices during the design process is referred to as 'green design' or 'sustainable design'. Some great sustainable choices to consider when decorating include:

Natural stone counter tops
Cabinets and other products made from woods such as bamboo, eucalyptus, or recycled wood
Carpet made from natural fibers, such as wool and cotton, or made from recycled materials
Green-friendly paint and home wallpaper, which is being offered by a growing number of manufacturers
Antiques – after all, they are being recycled!

You don’t have to create a bland and boring home décor in order to enjoy green living. In fact, there are numerous options out there that will allow you to make your home look great while still protecting the planet.

Appliances for Green Living

When it comes to green living, a great place to start is in your kitchen. Remodeling can add a great deal of value to your home, can make it more functional and attractive, and can help you make your home more eco-friendly.

When buying for your kitchen, look for modern appliances to help bring your home up-to-date. By purchasing those appliances with the Energy Star rating, you can potentially cut the amount of energy you use to power those appliances in half. Adding faucet aerators to your kitchen and bathroom faucets will also help reduce the amount of water you use while still providing you with a high pressure stream of water.

Obtaining Green Products

Fortunately, green living is rapidly growing in popularity. In response, many manufacturers are offering lines of eco friendly products that can be used for decorating purposes. In addition, a growing number of online and offline stores that are dedicated solely to green living are becoming a more common occurrence.

One great resource for green living products is This site carries only eco-friendly products, including furniture, bedding, and home furnishings. Home furnishings offered at include candles, picture frames, tableware, home accessories, clocks, lamps, rugs and carpet. Another great online resource for green living products is Here, you can find wall coverings, furniture, flooring, and more. Go to for fabulous green gifts for the home and garden.

Although it may take a little more time and effort to find and purchase eco products for your home, the effort will be worth it. Not only will you be doing your part to help conserve and protect the environment, green living is better for your health and can save you money in the long run.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Ceramic Floor Tile Installation And Maintenance Tips

Ceramic Floor Tile Installation And Maintenance Tips

Ceramic floor tile is a great choice for many types of rooms. It comes in a large variety of styles and sizes and is durable and easy to clean.

When choosing tile for your room, be sure to pick a size that goes well with the dimensions of the room. A large room will look too busy with small sized tiles. Large sized tiles will overwhelm a small room. Tiles come in sizes ranging from 1" to 2 feet so you should be able to find a size that looks nice in your space.

Also, you should consider your decor before choosing your tile. If you have a formal looking space then a polished marble tile might look great. If you have decor with a southwestern, Mexican or Italian flair then a rustic natural looking tile is best. A smooth, polished type of tile will be slippery when it gets wet so you might not want to install that in a entry room or bathroom. Also, tile gets very cold so if you are installing it in a basement, you better invest in a warm pair of slippers.

Don't forget to select a grout that compliments your tile. A dark coloured grout is best as a white grout will tend to get dirty looking very quickly.

Tile Installation

Installing ceramic tile is not too difficult, but if you've never done it before and aren't very handy to begin with you might be better off with a professional. There's nothing worse than spending a bundle on tile only to have it look crappy because you didn't install it right!

If you do want to try it yourself, take your time. Measure your floor precisely and map off the exact middle, then lay your tile out in advance to see what it might look like. You can buy little plastic tile spacers that you put between each one so that you can be sure they are spaced evenly. Since no room is a perfect square, you will eventually have to cut some tiles to fit around appliances or jogs in the shape of the room. Make sure you have the right equipment for this and the job will go much smoother.

Once you have the tile in place, put in the grout as per the manufacturers instructions and seal accordingly. It helps to buy a good quality grout and sealer and will be well worth the added expense in the long run.

Tile Maintenance

Ceramic tile is one the easiest types of floors to clean and when properly cared for will maintain their shiny, new appearance for years to come. To clean your tile you don't need anything fancy - just water and a floor cleaning product. Vacuum the floor first then use a sponge or mop to apply the cleaner and water mixture. Rinse off with water and let dry.

Other than that your ceramic tile does not need much care. You will have to be careful about dropping heavy objects on it particularly in the kitchen where heavy pots can slip and fall. If your tile does become cracked or chipped it will be very difficult to replace it without having to dig up the rest of the floor so tread carefully on your new ceramic tile floor.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Renovating That Moldy Old Bathroom

Renovating That Moldy Old Bathroom

However much you may have thought through the options while making that dream home of yours, it seems that there are always improvements that can be made at home. Taking a decision to renovate your apartment is not an easy one since these projects can cause havoc with your daily routine. One such project that can really disrupt your entire household is bathroom remodeling. This is especially so because once the project begins this room will need to be off limits for several days. 

Although the bathroom is often the smallest room in your house, it is one of the most important rooms. Many aspects make bathroom renovating a serious project. You can save money as well as avoid undue hassles if a bathroom makeover is handled methodically.

The first thing required to be settled is to prepare a schedule for bathroom use to accommodate family members and plan for guests if any are coming over during the renovation.

To avoid overshooting your budget it is recommended that you finalize the fixtures that you would like to put back again and the ones that you need to replace before actually beginning the process of remodeling. Once you list the fixtures you will realize why bath remodeling often takes more time than anticipated and disrupts budgets. The main fixtures involved in bathroom remodeling include the tub, shower, toilet, sink, cabinets, lighting and flooring. 

Storage is another aspect that needs to be kept in mind as certain decorative fixtures, like a pedestal sink, leave no room for storage under them. For a well functioning bathroom it is essential that there be storage space for storing towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

While going in for expensive fixtures like whirlpool tubs it will be better if you talk to friends, neighbours and relatives who might have installed these, as they take up a lot of space and are expensive to repair.

Lighting and flooring are two aspects of the bathroom that are often over looked. If you have natural light it will be better to go for lighting that will complement it and still retain privacy. In the absence of natural light, try to create one using the kind of lighting that you prefer. You could chose to have a bold, strong lighting environment or a relaxing, dim environment for your aroma bath.

Easy cleaning should be the foremost consideration when completing the bathroom renovation project. Although they cost more than other surfaces, natural stone or ceramic tiles are the easiest to clean and last a life time. Bathrooms are messy and in turn can mess up the house. Being able to quickly clean up surfaces is a great time saver and can also ensure that you avoid slipping on wet surfaces later.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Air Quality Tips for the Home, Breathe Safe and Easy

Dangers of Poor Quality Indoor Air

Indoor air quality is important for many reasons. We spend a good amount of time, including the time that we are asleep, in our homes. Poor air quality can aggravate asthma and other lung conditions, particularly in the very young and the elderly. In a worse case scenario, poor air quality that is the result of a home with little ventilation heated with a combustible heat source can lead to death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

In addition to the health concerns that can occur because of poor air quality, it can also affect the structure of the home. A home with poor ventilation that also has a moisture problem is likely to develop mildew, which, in addition to causing respiratory problems, weakens the structure of the home. Damage due to mildew can be just as extensive as water damage.

Poor air quality is a serious concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is the fourth largest environmental health threat to our country. Americans are spending more time inside, and, encased in our energy efficient homes, we are not getting the fresh air that we did even a decade ago.

Eliminate Sources of Pollution

Common sources of pollution in the home are heaters that use a combustible fuel source, such as gas or kerosene, and asbestos containing building materials. You can improve the quality of the air in your home by reducing the influence of these preexisting hazards. You can enclose or cover asbestos containing materials, and adjust your heaters to reduce emissions. If your home is an older home, you may have areas of damaged asbestos that should be replaced, or a natural gas furnace that is inefficient. The benefit of an older home is that they have better ventilation than new homes, but the materials they contain are sometimes harmful.

Consider the products that you use in your home. Aerosols, such as hair spray, are not good for the quality of the air in your home, and there are few products that cannot be purchased in a pump action bottle. Choose your cleaning solutions carefully, and use them wisely. Many commonly used household cleaners are very caustic and can result in irritating fumes. Always use the least amount of a cleaning solution possible. You can use less of a product if you work on the soiled area while it is still fresh and let the cleaning solution set for a few minutes before you start cleaning. Also, it never hurts to try water first.

Improve Ventilation

Ventilation is important in a home. Modern homes with central heating and cooling systems are notoriously efficient. While this is good for your utility bills, it is not the healthiest condition to live in. If you have a newer, more energy efficient home, there will be even less ventilation. The lack of fresh air in the home is a contributing factor in poor air quality.

Mold and mildew also contribute to poor air quality, and they too can be controlled by increased ventilation. The increased ventilation helps to keep the area dry and reduce the ability for mold and mildew to grow.

To improve the ventilation in the home, let some air in. Clearly you are limited by the time of year and the weather conditions, but any increase in ventilation improves the air quality. Open windows when possible, run attic fans and bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. Increased ventilation is particularly important when you are participating in activities that decrease the air quality, such as sanding, heating with a natural fuel source, such as a kerosene heater, and painting.

Keep it Clean

The most important thing that you can do to increase the air quality in your home is to keep it clean. IF you have a pet, decrease the dander carried around by washing and grooming it often. If you have old carpets, consider pulling them up and replacing them with hard flooring that can easily be wiped clean. If you have plants in your home, check the soil. Over watering can lead to mold growing on the soil. You should wash or replace your shower curtains often to prevent them from growing mildew.