7 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Refresh Your Home

7 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Refresh Your Home

While the idea of a renovation always sounds good in theory, when you begin thinking of the price tag, it can quickly become discouraging. Here are some budget friendly ways to make it happen!

Photos By: Architectural Digest

If you feel that your home is not nearly as comfortable as it used to be, you may want to consider trying out several less expensive and less permanent options to liven things up before jumping to the idea of completely renovating a room or even your entire house. Doing this has the potential to save you a fair amount of money and time, especially if you end up finding a change that breathes some fresh life into your home without the need for a complete overhaul.

Change the Lighting up

Rather than contacting builders, plumbers, electricians, and architects, you might want to consider getting in touch with just the electricians to help you out with the lighting. Changing out the lighting in your home can do a lot to make the place feel brand new again. From replacing the bulbs in your light fixtures to purchasing different fixtures for your home, you will have a lot of options to choose from and only one professional to rely on rather than five. This will not only be a lot easier to handle at once, but it will also be much more budget-friendly.

Add an Outdoor Room

It won’t be the same as renovating the whole house, but getting a team of house builders to build an outdoor room can bring about the same energy of having something brand new added to the home. Outdoor rooms are wonderful if you have the space for them, as they can allow you to take in the fresh air outside while still retaining the same homely feeling of being at your own house. But, best of all, all the builders will need to do is install a simple pergola to keep the rain out and then it will all be done. From there, you can spend time picking out furniture, décor, rugs, lighting, and anything else you want in your new room to make it feel perfect for your home. It may not be a full renovation, but it can feel like one.

Consider Painting the Walls (or Installing Wallpaper)

This is a task that you won’t need any help from home builders for. A fresh coat of paint or some new wallpaper can easily make the rooms of your home feel new again, especially if you choose a vastly different colour than the previous one. Additionally, these tasks can become fun family projects to be completed over a slow weekend. Combined with changing up the lighting of your home, you can make your home feel as if it is a completely different building without blowing thousands of dollars on renovations.

Add New Door Handles

This minor detail might not seem like much at first, but in a room full of door handles, drawer pulls, and cabinet knobs, changing all of these can be just enough to create that excitement of having a big change in your home. More often than not, the best room to do this to is going to be your kitchen. This job is quick, inexpensive, and easy to complete. Pairing it up with a lighting change and a paint change can also help to create a bigger impact without spending money on a full renovation of your home.

Rearrange Furniture

While this tip takes much longer to complete than others, the results will be well worth it in the end. When you take the time to rearrange all of the furniture in your home, creating places with a lot of open space in the centre, then you can feel as if you are entering a room that is completely brand new. After all, you will be getting used to a layout that wasn’t there before. This can also be a great way to get some mild exercise in for the day as well, making it a beneficial project to take on over a weekend.

Work on the Windows

Windows are a big part of a house’s appearance. Because of this, it can be a noticeably large change to make some changes to your windows. Whether you choose to update the window treatments themselves or you want to add a new set of blinds and curtains, or you want to do a bit of both, you can rest assured that creating a new look for a room you are regularly in can give you a similar rush as renovating the house does for a complete fraction of the price.

Thoroughly Clean the House

Last, but not least, you can consider giving the house a thorough cleaning. This can be combined with rearranging furniture for a much better effect. Cleaning out the house, moving things around, and so on can create the sense that changes are being made to the home. Not only will your home look cleaner in the end, but you might even find things that you had thought had been lost.

There are plenty of different ways that you can breathe fresh life into your home without dropping thousands of dollars and weeks of your time on a massive home renovation. Instead, you can live comfortably in your home without putting your budget in pain using these budget-friendly suggestions.

What’s the New Normal Look Like for Real Estate Post-Coronavirus?

What’s the New Normal Look Like for Real Estate Post-Coronavirus?

There’s no doubt that the post-coronavirus world is going to be a lot different, but what does that mean for real estate? Are we ready for the ‘new normal?’


Photo By: Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc.

In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has altered the lives of Americans, our businesses, economy, and morale. As we go forward, it’s going to be challenging trying to get back to some semblance of normal. But, what does that look like? What will the ‘new normal’ look for the real estate market and how agents conduct business? Let’s take a look at some of the ways we could see how real estate might change in a post-coronavirus world.

Unemployment is putting the real estate market in distress

There are plenty of reasons why people move to big cities, be it for an opportunity, employment, or a fast-paced lifestyle. However in light of the pandemic, these large cities, with their dense population, are experiencing higher unemployment rates as local businesses shut down. Las Vegas’ unemployment increased by 2.6% between March 2019 (4.2%) and March 2020 (6.8%), for example. Since people are losing their jobs without real relief from the federal government, real estate sales are down, homes are being foreclosed on, and rents aren’t being paid. As a result of this, people are likely to jump ship and relocate to recession-resistant cities like Bay City, Michigan, Pueblo, Colorado, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Photo By: Justin Doyle Homes

Agents may use virtual tours and open houses more often

Typically when we think about real estate online, we think of property listing sites like Zillow or Trulia. When we see a house we like, we ask our real estate agent to make an appointment so we can have a walk-through. However, social distancing and stay-at-home orders have made that nearly impossible. That’s why many realtors are using 3D virtual tours and host live walk-throughs via FaceTime or Zoom. By doing virtual tours, person-to-person contact is reduced significantly. Buyers can look around the property without actually being there. Sellers don’t have to worry about potential buyers coming into their space and possibly spreading the virus.

Photo By: Vero Beach Magazine

Interest rates for mortgages may continue to drop

At the moment, Freddie Mac reports the average mortgage interest rate is 3.28% but that doesn’t mean they could go even lower! Unfortunately, while this would be a great time to take advantage of the incredibly low rates, many mortgage companies have changed their requirements for approval. For example, JPMorgan Chase has increased the minimum requirements, which means borrowers will need to have a 700 and above FICO credit score and 20% down payment. When you combine this with the fact that people have lost their jobs, there’s little economic relief, and bills will get further behind… People’s credit is going to suffer, therefore making it a lot harder to be approved for any type of mortgage.

Home certifications, inspections, and appraisals are modified

To continue along the home sale process, homeowners will need to get a variety of certifications, inspections, and so forth. Although the country is slowly starting to open back up, some municipalities are still keeping their doors closed. This means that some of these things are being held up. Some places can have these certificates waivered, but that could come back to bite you in the rear. The coronavirus is taking everything we thought was normal and is changing it in some pretty big ways. Many businesses, especially real estate, rely on front-facing interactions — the person-to-person engagement to get the deal completed. And, while we want to hope that our lives will get back to the normal we’re used to, we don’t truly know what’s in store for us. All we know is that technology is going to be playing a big role, for better or worse.

Why Vinyl Flooring is a Great Choice For Your Kid’s Bedrooms

Why Vinyl Flooring is a Great Choice For Your Kid’s Bedrooms

Designing your child’s bedroom can be a really fun part of renovating a home and can also help your children express themselves creatively. As with all the other rooms in the house, getting the flooring right is a vital part of the design!

Photo By: Lauren Rubin Architecture

Vinyl flooring has some significant benefits which make it an excellent choice for any kid’s bedroom. In this article we’re going to explore some of the benefits of vinyl, specifically for use in a kid’s bedroom, and why it’s not just for use in the kitchen and bathroom!

Range of colours

Kid’s love colour and having a floor which can be bright and colourful is really appealing. Vinyl tiles come in a huge variety of colours and can be installed in a large number of different patterns. While your kids might not think the flooring is as exciting as painting the walls a bright colour, there is definitely scope for them to express themselves with vinyl flooring. The tiles can be used to create interesting patterns or simple designs depending on what they like.

Photo By: Kate Taylor Interiors

Soft underfoot but durable

Having a floor which is soft underfoot is really important for any kid’s room. Playing with their toys on the floor is a big part of any child’s development and having a floor which is soft enough for them to do this on is vital. Vinyl flooring is made using several different layers, and this allows it to have a soft upper layer while remaining durable. This is also important as any flooring in a house with young children needs to be durable and able to withstand drops and children playing with toys directly on the floor.

Underfloor heating

Making sure children’s bedrooms are warm and family friendly is so important for obvious reasons. One of the ways this can be achieved is with underfloor heating. To get the most out of underfloor heating, you need a flooring material which will not inhibit the heat getting into the room. Just as in bathrooms and kitchens, where underfloor heating is also popular, vinyl allows the heat into the room and creates a lovely warm space. It also means your children can play with their toys on the floor without getting cold in the way they might with other materials.

Photo By: Harriet Forde Design Ltd

Easy to clean

Accidents are going to happen with children, whether it’s dropping a cup of juice or a plate of food. Having a floor which is quick and easy to clean is really beneficial for any parent. Particularly when children are young, and they’re learning to crawl and walk, you want to be sure the floors are as clean as possible, so they aren’t at risk of getting germs in their mouth from their hands. This includes the floor in their bedroom. Unlike materials such as carpet, vinyl is very straightforward to clean and requires no special machinery.

Not only will vinyl be a practical and long-lasting option for your child’s bedroom floor, but it looks great, and you can get really creative with designs. It may be more commonly associated with kitchens and bathrooms, but luxury vinyl flooring is an excellent option for bedrooms and around your home in general.

Making Traditional Furniture Fit in a Modern Home

Making Traditional Furniture Fit in a Modern Home

Moving into a new home presents many challenges. Just the move on its own is one of the most stressful things people go through in their life, and that’s without all the complications which come with it!

Photo By: Noz Design

One thing it’s important to think about when moving into a new home is how your existing furniture is going to work in this new environment. Not only getting used to a new layout but understanding that your furniture will look different in a new space is important. As more modern houses are built the number of traditional homes available reduces and this may be a concern for you if you have a lot of traditional furniture. There are, however, several ways you can incorporate traditional furniture into a modern home. By doing this, not only can you create a style that you love, but it can save you money replacing furniture for no reason.

Think About Your Colours

One of the most important areas to consider when trying to incorporate any furniture into a room is the colour balance. When mixing modern and traditional styles, this becomes even more important. If you have a traditional sofa, it may have a patterned finish which could clash with other bright colours in your room. Similarly, something like a Chesterfield sofa which is a real statement piece of furniture can dominate a room. Keeping a minimalist colour style for the rest of the room will help avoid any clashes of colour.

Trying to match the colour of your traditional furniture to the modern pieces you may have can also help the furniture fit together. If you have a traditional chair that you love, finding a sofa in a similar colour is an excellent way of stopping the chair sticking out and feeling out of place. This can also work with the accessories you choose for the room.

Photo By: Life Well Lived

Use them as accent pieces

The nice thing about traditional furniture is that when used as accent furniture dotted around the room, it often goes unnoticed as something out of place. Traditional side tables or chests of draws work brilliantly as accent pieces and can really help give modern homes some character without dominating the room or standing out too much. It can also be a nice surprise when looking around a room, and suddenly your eye catches a glimpse of the side table in the corner. This also helps to keep your home from looking too perfect and unlived-in.

Let them have their own space

While incorporating traditional furniture into busy rooms can be tricky, setting aside their own space is often the better way to go. This can be easier said than done, depending on the amount of space your home has available. One of the best examples of giving traditional furniture room to itself if often found in dining rooms. In a modern home, you can place simple art elements on the walls and then allow a traditional dining table and chair to fill the rest of the room. Traditional tables are always fashionable and sought after so if you own one you and can dedicate a room to that table, it can look fantastic.

Photo By: Katy Bell Hamnes

Overall, adding traditional furniture to a modern home can be a great way of expressing your personal style and matching furniture that you love. While some people may tell you that you should keep modern and traditional furniture apart, this is your home, and you make the rules. It is possible to integrate modern and traditional, and often the results look fantastic.

Introduction to Lawn Mower Spark Plugs

Introduction to Lawn Mower Spark Plugs

If you own a lawn mower, you likely know that you have spark plugs in the engine. These spark plugs need to be changed occasionally as routine maintenance!

However, if you find yourself asking what a spark plug actually is, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. A lot of people know very little about their vehicles. The good news is that, since you are reading this, you are seeking to learn more.

What Is a Spark Plug? What Does It Do?

As you may know, your engine moves the wheels by igniting fuel in cylinders. The pistons in these cylinders are moved by the burning fuel and turn a crankshaft. This rotational movement is transferred to your wheels to move the vehicle. To ignite the fuel, your engine needs a spark. Every time a piston goes through its cycle, the spark plug sets off a small electrical spark to light the fuel/air mixture and continue the process. Although small and humble, spark plugs are really important. Without them, your engine wouldn’t start, and you wouldn’t get anywhere.

Types of Spark Plugs

There are several types of spark plugs. These are primarily differentiated by the type of metal used in the electrode. There are copper/nickel, platinum, double platinum, iridium and double iridium spark plugs. When you want to buy new spark plugs for your lawn mower, you need to be careful to get the right type. The simplest way to check this is by looking in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Your manufacturer included details on the spark plugs you need in there. Another option is to use a VIN lookup free tool at your favorite auto parts store. This will help you find the right spark plugs for your make and model.

Changing Spark Plugs

Although it may seem intimidating, changing spark plugs is a relatively easy process. You’ll be back to mowing your lawn in no-time! It is a great starting point for anyone who is interested in working on vehicles. All you need to do is disconnect the wire, remove the spark plug, gap your new spark plug, then install and connect the new one. The most complicated part of this process is gapping. Fortunately, this is also easy if you take the time to learn what you are doing. Gapping is changing the distance (or gap) between the two electrodes to match the voltage and amperage of the engine. You may wonder what happens when plugs aren’t gapped properly? It could damage your engine and cause misfires. With a feeler tool and a little patience, all you need to do is slowly adjust the electrode to be the same distance apart as those on your old spark plug. Again, with a little patience, this is hard to mess up. The feeler gauge does most of your work for you.

Get Started

Now that you know a little bit about spark plugs, you are ready to change them in your vehicle. This is a quick and easy process. Just head to your favorite auto parts store to find the right plugs and pick up some tools. You could be a DIY mechanic in no time.