5 MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR ANY HOME RENOVATION

Renovating your home can be an exciting process, but it can also be a costly one. As you envision a more eye-pleasing living space, your funds are going to the professionals who are making it all come to fruition.

However, there’s no rule that says you need to spend thousands of dollars on every renovation you conduct. There are a few ways you can save money without cutting corners and feel more financially savvy. Here are five tips for making sure you don’t break the bank.

  1. Don’t splurge on artificial lighting.

There are all types of lights these days, and the right amount of illumination can help you create the look and feel you want in your home. That being said, why not consider natural lighting? Not only is it cost-efficient, thanks to the sun, but it can give any space a soft, warm glow. In turn, you’ll save money on light fixtures and electricity. Think about installing skylights, for instance, instead of overhead lights throughout your living room.

  1. Be open to alternatives.

Perhaps you want oak hardwood floors throughout your bedroom, but it’s putting stress on your budget. An easy way to remedy these types of situations is to consider alternatives. In this case, you could consider modern laminate flooring that has the look of hardwood at half the price. Stay open to alternatives that fit better into your budget.

  1. Keep what you can.

Your kitchen might seem like it has a desperate need for new cabinets, but what would the existing ones look like with a fresh coat of paint? By refinishing some of your existing hardware throughout the house, you’ll be able to save money throughout the course of your renovation. Instead of spending money on new fixtures, think about investing in a fine brand of paint to give your items new life.

  1. Do some online shopping.

You can find everything from tile to faucets online, and best of all, you can get a good deal on them if you know where to look. Shopping online for items you need to replace can help you save big bucks in terms of your budget. Just keep in mind that you always run the risk of products not looking exactly the same as they did on the photos online – hang on to your receipts after every purchase.

  1. Handle some of the labor.

While it may be simpler to hire a painter and call it a day, you might want to try your hand at some of the manual labor to save money. This can’t be said for every renovation task that needs to be completed. For example, replacing dangerous electrical wires might be better left to an expert. However, small tasks such as painting and grouting tile could be within your skill level.

A home renovation can help you bring your visions of a dream house to life. To ensure that you aren’t limited by your bank account, take these tips into consideration as your project begins.


YOUR ARCHITECTURAL STYLE GUIDE TO CAPE COD RESIDENTIAL DESIGN

Cape Cod style residential homes have been a staple in the U.S. since the mid-20th century, according to Realtor magazine. Perhaps because of its uncomplicated design, this architectural style became widely popular. Its clapboard siding and gabled roofs gave it a quaint look that seamlessly fit into New England’s charming setting.

Cape Cod Style: A Brief History
Although the popularity of this residential architectural style didn’t rise until the 20th century, the term, “Cape Cod House,” had been used as early as 1800, according to Old House magazine. These types of houses – structures with a steep roof, center chimney and shingle siding – popped up across New England, as well as Long Island, New York.

Over the years, variants on the traditional Cape Cod house started to appear, such as the Colonial Revival-era Cape (circa 1930s). In turn, different framing methods, staircases and aesthetic details have been incorporated into Cape Cod architecture. However, it still remains one of the most recognizable house styles today.

What You Need to Know Before You Start
It is not uncommon to find a “keeping room” in a Cape Cod style house. This room typically has several doors, and it was used as the kitchen, living and family room. As you renovate, you may want to designate this space to serve one (rather than many) purposes.

While the central chimney may have been important to New Englanders of the past, we have heating systems today that eliminate the need to constantly use fire for warmth. In the event that you want to remove your central chimney, you will need to consult an expert.

Finally, consider some of the fixtures that have become synonymous with Cape Cod style. Shutters, for instance, may not be used frequently today, but they are a hallmark of this architectural style. Multi-pane windows (rather than single pane windows) are also typical of Cape Cod houses.

Complementing Cape Cod Style
Just because your Cape Cod home has exposed shingles doesn’t mean it can’t have a contemporary look. For example, adding white trim along the outside of your house can give your structure a fresh appearance, according to HGTV. Incorporating pops of color on items like your shutters and doors can also keep your home from feeling drab. Finally, don’t be afraid to go a little rustic inside. Incorporating a vintage feeling into your Cape Cod style home will only make it feel more authentic.


4 COMMON HOME RENOVATION MISTAKES YOU NEED TO AVOID

Once you have the funding to invest in a home renovation project, it’s hard to contain your excitement. Thoughts of a more functional, aesthetically pleasing living space can quickly build your anticipation. However, it’s this type of anxiousness that can lead to some common renovation mistakes. Here are four of them that you’ll want to avoid as you look to improve certain areas of your home.

  1. Opting for the first contractor in the phone book.

It’s never a good idea to go with the first person you find – at least without checking his or her references. There is a wide world of contractors on the market who can take on your renovation project. The real question is, “Who is the right person for the job?” Take your time as you look for an individual to handle the work. Ask for references and reviews from previous customers to get a better idea of who is worth your hard-earned money.

  1. ‘Guesstimating’ your measurements.

You will only make your project tougher by guessing your measurements, rounding up, or assuming you know the dimensions of your workspace. Allow your contractor to take accurate measurements throughout the entire project. If you’re responsible for taking measurements, dedicate your time an effort into getting them right. In the end, you’ll have the renovation you envisioned at the start.

  1. Focusing on demolition.

It’s possible to create more work for yourself than necessary when you focus on demolition – think of the repair work that will come with demolishing more floors and walls than necessary. Before you eliminate any existing structures in your home, make sure that you’ve completely planned out the renovation section of your living space. This will let you know which areas are fair game in terms of demolition as you begin.

  1. Failing to obtain permits.

While it’s true that you may own the land that you live on, the fact of the matter is that you still need to consider your town or city and its existing regulations. It’s critical to obtain the proper permits for any work you conduct on your house prior to beginning a renovation project.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you contact a home inspector to assess your structure before you start making any changes. A professional can help you verify that your house is up to code prior to the renovation.


PREGNANCY AND VEGETARIANISM: CAN YOU MAKE IT WORK?

When you decide to go vegetarian, you opt for a change in lifestyle. Not only will you remove meat from your diet, but you’ll also change the way that your body receives nutrients. In turn, this could have major implications on your pregnancy.

That being said, choosing a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t mean that you can’t safely have children. There are several ways you can maintain your dietary choice while growing your family.

The Importance of Variety
As you look to conceive, you’re going to want to make sure that both you and your child receive all of the necessary nutrients throughout your pregnancy. To do so, variety is key. For instance, you can get the protein you need through eggs (assuming you are not vegan), nuts, and soy products such as tofu. You can obtain fiber through whole-grain breads, pasta and rice. Iron can be found in leafy greens, such as broccoli and peas. Your doctor can provide you with a list of foods that contain the nutrients you need during your pregnancy.

Focusing on Iron
Iron is essential during your pregnancy, and you don’t have to go without it just because you’re a vegetarian. There are a couple of ways you can make sure it’s a substantial part of your diet.

Ensuring that you’re getting enough vitamin C can help. This vitamin boosts your body’s ability to absorb the iron from the food you eat. Cutting back on caffeinated beverages can also help. The caffeine in coffee and tea can reduce your ability to absorb iron.

Iron will not only help you maintain your immune system while you’re pregnant, but it will boost the production of hemoglobin. This is the protein in red blood cells that is needed to carry oxygen to other cells.

A Healthy Pregnancy
Being a pregnant vegetarian is not all that different from being a pregnant meat eater. There are still some guidelines that pregnant women need to abide by, regardless of their dietary choices.

For instance, daily exercise is still recommended for women who are expecting. Staying hydrated is important as well, and all women can potentially benefit from integrating a prenatal vitamin into their diet.

It’s critical to talk to your doctor about dietary restrictions before and during pregnancy. He or she can give you the information you need to maintain the health of you and your child.


5 QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK BEFORE HAVING YOUR FIRST CHILD

If you’ve never had a baby before, you’re likely full of excitement at the prospect of starting a family. However, there are several factors to take into consideration before you get pregnant. Your living space, financial means and career all come into play. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before having your first baby.

1. Can I afford a child?
You may have the finances necessary to support yourself, and you might even have enough to support your partner. However, this does not mean that you’re financially prepared to support a child. How will you handle recurring expenses such as diapers and food? Do you intend to start a savings fund for your child’s future education? These are all financial factors you need to take into account.

2. Do I have the space?
Your apartment may be perfect for you, but what about a baby? Do you have a bedroom you can dedicate to your child? What will you do if you decide to have another baby? These are all space concerns that you have to address before you choose to conceive.

3. Is my home right for a child?
Even if you have a spacious abode, it may not be ideal for a small child. You need to consider everything from neighborhood traffic to staircases before you bring a baby into your home. Child-proofing your space can only go so far, especially when it comes to factors like speeding cars.

4. Do you have time?
Depending on your career, you might have a limited amount of time in the day to dedicate to your own personal interests – what will you do once you have a baby? Can you afford childcare while you’re at work? Time can quickly become one of the biggest stressors of having a child.

5. How will you split up the responsibilities?
There are daily responsibilities that come with having a baby – think of the diaper changing, feedings, and naps. How will you and your partner split up these responsibilities? Can you agree on a strategy, or are you already butting heads when it comes to nailing down a plan?

There’s no doubt that having a child brings a slew of joyous occasions. However, beginning a family doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Answering these questions can help you anticipate some of the obstacles you’ll encounter as you look into becoming a parent.


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PIPES BURST

If you didn’t take the time to prepare your house for winter, you may end up with some problems that most homeowners dread. Freezing pipes are a common issue, and it can result in an unwanted burst if you didn’t plan ahead. However, a pipe burst isn’t the end of the world. There are solutions to this problem, which affects more people than you would think.

Has My Pipe Burst?
You can immediately tell that a pipe has burst because water will begin gushing out of a crack in an area of your home. Pipes freeze in more than 50 million homes in the U.S. each year, according to State Farm Insurance. Before you start to feel unlucky, identify the issue so you can fix it as soon as possible.

Handling a Pipe Burst
As soon as you notice that a pipe has burst, turn off your main water system. This will prevent water from flooding an area of your house. Allow the warm air of your home to flow toward the pipe that has frozen. Do not use any additional heating equipment (e.g., blow dryers) to try to thaw your pipes.

Once you are able to stop the flow of water and identify the actual break in your pipes, you can contact a professional to help you with the situation. A plumber will have the expertise to help you address the problem and give you the tips you need to keep it from happening in the future.

Although you can’t predict when a pipe is going to burst, there are preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of it happening. By doing a little winter prep, you can save some time, effort and money. In the end, you’ll be relieved that you did.


HOW TO PREVENT AND THAW FROZEN PIPES

Frozen pipes are a real threat to homeowners during the winter, and they can eventually lead to a pipe burst. In turn, indoor flooding may occur, as well as damage to the house. Ideally, homeowners should take preventative measures to ensure that this is not a problem that they have to deal with come winter. Here are key tips for reducing the risk of frozen pipes and thawing them out.

1. Drain and remove outdoor hoses.
Water lines around the outside of the house should be drained and shut off before winter begins. Afterward, valves should be shut off to prevent water from coming out and freezing. Outdoor hoses are often the cause of many pipe bursts during the winter – homeowners should pay special attention to these areas.

2. Insulate your pipes.
Homeowners who want to take extra precautionary measures might want to insulate their pipes before winter begins. Doing so can ensure that there is no frozen build-up within the pipes, which can lead to a burst.

3. Keep the house warm.
Once winter arrives, homeowners should keep the inside of their houses relatively warm. Doing so will make sure that pipes are in a better position to stay thawed throughout the season.

4. When frozen, act fast.
In the event that a pipe becomes frozen, homeowners should take action immediately. The faucet should be allowed to drip – a stream of water will help the ice melt. A hot towel wrapped around the pipe can also help the ice melt quicker and more effectively.

When a frozen pipe shows no signs of letting up, homeowners should consult a professional plumber to address the situation. Doing so sooner rather than later can prevent a pipe from bursting and water from flooding into the house.


TOP 3 COMMON WINTER HOME PLUMBING PROBLEMS

If you’ve experienced winter before, you know that it can be the roughest season of the year. As a homeowner, the season becomes even more challenging when you need to worry about keeping your structure in working order. This includes addressing your plumbing before Old Man Winter gets to it first. Here are three of the most common plumbing problems that people face.

1. Frozen pipes.
Frozen pipes are a big issue come winter. They occur when there is a rush of water in a pipe where freezing temperatures exist. You can leave your tap slightly open to allow water to flow through the pipe in hope of unfreezing it over time. If this doesn’t work, you’ll want to call a professional as soon as possible.

2. A water line break.
This often occurs if you do not install faucet jackets or leave an outdoor faucet on once cold weather arrives. This results in the backup of water flow, which ends in breakage. You will need to bring in an expert to resolve the issue in the event that you have a break in the pipes.

3. Water heater failure.
If your water happens to fail during the winter, you’ll need to contact a professional to address the issue. However, you can prevent water heater problems by examining it before Jack Frost rolls in. It’s in your best interest to have it looked at by a plumber to identify underlying issues that may result in a costly repair in the winter.

While there are a large number of problems you may run into with your pipes this winter, they can be prevented by taking a little bit of time out of your summer. Examining your plumbing system now can help you take care of problems before they spiral out of control.


BACKUP GENERATORS FOR EMERGENCIES

Whether you live in a suburb or a heavily wooded rural area, you can give yourself peace of mind by investing in a generator. A generator can ensure that you always have power, even when a storm knocks out your primary power source. Permanent and portable generators are two types you can consider – here are the pros and cons to each.

Permanent generators
Permanent generators run on existing fuel, and in many instances, the device automatically switches on as soon as the primary power source goes out. This is a convenience that can also provide safety in a household where there are small children or elderly adults. However, permanent generators tend to cost more money than portable versions.

Portable generators
Portable generators are more affordable than permanent versions, and they tend to take up less space. You can easily store a portable generator in a garage or shed and wheel it out when it’s needed. Extension cords can be attached to these types of generators to operate small appliances and items such as televisions and radios. However, they tend to offer between 2,500 and 4,000 watts of energy, meaning homeowners need to use them wisely and think about conservation.

There are several good reasons to invest in a generator – think of what would happen if certain appliances stopped working. For instance, the food in your refrigerator may spoil. Your electrical stove may stop working and prevent you from preparing meals. It isn’t just entertaining technology that can be affected by a power outage.

If you live an in area where power outages are likely or an outage could negatively impact the health of a family member, think twice before you pass on a generator. A portable or permanent generator may just prevent the unthinkable from happening in the event of a storm.


HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT LIGHTING FOR A RELAXING BEDROOM

Your bedroom is an area for rest and relaxation, but the wrong type of lighting can quickly put a damper on this living space. How can you make sure your bedroom is tastefully illuminated to suit your interior design?

Understanding the Bedroom
As you might already know from choosing colors for your bedroom, the right hue can do a lot for your mood in a living space. Depending on how light hits the walls of your room, you could feel mellow or energetic.

That being said, you want to be in a relaxed state in your bedroom. For this reason, you likely chose soft tones for your walls and furnishings. To bring out the soothing characteristics of these colors, you’ll need the right lighting fixtures.

Consider the activities that go on in your bedroom – do you need large, bright lights for simple hobbies such as reading in bed? While your kitchen may need several overhead lights for cook prep, the bedroom is an area where you’ll be laying low. In turn, ambiance should be more of a priority in this space.

Examining Your Options
Just because you don’t need large, bright lights in your bedroom doesn’t mean you’ll struggle to select small, suitable fixtures for this space. The bedroom is an area where you simply need to think differently about illumination.

Light layering is an option that many people turn to in this living space. This involves using more than one type of lighting to create ambiance. For instance, you can have a table lamp on your nightstand, in addition to recessed lighting. You may want a standing lamp in one corner of the room and a small chandelier hanging above.

It’s important to understand that in the bedroom, your lighting fixtures can serve more than one purpose. Don’t rule out using smaller lights to highlight decorative items in the space, such as photo frames or wall art. These days, lighting is about more than making sure you can see what you’re doing.

Avoiding Common Lighting Mistakes
The bedroom is a common area for lighting mistakes, but learning the pitfalls ahead of time can help you avoid them.

First, don’t make your overhead lighting too bright. This can eliminate any sense of ambiance in the bedroom, and it may also take away from the beauty of your interior décor. Next, avoid going crazy with recessed lighting. This type of lighting can be harsh on soft living spaces that are meant to have a relaxing atmosphere.

Finally, don’t forget about the bulbs you’re using in the fixtures you choose. For instance, smaller wattage bulbs may be better for the bedroom where you want low lighting.

Whether you’re redesigning your bedroom or a space for another member of your household, these tips can help you choose lighting fixtures that breathe relaxation into the area.


4 WAYS TO STAY STRESS-FREE WHILE YOU’RE EXPECTING

It’s no secret that having a baby comes with its fair share of stress. Everything from nursery decorating to shower planning can quickly cause your anxiety to rise. However, stress can be detrimental to both you and your unborn child. Your immune system may weaken as a result of stress, increasing your chances of developing an infection in the uterus.

Although the complete impact of stress on the body during pregnancy is unknown, it’s best to try to stay relaxed as you carry your baby. Doing so may put you in a better position to handle those backaches and hormone changes. Here are four ways to de-stress when you feel your anxiety rising during pregnancy.

1. Learn when to ask for help.
Not everyone is comfortable with asking for help, but you may need to gain the confidence to do so once you’re pregnant. You will likely become fatigued faster when you’re expecting, inhibiting your ability to complete daily tasks, regardless of how simple they may be. Asking for a little help can greatly reduce stress.

2. Maintain open lines of communication.
Whether you’re feeling tired, irritated, or hungry, it’s important to let your feelings be known to prevent stress from building up. This means being open and honest with your loved ones during your pregnancy, especially the people you live with and see on a daily basis.

3. Develop coping techniques.
What helps you eliminate stress when you aren’t expecting a child? Think of what you typically do to unwind – read a book, take a bath, listen to music. It’s these types of activity that can bring you the most comfort when you’re pregnant and feeling stressed.

4. Don’t feel bad about saying “no.”
If you’re the type of person who says “yes” to friends, family and neighbors whenever they need a helping hand, you’ll want to change your response once you become pregnant. While you’re expecting, it’s you who will need the assistance. That being said, you shouldn’t feel bad about having to decline an opportunity to provide a helping hand to friend.

Whether you’re on your third child or this is your first pregnancy, stress is inevitable when you’re expecting. If you are having trouble managing your anxiety, consider speaking to your primary care physician for insight into handling your stress in its entirety.


5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE DURING HOME RENOVATIONS

You might be excited to finally renovate your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, but regardless of what is being updated, safety needs to be a top priority. This is especially true if you have children in your home. Here are five ways to make sure your kids stay safe while construction is under way in your humble abode.

1. Lay down the rules early.
Prior to the construction process, it’s critical to lay down the ground rules for the house with children who are old enough to understand this type of guidance. These rules may range from “No running around the house” to “No entering the construction area.” Naturally, kids are exploratory, meaning parents need to be prepared to enforce these rules throughout the renovation.

2. Create an alternative living space.
For example, if it’s your kitchen that is being renovated, you’ll want to make sure you have an alternative refrigerator or pantry that the children can turn to during the construction. Giving kids an area where they can find frequently used resources will keep them out of the renovation site.

3. Think about the environment.
This is especially necessary if you live in an older home that may have materials, such as lead and asbestos. A licensed contractor will know whether to proceed with caution during the renovation process. Furthermore, he or she will give you the information you need to keep these potentially airborne particulates from causing health problems for your children (and you). You may decide that it’s best to seal off the area of your home that is under construction.

4. Consider the new materials.
As you renovate your living space, you should consider the modern options available to you in terms of everything from paint to flooring. For instance, low-VOC paint is ideal for those who have health concerns. Sustainable flooring, such as laminate wood, is perfect for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint. A renovation gives homeowners the opportunity to incorporate their values with new materials.

5. Maintain strong communication.
Throughout the renovation process, parents should make it a point to maintain strong communication between themselves, the contractors and the children. From the beginning, the workers should know how many kids live in the house, as well as their ages. In addition to giving children rules, parents might want to consider creating a designated play area in the home, away from the construction site. This should also be the area where toys are stored, giving children easy access to their belongings.

It may be exciting to renovate a living space that is in dire need of an update. However, there are precautionary measures that need to be taken into account when children are in the mix. That being said, these five tips can ensure that everyone in the family is safe throughout the construction process.


KEEPING IT TOGETHER: 6 STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR KIDS’ ROOMS

Whether you have one or many, children come with their fair share of belongings, and storing it all can be a challenge. As the furniture, clothing and toys mount up, you’ll need to get creative about how you organize all of these items. Here are six storage solutions you can take into account as you redecorate your kids’ space.

1. Canvas bins.
These bins are perfect for items that may not necessarily need organizing, such as stuffed animals or matchbox cars. You can toss them into the bin and place it out of sight – under the bed or on a top shelf of a closet. Best of all, canvas bins are lightweight, meaning they’re easy to maneuver as needed.

2. Built-ins.
If you’re remodeling your child’s bedroom, you may want to consider consulting a carpenter to install built-in shelves and cabinets. This can save space – instead of bringing in a dresser or cabinet, the storage will be built right into the side of the room. It also has a more natural look and feel than a new piece of furniture.

3. Shelves.
When you’re seeking a quick way to solve your storage woes, look up. Your walls may have enough room for you to install shelves, which are an ideal tactic for storing a wide range of items. Whether you want to house a collection of dolls or school-made art projects, shelves are the perfect solution. Just remember to keep sturdiness in mind during the construction process – you don’t want these items (or the shelf itself) falling apart and posing a safety hazard.

4. Decorative baskets.
If you aren’t feeling the old canvas bin, get creative with your storage solutions. There are several types of decorative baskets out there that can be used in your kids’ rooms – mesh or woven baskets in a variety of colors can add character to any space. By widening your boundaries, you’ll start to see the potential of more items for storage purposes.

5. Toy box.
The old toy box is a must for any child’s room in desperate need of storage. A large chest cannot only hold items like stuffed animals, but old clothes and seasonal items, like raincoats. Best of all, they give the space a vintage feel while serving a practical purpose.

6. Cubbies.
Another throwback solution that still works today is the standard cubby. Your kids might already have cubbies at school, so why not introduce this storage solution at home? Cubbies give you easy access to frequently used items while keeping them off of the floor when they aren’t in use. They can also be one of the more eye-pleasing storage solutions when you have toys or crafts you want to display.

Keeping your kids’ rooms tidy can be a chore, but the end result can be something you’re pleased to look at if you use the right storage items. These six ideas will give you a launching point during your redecoration process.

As seen in My Kukun, Fertility Council, and more.