Top 4 Tips For First Time Buyers

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When you’re a first-time buyer, you might want to dive straight into the deep end and buy the first property you find. And although this might be tempting, there are certain things that you need to get in order before making the big move. 

 

Yes, it’s an exciting milestone – no matter what your age. But it’s vital that you are fully prepared for the decision in advance of moving day. To help ease this transition, here are the top four tips that you should follow:

Location, Location, Location 

 

This might seem like an obvious point to make, but it’s nonetheless important to mention. At the start of the journey, you need to consider where you want to live – do you want to live in your hometown? Or perhaps a new location that you’ve loved to visit? This will be dependent on your budget, where you work and your bespoke preferences. Key factors that many people take into consideration, is how far the property will be from family and friends, as well as how close it will be to amenities. 

 

If you’re moving in with a friend or a partner, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re on the same page and are both happy with the location in question.

Consider the Market 

 

Unfortunately, the market is ever-changing. And because of this, it’s perhaps harder now more than ever to find a home that is suitable for your budget and personal preferences. 

 

So when you’re starting to gather the funds for your first property, it’s important that you keep an eye on the real estate market, including the trends within the area you are wanting to purchase etc. It’s also invaluable to gage the advice of a realtor, who will help to indicate what you can realistically get and the areas/types of properties that you should avoid.

Decide on A Realistic Budget

 

You don’t want to have to contact a bankruptcy lawyer as you have overstretched yourself on purchasing or renting a home (or even because you’ve gone over the top with buying furniture which was way more than you could afford). So before you make the investment, you need to sit down and consider how much you can realistically spend. Houses are expensive – no matter where you’re located or the type of property you are looking for. 

 

It’s essential that you work out how you will acquire your deposit and how you will pay your mortgage each month. If you’re thinking about buying rather than renting, you’ll need a good amount of money that you can put towards the property at the start of the process. Whether this is acquired through an FHA loan or through the bank of mom and dad, it’s a key factor into purchasing your first home. 

When setting a budget, you might also want to consider the following:

 

  • Potential costs of any renovations you want to make. 
  • How much home insurance will cost.
  • Other costs associated with moving – e.g hiring a moving van. 

What Mortgage You Can Get

Mortgages might seem terrifying, but they don’t have to be. Although they signify that you’re now an adult that can no longer rely on living for free at your family home, they indicate the start of a new phase in your life. When you’ve found your dream home, the reality that comes with getting a mortgage is something that you’ll have to face. 

 

But how do you know which type of mortgage is suitable? It’s a good idea to compare and contrast various mortgages, paying attention to the following:

 

  • What type of rate do they offer you? Do they offer a variable or fixed rate?
  • How much they cost each month.
  • The repayment terms – e.g 25 or 35 years.

If it has other fees – e.g valuation fees, advisory fees and arrangement fees.

How to Sell Your Home Fast

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There are lots of reasons to want to sell your home fast. Maybe you need to move for work or perhaps you found the home of your dreams, put in an offer and now need the money to complete the sale. 

 

Selling your home fast can be simple if you know the right tricks and keep an open mind. If you are living in a fast market, you might even be able to find a buyer within a few days! But there are always a few house selling tips that will come in handy. 

Know Who to Sell To

The first thing to keep in mind is who you are selling to. If you are selling to the general market, you will have to be more patient than if you are selling to a company like Gem Homes, which can offer you the close day of your choice. Equally, if you are selling on a more select market, you may have to wait a bit longer. 

 

You can help yourself by making sure that your home is appealing to the right target audience. So, if you are looking for a family to buy your home, make sure the bedrooms are all made up and child-friendly. Similarly, if you want to sell to a young couple, you might want to show off your home as a starter property and might even put out some leaflets detailing the local amenities, including bars and entertainment.

Prepare Your Home for Sale

Preparing your home for sale is a really important part of the sales process. You need to show buyers that your home could work perfectly for them. So, put your junk into storage, clean everywhere and do a few touch-ups around the house so that it is neutral.

 

You need to make sure that your home is a blank canvas that anyone could live in but you should also add some homey touches. So, while you should paint your walls in neutral colors, you might light to add some scatter cushions to your sofa, light a scented candle and put some flowers in a vase. 

Be Ready to Move

If you aren’t ready to move, you won’t be going anywhere fast! Put the things you don’t use every day into boxes and hire some storage space to keep them safe. Make sure that any valuable personal items are also stored away safely. 

 

You should also plan your budget for the move. As soon as your house sells, you will need to be able to move quickly so you should gather your packing materials together and start searching for a moving company to help you out. You might also like to prime your friends and family so that they can come and help you. 

 

Selling your home quickly is all very well but you must be ready to move once your home is sold. Getting everything ready to go is essential if you want to show your buyers that you are serious about a fast sale. The more you can do to prepare, the easier it will be to move.  

Selling Your Home – Tips

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There are many reasons why you may have decided to put your property on the market. Perhaps you’re adding to the family and you need somewhere bigger? Maybe you are ready for a new adventure and are moving overseas? Or, have you found a better house a few blocks away? No matter the reason, you need to make sure you present your property in the greatest light. Find out how you can increase your chances of a quick and successful sale. 

 

A Warm Welcome

 

The first thing you need to do is make sure the entrance to your home is a welcoming one. A lot of people underestimate the importance of having a stylish front door and a clean porch. This is the entryway to your home. It sets the tone for the rest of the property. This is your opportunity to impress and get your viewers excited about the rest of the house, so don’t waste it. 

 

Sweet Smells

 

A lot of people do not realize that their house smells because they are so used to it. This is especially the case for those who have pets. Get someone you trust to give you an honest opinion regarding what they can smell when they walk into your home. After all, last night’s takeaway is not going to encourage a quick sale, is it? Instead, you need to add a pleasant but subtle smell to your home, which you can easily do via scented candles or a diffuser. 

 

Present The Lifestyle

 

When you are selling a property, you are not just selling the walls and floors. You are selling a lifestyle and a neighborhood. It is important to remember this. This is why professional home stagers recommend getting rid of all personal photographs. Items like this act as a barrier, making it difficult for property viewers to imagine themselves living in your home. It is all about presenting your house in a manner that makes it possible for others to imagine the amazing life they could have there. If the viewers aren’t familiar with the area, why not provide them with some helpful leaflets and pamphlets regarding the schools and such like in the area? 

 

No Secrets

 

The final piece of the puzzle is to be honest. Don’t assume you can cover up water damage with paint or that a roof problem will be overlooked because the buyer isn’t going to climb up there! If you know you have an issue with your roof, it is better to pay for a roofing company to rectify this before you put your property on the market. The same goes if your siding is damaged or there are any other issues. Otherwise, when the buyer gets a professional survey carried out, the issue will be flagged and you will end up with egg on your face. This could cost you the sale.

 

Selling a property is a big undertaking. By being truthful, making your home welcoming, and presenting it in a manner that makes it easy for people to envision living there, you should be able to secure a sale sooner rather than later.

Simple Changes For A Healthier Home

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We spend most of our time indoors, so we do need to consider its impact on our health and wellbeing. If we are feeling unwell because of the home we live in, then a few changes are necessary.

 

We have listed a few below, so take a look. Then, if it is appropriate for you to do so, make the necessary changes to your home.

#1: A change to your home decor

 

For the sake of your mental health, a change to your home decor might be in order. Especially if you are bored of your surroundings, or if certain rooms in your home are overly cluttered, you do need to consider your options.

 

So, you might freshen up your home’s interior with a lick of paint, perhaps in colors that evoke a calm and peaceful state. You might also follow our simple decluttering guide as, if you are living within a messy environment, it won’t do much for your mental state if you are forever faced with untidiness within your living space.

 

#2: A change to your air quality

 

You know the air outside of your home is polluted, but did you know the air inside could be as well? Because of the chemical products you use for cleaning, and perhaps because of habits such as smoking, the air of your home won’t be as clean as you want it to be.

 

So, when keeping your home clean and hygienic, try to avoid those products that contain a lot of toxic chemicals. Many stores sell greener products now, so look for those labels that suggest they are eco-friendly. Alternatively, household items such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemons can all be used to keep your home clean, so research DIY recipes online. 

 

To further improve your air quality, you might also add a houseplant or two. These act as natural air purifiers, and filter out the pollutants in your home. Be sure to keep them near sources of sunlight, of course, or purchase a Haus Bright grow light to both grow your plants and to maximize the air-filtering potential. 

 

#3: A change to your refrigerator

 

Your refrigerator isn’t to blame for ill health, of course, unless you have done little to clean it in a while. Rather, it is the items in your refrigerator that could be a problem, especially if it is overloaded with chocolate items, fizzy drinks, microwave meals, and any other foodstuffs that you already know aren’t particularly good for you.

 

Instead, make a change to your family’s eating habits by replacing any unhealthy items with healthier alternatives. So, you might include natural fruit drinks, bottles of water, homemade foods, and healthy snack items that are safer items to reach for when feeling the urge to eat between meals. 

So, do you need to make any changes in your home? For the health of you and your family, you should consider doing so if you have related to anything within this article.

 

Take care, and thanks for reading!

Climbing The Property Ladder: How To Add Value To Your Current Home

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If you are a homeowner looking to further climb the property ladder, then you will want to increase the value of your current property. While there is always a good chance that the market will act in your favor and help you along on your way, you might find that this is not always the case. And without your intervention, your home may end up in negative equity. This may be because of the way that the market was when you bought it, or when you come to sell it. 

 

There are things that you can do to increase the potential selling price of your home, and if you want to maximize your potential for moving to somewhere bigger and better, you will need to do some work. 

 

Set Your Budget

 

First things first, you will need to know how much you can spend. You may have some savings, or you might want to take out a home improvement loan. If you are doing the latter, make sure that you can afford to repay it alongside your current mortgage, and your new one if you move in the near future. 

 

Once you know how much you can spend, you can think about the work that you may want to carry out. You will need to only spend money on areas that you will see the maximum return on your investment. With this in mind, you need to do some research into the state of the housing market. Compare property prices in your neighborhood and try to find examples of homes that have had the improvements that you are considering. 

 

Do It Yourself Or Hiring In Contractors?

 

One of the biggest dilemmas is whether you should do the work yourself. If you are someone who has plenty of skills and experience in maintenance and DIY, then you may well save quite a bit of money. If you haven’t got much experience, do yourself a favor and find a contractor who can do the job for you. Often, when jobs go wrong, you will need a contractor to fix your mistakes and it can cost you more in the long run. 

 

Look For Easy Solutions

 

Think about ways that you can create big changes to your home for the minimum effort. You may want to fit Nichiha panels to your exterior walls in order to give the property some real strong curb appeal. 

 

Giving the whole property a coat of paint inside and out will make everything aesthetically pleasing, and if you use white, then it will create a sense of space. 

 

Go For The Big Wins

 

One of the best ways of adding value to your home is by creating additional living space. You can do this by converting your attic, basement, or adjoining garage into a room that can be used as a bedroom, or dining room.

 

Make sure you check with your local authorities before you make any major changes to the structure of your property, as you may need planning permission beforehand.

5 Facts That You Should Know About Real Estate

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Moving into a new house is considered one of the most stressful things a person can go through, but selling a house is no party either. So, if you’re thinking of selling yours, then here are five facts that you should know about the real estate business.

 

1. A Seller’s Market Doesn’t Mean You Can Get What You Want

 

In many parts of the country, it’s a great time to sell your property, but you should try and keep your feet on the ground. Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean people will buy no matter what. The fact of the matter is that any house is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it, not what you think it is worth. Let your realtor be your guide when it comes to the value of your house, and get several estimates.

 

2. No One Expects Your Home to Be a Show Home

 

Most people are not that interested in seeing houses that look like show houses. When people are looking for a home, that’s exactly what they want to see, a home – somewhere they can imagine themselves living. Of course, it’s vital to ensure your home is clean and presentable as no-one wants to imagine themselves living in a pigsty, but it really doesn’t have to be stripped of all your belongings and styled as though it’s going to appear in a glossy magazine, to appeal to a buyer. Some things will definitely put buyers off though. If you have pets, you need to make sure that there are no smells of damp animals wafting around the house. Talking of smells, remember the classic sales techniques of baking some cookies. That’s the kind of home-smell that sells houses.

 

3. First Impressions Really Do Count But Not Where You Might Think

 

First impressions count, whether it’s meeting new people, starting a new job, or buying a new home. However, too many people concentrate on the inside of the house, forgetting that it’s actually the outside that people see first. If you have a garden or a front yard, make sure that it looks nice and tidy. And if you have a fence, a lick of paint can work wonders for your home’s curb appeal.

 

4. Look At Your Home’s Decor as An Outsider Would

 

Have a real look at the inside of your house. Try and look at it with the eyes of a potential buyer. If each room blends into the next, then you’re looking good. However, if each room is garishly painted, or you have allowed the kids to be ‘creative’, then a fresh coat of neutrally-toned paint may well be the way to go.

 

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5. Choose Your Next Home Wisely

 

Finally, if you’re selling your home, you are no doubt looking to buy as well. If you’re thinking of your next home as an investment, you should be looking at the best areas of town. As this will be where the most expensive houses are, try to think where the up-and-coming areas will be in five or ten years’ time. Your realtor will be able to advise you on this as well. And if you can find a fixer-upper, this is where you will get the most bang for your buck.

 

Selling a home does come with its stresses and there are certainly lots of forces that are out of your control. However, with enough planning and a bit of careful preparation, the process can be made to run a whole lot more smoothly.

Tips On Installing A Ramp In Your Home

Making your home more accessible can add value to your home and not to mention being useful for any friends and family members who have access requirements. Here are some tips on installing a ramp in your home.

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Your Budget

The budget is always an important factor when it comes to installing accessible equipment, particularly for ramps, as they are not cheap to install. To get a proper one in place, you want to be willing to spend a bit of money, whether you opt for a mobile one or one that’s permanently installed. Think about the budget you have available and what you can reasonably afford. There are certain installations that might be able to do payment plans, so work out what’s best for you beforehand.

 

The Type Of Ramp

It’s good to get an idea firstly of what type of ramp you are after and more importantly, where you want this ramp to go. The type of ramp can vary depending on the size to cater for specific wheelchair users and whether it includes any sort of handle or lift mechanism for higher-level floors. Handicap ramps can be really beneficial to install and so if you’re looking into the types that are on offer, it’s worth doing some research. Ideally, you want it to cater for most wheel-chair and access required users, but you also don’t want it looking too different to the rest of your property.

 

Typically, the width of most ramps should be a minimum of 36 inches. This is because most wheelchairs end up starting at this size and go upwards.

 

Materials To Use 

There are a variety of ramp styles to choose from, but it’s also worth considering the materials that you’ll use depending on your area’s weather conditions. The more durable the material, the longer it will last, but if you live in a hotter climate, you may want to opt for wooden, rather than metal which will end up getting hot and expanding. Make sure you factor this in when deciding on the materials you want to use because these may end up making a huge difference to how functional the ramp is.

 

Where To Place It

When it comes to placing the ramp, you have a number of options. Depending on where your front or main door sits is the ideal spot for the ramp to go but you need to make sure that it fits and leaves space for everyone else to be able to walk past freely. It might be that you have the ramp within your home and so more space will want to be factored in for this. If you’re going to have a ramp that does more than just sit there, then you want to think about electrical points and how to keep it dry.

Getting a ramp for your home is certainly useful, and if you have a bit of a disposable income going, then it’s definitely worth getting in order to help make your home more accessible and wheelchair-friendly.

Epoxy Coatings Provide a Great Option for Protecting Floors

Flooring gets put through the ringer. Whether it is the floor of your garage or commercial building, floors receive a lot of wear and tear. Finding a flooring solution that has the strength and durability to withstand spills and heavy loads can be difficult. When selecting a flooring option for your space, it is important to choose a solution that will stand the test of time, provide a barrier from moisture, and will be long-lasting. Epoxy floor coatings are a great option for giving your floors the shiny appealing aesthetic you want without sacrificing durability. Specifically, epoxy works well on concrete floors that are high trafficked and exposed to harsh conditions.

What is Epoxy

Epoxy is a type of sealant primarily used for concrete floors. This durable material is composed of two key components that give it its strength- a polyepoxide resin and curative. Before an epoxy coating is applied to the floor, these two parts are mixed together which gives this material its strong qualities. The mixing causes the resin and curative to chemically bond to one another. When this coat is applied, it then bonds to the floor. The result is a strong and durable coating that won’t chip or peel from the surface of the floor.

Most Common Uses

As epoxy is an extremely durable material, epoxy coatings are most commonly used to protect floors that experience high traffic. Many industries make use of this strong sealant in their manufacturing plants and facilities to protect against exposure and give their floors a longer life.

Although epoxy coatings are primarily used in industrial spaces, this material can also be used to protect other areas of high traffic. Garages, walkways, and ceilings can benefit from epoxy treatments.

Benefits of Epoxy Coatings

There are many benefits that come with epoxy floors. The smooth and shiny surface epoxy creates is aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean; these coatings make your floor look bright and professional.

The cost to epoxy floor is hard to beat and provides a durable surface that is resistant to the bacteria, chemicals, and fluids that floors are exposed to in industrial settings. As long as the floor coating is properly installed and maintained, the lifespan of your floors will be much longer with this durable and strong coat.

Floors receive exposure to a lot of damaging effects; they take the brunt of spills, constant use, and heavy loads. It is important to use a flooring system that has the durability and resistance to protect against these damaging agents. Epoxy is a great option for giving your floors a shiny aesthetic and protective layer.

Sell Your House Fast In 3 Simple Steps

When we come to list our homes on the open market, we might assume that they will fly. Your open house day should be jam-packed, potential buyers should be entering into a bidding war to pick up your piece of prime real estate, and you should be batting them away left, right and center. However, more often than not this simply doesn’t happen. Why? Because we think of our humble abodes in a highly subjective way. We have adored the pink flamingo wallpaper and bright teal hallway for a decade so why wouldn’t anybody else? Instead, you need to sell your home by imagining yourself as a buyer. Take a look at how you can sell your house fast by following these three simple steps.

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Get The Best People On Board

 

Hundreds of real estate agents will be vying for your business. While you might be tempted to go for the guy or company who takes the least commission, this can be a false economy. Sure, he won’t take as much cash out of your sales price, but if your home is on the market for an extra six months, this means extra home loan repayments which negate the very reason why you chose the guy.

 

Opt for a professional outfit that has a solid reputation in your area. Companies like William Pitt have a varied portfolio of properties, and the chances are yours could fit right in. As well as a real estate agent, you need the services of a top quality property lawyer to navigate the legalities of selling your home.

 

Decorate

 

While it may seem counterintuitive to decorate your home as you are planning to wave goodbye to it, a quick lick of white or magnolia paint to cover up the highly personalized purples and yellows can work wonders. Instead of a colorful abode, your buyers will be greeted by a sleek and modern pad ready for them to make their own mark on.

 

Dress your home appropriately with decent furnishings. If your money won’t stretch to purchasing a new sofa for the living room, hire one. Dressing your home will help seduce your buyers with a lifestyle. At the same time, you need to show off the space and airiness of your pad. Don’t leave untold amounts of clutter adorning every orifice of your rooms. This gives the impression that your home is poky and that they would outgrow it. Never say you are leaving because you need a bigger place. It always rings alarm bells in a buyer.

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Curb Appeal

 

For a few hundred dollars you can revolutionize the facade of your home. Clean the windows, paint the front door, off the lawn and weed the driveway. Put out a few colorful pots of foliage and create a welcoming atmosphere for your viewers. The chances are they will make their mind up about your home as they walk up to your drive.

 

Forget seeing your home languishing on the market and follow this guide to see your home sell fast.

 

Three Ways to Organize Your Tools

Three Ways to Organize Your Tools If you’re like most homeowners, you have a collection of tools you look to whenever a repair is needed around the house. Or, maybe you use your collection of tools to work on DIY projects. You probably own several screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers and pliers along with nails, screws, etc. It’s a good idea to have a nice collection of tools, but it can be challenging to keep it organized. Check out three easy ways to organize your tools. Store Tools by Size Homeowners with garage storage cabinet systems find it very easy to organize tools by size. As an example, if you have several number two screwdrivers, then you would store them together in one area of a cabinet. If you have four number three screwdrivers, you’d store them together in another part of the cabinet. Of course, you would sort the screwdrivers by type as well. Keep all of the Phillips head screwdrivers together and all the flat-head types together. Organizing in this way allows you to find exactly what you need right away for the repair or project you’re working on. Prioritize Tools You Use the Most There’s a good chance you use some tools more than others. You may find that you use your needle-nose pliers for a lot of repairs around the house. If so, when organizing your tools, put your needle-nose pliers front and center in the cabinet or drawer. That way, you don’t have to search for tools you use on a regular basis. Alternatively, if you have a basin wrench that you rarely use, keep it near the back of the cabinet so it’s secure and doesn’t get in the way of tools you use more often. Keep the Same Types of Tools Together Do you know any friends who simply throw their tools in a box or chest without any type of organization? In short, they have a drawer of miscellaneous tools that they have to search through every time they need one. It’s a good idea to organize your tool cabinet by keeping the same types of tools together. Put all of your hammers in one area and all of your wrenches in another. This will make the process of finding a tool a lot quicker. Lastly, organizing your tools can make any project more enjoyable. You can spend more time repairing an appliance or putting up a new front door and less time searching for the right tool in your toolbox or cabinet. Plus, if another family member needs a tool from your collection, he or she will be able to find it without a problem.

The Pros And Cons Of Open Plan Living

If you have recently purchased a new home or if you’ve not renovated your own dwelling for a little while, the lure of open plan living can be overwhelming. When you glance at your humble abode, you see numerous rooms downstairs, blocked off by walls, compartmentalized and blocking out the natural light that you crave. Switch on the TV, and home makeover shows reel off renovation after renovation singing the praises of open plan living, the natural light it allows, the space it creates and the lifestyle it affords. Open plan living looks amazing on the TV, but what about real life? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Take a look at the pros and cons of open plan living and decide if you want to head down the open plan road when you come to renovate your home.

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Pros

 

The natural light that you will see streaming into your new open plan living space can make any renovation seem worthwhile. With windows creating multiple aspects, you’ll also be allowing the outside in. Vistas become more accessible from any position downstairs through multiple viewpoints.

 

The atmosphere within your house will naturally shift from fragmented to all inclusive. Your kids won’t have a choice but to be in the same vicinity as you as they watch TV and you cook up your latest culinary delight. The impetus to enjoy more quality time together as a family can make open plan living a worthwhile venture.

 

Although the square footage of your floor plan won’t have altered, it will feel like you have created more space. This illusion can make the resale value of your home increase as open plan living is the most favorable lifestyle choice today. Homeowners enjoy inviting friends around for a dinner party or a gathering and love having a large flowing space that is flexible to entertain in.

 

The actual renovation itself will be a liberating experience. There is no better way to release your frustrations and anger than by grabbing a sledgehammer and knocking down a wall or two. If money is tight, look into using a homeowner loans company to fund your renovation plans. You can utilize their online affordability calculators and borrow well within your means. Although the cost of converting to open plan living may seem hefty, you could see a healthy increase in the value of your home when you come to sell it. It’s always best to think of your renovation as an investment.

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Cons

 

The sheer scale of creating a single open plan living space from three or four distinct rooms can seem overwhelming. The labor costs can be steep, the dust and mess created will last for a few weeks and the project can seem like an uphill task. Open plan living is a dramatic shift in lifestyle, so if you aren’t sure, it pays to hold off before embarking on any renovations. It’s easy to knock walls down but a lot harder and more expensive to put them back up.

 

Open plan living will inevitably see a merging of your kitchen, dining room and living area. This means all those cooking smells from your fragrant Thai curry will linger when you settle on the couch to watch a movie three hours later. This can be a pet peeve of many so think about the practicalities of open plan living before you allow yourself to be seduced by the stylish facade of a home makeover show.

 

While open plan living and quality family time sound great in theory, there will be a lot less space downstairs to find a moment of privacy, and you may find your kids spending more time upstairs holed up in their bedrooms. You may want to consider whether you actually need to renovate or whether you are happy with the configuration of your home the way it is. Just because something is on trend doesn’t mean you have to succumb to it if you are more inclined to enjoy the traditional home layout.

 

Home renovations are expensive and dramatic. By their very nature renovations allow you to refresh your living environment and can afford you a new lifestyle. However, open plan living is not the only renovation available to you. If you wish to create a new look for your home, a simple and cheaper redecoration, new kitchen or even an extension may be the answer. Only once you’ve assessed the pros and cons of open plan living, can you decide if it is right for you.

Finding the Perfect Family Home

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Almost any adult will understand the complexities and stresses involved in moving home. When you have a family, these problems multiply tenfold. Not only are you responsible for your own happiness and well-being, but you also take on the role of ensuring that your children are well in regards to every aspect of the move. Are there good schools in the area? Will there be a nearby park for them to play in? Are the crime levels low? Is the neighborhood friendly? The list goes on and on. But not to worry, we’re here to help! Read on for a complete guide to finding the perfect family home.

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Where?

 

Choosing the location of your new home is the first step on your journey to paradise. So start doing your research and visiting the areas that you’re considering. Before laying down any deposits, take a visit to your potential new home. Take two weeks out to get a real feel of the area. You can also use this vacation to view homes and have meetings with the local schools and other facilities. Remember that the place that you move to will have so much more to offer than just its tourist hotspots. It will most likely be host to multiple counties and home to thousands of people besides the tourists that frequent the area. So choose your area well. It is so important to find something that will suit every single family member down to a tee. So check out local amenities, clubs and activities.

 

What Kind of Home?

 

There are three types of housing available within most communities: townhouses, single family homes, and condos. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably best suited to the second of the three. A single family home allows you complete control of your entire property, meaning you can make major renovations if you so wish. You will have a private yard which is essential for the summer and there are favorable mortgage rates. If you’re struggling to make a decision in regards to the type of home you’re interested in, check out this homebuyer’s checklist for properties. It has all of the information you could possibly need and more.

 

Proximity to Family and Friends

 

If possible, try to choose somewhere that already has family and friends living nearby. This will make the move smoother and less frightening for your little ones. Seeing familiar faces can put their minds at ease and relieve anxieties. If you don’t have family or friends in the area you’re planning on moving to, make sure that you help your little ones socialise as soon as you move. Take them to activities and clubs, introduce them to new hobbies such as team sports. This will help them to make friends and feel comfortable in their new community. No more feelings of loneliness! Also make sure that they know they can contact their old friends at any time. Apps such as Skype and Facetime mean that they can literally see their friends, not just hear their voice on the other end of the phone.

Brilliant Basement Renovations: A Step By Step Guide

Are you lucky enough to have a basement? If so, are you making the most of the space you have available? If you have a basement that is full of boxes or you haven’t even ventured down the stairs since you moved in, why not consider creating a new room and maximizing your home’s potential? Basement remodels aren’t just an amazing way of creating a more versatile property. They’re also likely to add value to your home. If you are thinking about remodeling your basement, here is a step by step guide.

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Planning your remodel

The first thing to think about when you’re toying with the idea of converting the basement is the use of the space. Are you lacking anything in the rest of the house? What would you add if you had an extra room on the ground or first floor? A basement remodel gives you the chance to find solutions to these problems. If you haven’t got enough bedrooms, your living room is packed full of toys, your kitchen is too small, or there’s nowhere you can relax, a basement conversion could be just what you need. You can use the space to create a whole range of different rooms from a brand new family-sized kitchen or a games room to a guest suite, a playroom for the kids, a bar or a sanctuary.

 

Setting a budget

Before you sign any contracts, set a budget. It’s essential that you have a figure in mind, and you make sure that you can afford to cover the total cost of the remodel.

 

Meeting with experts

To turn dreams and ideas into reality, you’ll need expert help, so call around, arrange some visits, and compare prices. Make sure you share your vision and give honest opinions. It’s your house, and you want to get it right. If you’re thinking of selling in the near future, it may be useful to get an idea of how much value a remodel could add. This may help you decide how much you want to spend on the project. When you’ve got a list of quotes in front of you, and you’ve been through plans, you can make a decision.

 

Interior design

Once the heavy-duty work is underway, you can focus on the interiors. It’s really useful to see some before and after shots and get some tips from companies that provide remodeling services. Take a look at pages like www.flemingconstructionllc.com/services/basement-finishing-remodeling/ and note down ideas you like, save screenshots and cut out images you see in magazines. You may come across elements you like from different projects, and you can combine them to make a room that is ideal for your family. Think about the style of the room and have a look for inspiration on sites like https://www.pinterest.co.uk/explore/basement-remodeling/. If you’re creating a games room, you could channel a classic American diner or a traditional English pub. If you’re designing a new playroom, you could celebrate a love of sports or music or go for a safari vibe or an under the sea theme.

Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/noluckmurphy/8614278331

 

Are you thinking about converting your basement? Hopefully, this guide will set you on the right track!

 

14 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

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First impressions are everything, and you know what they say; you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. This is why curb appeal is so important. No matter whether you are trying to sell your home or you simply feel like giving it a bit of revitalization, we have some top tips for those who want to give the exterior of their property a boost. Read on to discover more.

  1. Invest in quality door furniture – First and foremost, while we all want to do things without spending a lot of money, it does pay to spend a little bit more in some instances. Door furniture is a prime example of this. From letterboxes to door knockers, choose something that is in keeping with the style of your property, and allocate a little bit more of your budget to this if possible. After all, cheap can look cheap.
  2. Build a walkway – Another way to give your home some more curb appeal is to build a walkway. This will make your property feel more inviting and warm. If you have a straight concrete path, and you want a subtle upgrade, you could apply a colored concrete resurfacer to the old walkway, and then edge it with stone or brick borders.  If you are after something more dramatic, why not replace the concrete with a walkway that is made from brick or stone.    
  3. Dress up your driveway – Does your driveway have vegetation sprouting from it? Perhaps it is stained or cracked? If so, you can upgrade your driveway without having to spend a fortune on completely redoing it. Firstly, you should kill the weeds, and repair the stains and cracks. Once you have done this, you can affix flagstones or stain the concrete to dress it up.
  4. Tile your doorstep –Tile your doorstep to create a permanent welcome mat. There is no end to the creativity you can display when going for this option. The sky is your limit.
  5. Replace gutters – If you have an old gutter system on your property, it is likely that it is suffering from rust spots, peeling paint, and a number of other problems. It is a good idea to replace your gutter system so that you don’t give off a sense of neglect. Here are some signs you should replace your gutters: http://www.weatherguardgutters.com/5-signs-to-replace-gutters/. Copper systems are quite expensive, but they have an unmistakable look of quality.
  6. Create a new planting bed – Add color and contrast to the exterior of your home with a new planting bed. The best spots for curb appeal include immediately in front of your property, along walkways or driveways, and at the front corners of your yard. When you choose a flower bed, you shouldn’t choose features that are going to obscure your home. Instead, look for those that will frame your home. To edge the bed, precast-concrete blocks are ideal. You should also include a mix of texture, color and plant size for the best results.
  7. Add some outdoor art – You can add some sparkle and personality to your outdoor space by investing in outdoor art. This could be anything from wind chimes and sculptures to metal cut-outs and birdbaths. Choose something that complements your home’s exterior elements and natural palette. Water sculptures are an amazing choice because they look incredible and they add a soothing and peaceful element to the home too.
  8. Install window boxes – An easy way to add charm and color to your home’s curb appeal is to add window boxes. For a cottage feel, opt for painted wood window boxes. If you want a more traditional look, choose iron or copper.
  9. Give your mailbox a makeover – Your mailbox should complement your home, and it should express your personality too. There are so many cool and fun mailboxes available, or you could go for something with more of an antique and old school vibe. The options are endless, but you should ensure your mailbox is a statement piece that demands attention.
  10. Create an instant garden – You can create an instant garden by adding containers with plants around the front of your home. This is a great way to add color and personality to your home, plus you won’t need to spend a lot of money either.
  11. Paint the exterior of your home – This is one of the easiest ways to add value to your property, and it makes a massive difference too. You can find out more about exterior residential painting services at www.ecopainting.ca/residential-painting/. When it comes to painting the exterior of your home, you need to choose a quality company to ensure that the harsh weather does not have an impact.
  12. Install outdoor lighting – One of the best ways to boost your home’s curb appeal is by adding landscape lighting. This is the perfect way to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  13. Create perfect symmetry – Symmetry is really easy to arrange, and it looks incredible on the eye too. A symmetrical composition of front-door accents and light fixtures generates an entry that is welcoming and has lots of curb appeal.
  14. Dress up the front door – When it comes to curb appeal, the focal point is always the entry to your home. You can make a real statement by giving your front door a makeover. Why not opt for a custom wood door? Or, add some vibrancy with a striking colored door? The options are endless. You should also use metal polish on door fixtures and clean off any dirty marks around the doorknob. Remember, your personal style is always the most important, so make sure it is reflected here. Your home’s entry should be an indication of the interior inside.

All in all, there is no denying the importance of ensuring your property has plenty of curb appeal. This is the first thing people will notice about your house, and you want to make a good impression, especially if you are planning on selling it. Use the tips mentioned above, and you will give your house a makeover that will turn heads for all of the right reasons.

The Big Problems With Living In A Big Mansion

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We have all dreamed of living in a huge house – a mansion – because we have always dreamed of more space. The idea of having eleven bedrooms and twelve bathrooms and three kitchens, all with Aga’s, and a garden that would rival Central Park in New York. However, for all the dreams that swirl around the world, the reality is often very different, and that is the case with mansion life. It just isn’t the simple life of luxury we all imagine it to be.

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Too Much Space

Yes, we want to enjoy more space, but not to the point that our home feels empty and bare no matter how much furniture we throw at it. Even if you just living in part of a mansion, one wing or one floor on one wing, trying to make two sofas fill a ballroom is like trying to make two drops of water fill an ocean.

 

Never Feel Cozy

High ceilings and vast spaces don’t add to the cozy feeling in any way whatsoever and this only gets worse when winter starts to creep in. Even in the height of summer, a mansion can feel abysmally cold as you spend a large fortune on logs for your fireplace and oil for your ancient heating system.

 

Never Enough Internet

Having the internet reach every corner of every room in your home is a luxury. Anyone that lives in a big house will know that this is hard to disagree with because in order to enjoy that same nuisance-free existence they have had to invest in multiple wifi extenders if they want any chance of getting any web browsing done. As for 4G, well, either it hasn’t reached that part of the countryside yet or it can’t penetrate the thick walls.

 

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Gardening Never Stops

If you live in a mansion with a mansion-sized garden then trying to keep on top of the lawn alone is like having a full-time job, except you don’t get paid to do it (and you don’t get paid to do your normal job because you are spending your entire life mowing). Not to mention that, once you’re done, you’re more out of breath than an amateur marathon runner that decided they could participate without any training.

 

Money, Money, Money

The only thing that leaks more than your roof is your money, with every cent you have seemingly being pumped into your home. Trying to repair broken beams, or replace another shattered pane of glass, or the leak in the roof, or discover where that god awful smell is coming from, or trying to keep the place warm, or whatever. It is a constant drain on finances, and we mean constant.

 

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Permanent Paranoia

Big, old houses make loads of noises, and most of them are really eerie noises. Something will fall down between the walls or the sound of a ghost will interrupt your dinner. But that isn’t all because there is also the constant worry that someone will break in through any number of easy to lift windows or shrunken doors that don’t seem to lock properly anymore. Just walking around a big house can be terrifying and you’ll start to curse your own imagination as time goes on.

Does Heating Your Home Have To Cost You A Fortune?

No-one likes feeling cold and walking around the house with a blanket wrapped around your shoulders is not a good look. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend a fortune heating your home if there are ways in which you can save money. Heating costs make up a huge proportion of the average monthly budget so if you can make some savings you will have more to spend on the things that you enjoy. Here are some ideas for cutting down your heating costs over the cooler months.

Get a modern thermostat

You need to have accurate control of your heating. Programmable thermostats allow you to heat your home when you need to and save money on heating bills when you do not. You can make sure that the house does not use up money on heating during the day but is lovely and warm for when you return from work. There are some jobs that need to be done on your home every ten years or so and if you are considering carrying out an overhaul of your central heating system, this could be the time to upgrade your thermostat. Check out the honest and concise reviews of wireless and programmable thermostats on the Thermostat Center including a handy comparison table of the key features. The best place to start is with the buying guide and then move on to reading about how they can save you money before selecting which would be the best one for your home.

Insulate everything that you can

Heating you home is as much about stopping heat from escaping as it is about providing heat in the first place. Insulating your loft is the single most important heat saving strategy. Warm air rises and your home will lose a lot of heat through the loft. Next, comes the windows. Double-glazed windows are the best. If you cannot afford to install them you can hang thick drapes or blinds instead. Use draught excluders at the bottom of doors.

Sometimes it is possible to provide cavity wall insulation in older houses but you will need to talk to a professional contractor to find out more. In general, new houses and more heat efficient than older houses.

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Use what nature is offering you

You can use natural convection currents to make the most of the heat in your home. Don’t place things on top of radiators so that the warm air can circulate freely. As sunlight pours in through your windows it brings the heat with it. Vary the room that you spend time in as the sun moves around the house so that you can take full advantage of this.

Consider installing a wood burning stove. When wood burns it gives off a huge amount of heat that can warm up even a large room. You could collect driftwood or branches from a local wood to burn. You can even chop up old pallets as long as they are not covered in paint or varnish. Real fires are so cozy in the winter!

 

 

What You Need to Replace in your Home every Decade

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We all know how much work it is to keep our homes looking their best. With the long list of daily and weekly chores, it’s no wonder the bigger jobs tend to go neglected for longer than they should. However, there is a list of areas in the home that need attention every ten years in order for your home to be properly maintained. These 10-year jobs are just an important as the everyday jobs to ensure that your home not only looks great but to ensure that it doesn’t need major renovations later on down the road.

 

Get the Paintbrushes Out

 

Blow the cobwebs off your paintbrushes as it’s time to get to work on giving your home the quickest, easiest and most effective facelift possible in your home. A fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to modernize tired and tatty looking rooms and bring your home back to its former glory. Paint gets really dirty over the years and the only way to remedy this is to give it a fresh lick of paint. Re-painting the rooms in your house is not expensive and you can do it yourself, meaning you don’t need to pay for hired help. You can think about new color schemes in your home to make it look unique, fresh and a more enjoyable space to be in.

 

Roof

 

Roofing experts recommend that homeowners replace the roof on their homes every ten years. Roofs can take a real battering from the outdoor elements so it is really important to keep them in peak condition so as to avoid much bigger and more expensive problems.

 

If it’s been awhile since you last looked at your roof, get a roofing expert over to your house to take a look at the state of your roof. Learn about Dennis and Sons Roofing or a local company in your area that will be able to come and look at any sagging roofs or leaks and will then be able to advise you on the next steps necessary to protect your roof and therefore your entire home. There are many tell-tale signs that you can look for to see if you are ready for a replacement, such as water trails under the roof area and light entering through cracks in the roof. So keep your eyes peeled for any warning signs that your roof needs immediate attention. Replacing your roof every ten years means you can avoid having to do emergency jobs, as and when necessary, and instead, can enjoy the comfort that comes with knowing your roof is always in peak condition.

 

Plumbing

 

Plumbing bills can really creep up on us when we least expect them and they can really sting. Therefore it is recommendable to replace the plumbing in your home around every ten years. You can either replace the entire plumbing system or you can just replace the exposed pipes. Calling in a plumber and asking what is the best option for your home and then getting an estimate is the way to go, as unfortunately, this is not a job you can take on yourself.

Create Your Own ‘Barbie Dreamhouse’ & Make Your Childhood Dreams Come True!

As a child did you ever dream of living in your very own Barbie Dreamhouse? Did you love the way in which Barbie’s home perfectly reflected her tastes – lots of pinks, and her style, as well as her needs? Back then, you most probably wanted a pretty pink home like Barbie’s. Today, you may no longer want to build a life-size version of Barbie’s Dreamhouse, but what you might want to do is build your very own dream house – somewhere that reflects your personality, style, and needs.

Thinking about moving anyway and love the concept of living in a home that’s custom made for you? Then read on, for everything that you need to know to make those childhood dreams come true by creating your own dream home.

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Set a budget

Like with any project, the first step is to set a budget. As once you have set a budget, you then know what you have got to work with, and can use your budget to determine what is and isn’t within your reach when it comes to the design of the property. As well as working out what your budget will be, it’s also important to think about where the funds will come from and when you will have access to them. Do you have savings that you plan on using to fund this project and can access immediately? Are you planning on selling your current property and will need to wait until then to get your hands on the funds? Or, are you hoping to take out a loan and have the money shortly? For any project, setting a budget is the most important thing, so this has to be your first step.

Get inspired

Once your budget is in place, the next step to take is to get inspired. You may already have plenty of ideas about how you want your dream home to be, but even so, it still pays to take the time to get some ideas and inspiration. You never know, you might come across some design ideas that you wouldn’t have even considered but love. As well as looking at ideas in home design magazines, online on sites like Pinterest, We Heart It, and Instagram, it could also be worth taking the time to look at a range of house plans. From modern house plans to more traditional ones, it’s worth having a browse, to get an idea of what your options are. To ensure that your dream home is perfect in every way, getting ideas and inspiration is a must.

Find the perfect plot

Before you can start your project, you need to select a plot. Now, whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of rushing the process of picking a plot, else you may live to regret it. Take the time to research locations that have plots for building properties on and learn as much about each area as you possibly can. Even if the location is near to your current home, it’s still worth taking the time to research the area, to ensure that it’s somewhere you would be happy to live.

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Consider going green

There is a lot of emphasis on eco-friendly living today, which is something that can be hard to implement in an older building or implement fully. However, if you are building a new home from scratch, you could consider making it an eco-friendly and sustainable property. It might cost a little more to build, but in the long-run, it will save you money in terms of running costs, plus it will reach a higher value should you ever choose to sell up. From choosing to use eco-friendly building materials like reclaimed wood, to implementing green features like solar panels, wind turbines, and water power, there are plenty of ways you can make your new build green, helping to reduce your carbon footprint. To determine the best way to create a greener home, talk to your contractor about it.

Think about the interiors

Don’t make the mistake of focusing purely on the exterior and layout of your dream home, as it’s just as important to think about the interiors. The layout of the property will impact the interior design and layout of it, so it is worth thinking about the interiors and the types of spaces you want inside your property. It’s not necessarily about things like room color schemes or furniture styles, it’s about how light and airy the rooms are, and the vibe that each room creates.

To design the most incredible house that makes your childhood home design dreams come true, building from scratch is the answer.

 

Do You Know These Three Simple Secrets To A Comfortable Home?

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When it comes to their homes, people often want different things. After all, some people want their homes to be rustic and charming, while others want a classic, elegant, minimalist approach to the way that it’s designed. But if there’s one thing that absolutely everyone agrees on it’s that they want their homes to be comfortable. After all, your home is the place you come back to after a hard day at work. You want to be able to relax and let the stress of everyday life melt away as soon as you get through the door, and if your home isn’t comfortable, that’s going to be pretty difficult. Luckily, making your home more comfortable isn’t a challenging as you might think, you just need to know where to start. Here are three simple secrets to a more comfortable home.

 

Warmth

 

Keeping your home warm is one of those things that a lot of people tend to take for granted. Especially considering the fact that it’s something that you don’t really have to worry about for at least half of the year. But when the weather starts to turn cold it’s incredibly important that you can keep your home from becoming one large ice cube! The first place to look is the windows. A company like Renewal by Andersen window replacement can help you outfit your home with double glazed windows that can keep heat in incredibly well. Try not to rely too heavily on your central heating since you can end up racking up a pretty hefty bill that way. If you can set it to turn on first thing in the morning and just because before you get home, each for a couple of hours. That way you’ll always feel warm and comfortable when you need it most.

 

Flow

 

The flow of your home is often quite a confusing, nebulous concept which makes it kind of hard to pin down. Because of that, it’s often much easier to identify when a room doesn’t flow properly than when it does. A house that flows well often feels very light and gives you room to breathe, while poor flow can make your home feel cramped and unpleasant to be in. You have to take a bunch of different things into account when comes to the flow of your home. Everything from light sources to the layout of the building itself. One of the best things to do is simply walk from room to room. If you feel like you’re hitting interruptions, then that could be an issue with the flow of your home.

 

Keep it tidy
This might sound ridiculously simple, but it’s something that far too many people forget. It’s much harder to really feel relaxed when you’re surrounded by mess. It’s incredibly easy to let things pile up over time so make sure that you’re tidying your house as you go and not letting things build up. It’s far easier to keep a house tidy than it is to clean the whole thing, and it will make you feel that much more comfortable.

Hot Summers Night: How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

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Sleeping in hot weather is about as horrendous as a first world problem can get. All that tossing and turning, your sheets sticking to you as you roll over for the four-thousandth time, your sweat somehow becoming the strongest super-glue known to humankind. It’s one of the worst, and that is without even mentioning the side-effects of not getting any sleep which, let’s be honest, isn’t great. After all, sleep is one of those healthy habits we all need to get into the habit of doing.

 

That is why we have done our research, dug around, asked our most innovative friends for their advice, and come up with a list of little tips and tricks that can help you endure the warm summer nights and wake up feeling super-duper refreshed. So, without further ado, we bring to you a list of the best tried and tested means of keeping cool when your eyes are closed.

 

Sheet Splash

One of the best ways to keep yourself cool just long enough to fall asleep is to splash your sheets with ice cool water before you slip under the covers. We don’t mean fill up a bucket and toss it over your bed, we just mean sprinkle a bit on your sheets; a light misting if you will. This will help you cool down and prevent you sweating, which is exactly what you need in order to slip off into the land of nod.

 

Awesome Aircon

Aircon is fantastic for keeping you cool, but most people only used in the day because the costs can quickly add up when it is left on all night. Well, there are some tricks you can use to reduce the costs and allow you to catch some Zs. Home Comfort owner Ken Starr explains how a single maintenance check can restore your A/C device back to its factory settings, making it more efficient and cost-effective. The other thing you could do is plug it into a timer socket, which would prevent it from all night and switch off about half an hour after you start dreaming. That’s what we’re here for.

 

Power Down

If you are like the rest of society then you probably have a multitude of electronic devices on charge by your bedside table. Your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your Tamagotchi and whatever else. You may even have a bedroom TV and an alarm clock. However, by turning off all your plugs at the socket, not only will you be saving yourself some money and energy, you will also make your room cooler. The reason being, your plugs give off a significant amount of heat.

 

No Nakedness

It can be so tempting to get into your birthday suit when it gets really hot, but whipping off all your clothes is not the answer when it comes to getting a great night sleep. What you want to do instead is sleep in cotton pajamas, something light and airy. The reason being these will allow your skin to breath while any sweat is soaked up rather than clinging to your body. That means your sheets won’t come untucked every time you roll over.

 

Drink Awareness

What you drink in the hours before bed can make a huge difference to how well you are able to sleep, and that is without accounting for the hot, hot, hot weather. Booze will affect your ability to sleep even more when the night is warm. As such, drink something that is known to encourage a good night’s sleep, and take a glass of ice-cold water to bed with you. That way you’ll easily be able to regulate your temperature should you get too hot.

 

Ice Pack

When the winter settles in, we all love snuggling up with a hot water bottle and keeping warm that way. That’s why it is so worth going the way and making a nice ice pack that you can then snuggle up with when it is hot. All you need to do is fill a sock with rice, tie a knot in the end and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then take it to bed with you and place it gently on your pulse points – wrists, ankles, feet, temples – and feel your body temperature instantly drop. Hello, good night’s sleep.

 

Old-School

The big problem with having a fan in your room is that it just blows warm air about and no one wants to be in a bedroom where a hot desert wind is blowing about. That’s why it is worth making a few amendments to your fan’s abilities. First off, try filling a bowl with a large chunk of ice (or just loads of little chunks of ice) and placing that in front of the blades. As the ice melts, your warm wind will turn to a gorgeous cool wind. The other thing you could do is face your fan toward the open window. This will then pull the warmness away from your room and toss it outside, where it belongs.