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3 Study Tips for the New School Year

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

With summer coming to an end and the new school year a few days away there’s just enough time to put a few measures in place to ensure that your child is ready to make the best out of the new year. To help keep them focus and to help them succeed we have put a few simple yet effective home study tips together.

  • Consider implementing a homework schedule. Children are generally more successful with the completion of their homework shortly after school to decrease the likelihood of children demonstrating frustration, lack of motivation or behavior problems. Decide on the time homework should be started and ensure that they work in an area with minimal distractions. It is also good to offer your support when they are struggling.
  • Setting up a designated workspace or study area could provide a child with a good distraction-free workspace to help them remain focused on the task at hand. For many households the ideal area for setting up a workspace is the child’s bedroom. However, a study area can also be created in the living room or kitchen as long as distractions are limited. The area should also be well organized and clutter free to reinforce the value of organization and care of the environment.
  • To help keep your children organized, consider creating a “study file” by using either a file box or a cabinet drawer with separate files for the different subject area. This system gives children a place to place all their assignments, and it also helps them organize reference materials through the course of the school year.


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Study Tips for the New School Year

After several months away, preparations for a new school year can be overwhelming and intimidating.

Whether you spent the summer relaxing or working, transition to the routine of the school week can be a challenge. Some adjustments to personal habits, mental preparation, and simple organization of supplies can boost confidence of both the students and parents as the school year begins. Below are a few helpful tips:

1) A designated work area can make studying more fun and help motivate your child. Students require a work space that is quiet and limits distractions so that they can study effectively. As young as they may be it is beneficial to create an environment where they are able to complete their home assignments, study and read. To maximize efficiency in this work space, try out these simple organization tips:

a) Keep the area neat and clutter free. Ensure that there is adequate space for the basics and get rid of everything else!

b) Having a personalized calendar to keep track of assignments throughout the school term can help students remember the work that needs to be done – some children need extra help remaining organized and remembering their assignments.

c) Including a clock in the study area can also help them stay on schedule. A clock matching the decor of the study area would be a great idea. Musical wall clocks that emit a tune after a certain period of time such as a cuckoo clock are great for children.
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Design Tips for Your Small Kitchens

Many homeowners dream of having a large kitchen with ample floor space that can accommodate all their appliances and furniture, possibly designed with a decent sized island capable of sitting the entire family. But the reality is that when the total floor space of the home is limited it usually results in a small kitchen in order to allow for the other rooms to be larger. And at times it may prove difficult trying to make a small space function as it should while making the room look stylish, and spacious. Difficult yes, but not impossible. Here are six (6) tips that you can use to give your small kitchen a spacious feel.


  • A functional floor plan is important regardless of the size of your kitchen. The most fundamental appliances (the stove and the refrigerator) as well as everything else in the space should be easily accessible. Also, ensure that there is enough countertop, and cabinet and cupboard space.
  • It will be very difficult for a compact kitchen to effectively function with large appliances that take up most of the space. When buying items for the kitchen you will need to scale down the size of the appliances to save on space.
  • Using glass is one of the easiest ways to make a kitchen look and feel larger. Glass surfaces reflect light which helps visually expand the room. Consider including glass furniture, or glass counters, tiles, cabinets or doors. One or two mirrors can also be placed in strategic areas in the kitchen where they would be most effective in reflecting light.
  • Using too many colors in a small space will overwhelm the room so consider sticking with a single color or a monochromatic color scheme. Light colors are known to reflect light and draw the eye upwards making ceilings appear higher and the room by extension larger. Regardless of the color(s) that you choose keep the kitchen appliances and décor in mind.
  • In a small room storage is extremely important so having ample cupboard space is a must. However, having too much of anything has its drawbacks. In the case of cabinetry including too much can make the room feel claustrophobic. One way to get an open feel while maximizing on storage space is by trading the cupboards for open shelving. If you do not like this option, cabinets with glass doors are a good alternative. Other options to consider are installing pot racks and spice holders on the walls. Or maybe including a pantry where items can be stored in bulk to cut down on the need for cupboards.
  • Ensure there is sufficient light. Light plays a major role in the atmosphere of a room so no matter what you do to create a spacious environment, if the lighting in the room is bad it will always feel small and stuffy. To set an ideal ambiance, a compact kitchen requires a combination of both task lighting and atmospheric lighting.
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3 Simple Tips to Improve Your Living Room

Interior design is defined as the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building or room to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. As a home owner it is important that your home environment is healthy, while being both stylish and functional. In today’s article we share three simple interior design tips to improve your living room.

  • Repainting the walls is a rather cost effective way to uplift any room. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to bring new life into the living room. If your living room is not as large as you would like add light colors to help the space appear larger. A fresh coat of paint would not only be useful for the walls. Doors, tables and other pieces of furniture can make a big difference to a room with a little touch of paint.
  • The inclusion of plants in your living room is a budget friendly way to beautify the room while adding a dash of color and texture. Not only do they add beauty but plants also help purify the air, making it easier to breathe and relax. This has been proven to reduce stress levels and improve focus and creativity.
  • Rather than replacing your current pieces of furniture consider having them updated. Depending on the quality of your furniture, this can be a much more affordable option than replacing it. Give it serious consideration. Does your entire couch need to go or can a little bit of work make it as good as new while saving you money?

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Eat-In Kitchen or Dining Room?

If you could only have one in your dream home, would you rather an eat-in kitchen or a formal dining room?


The option of eating in the kitchen has always held a strong appeal. An eat-in kitchen is a kitchen designed to accommodate meals and is ideal for multitasking. It provides a place for friends and family members to casually socialize and enjoy a meal, while also serving as a food preparation area. In addition, an eat-in kitchen is not limited to any particular arrangement and chairs and tables can be added and rearranged at ease.


Depending on the size of your kitchen, you have a number of choices for creating an eat-in kitchen:

  • Where there is not sufficient space a breakfast bar or Kitchen Island would work great with imaginative counter stools.
  • If there is a bit more space available consider adding a welcoming breakfast area.
  • For large kitchens in homes with large families including a dining table that seats a larger number of people is a good option. This provides the option of having a more formal dining area if a separate dining room is not an option.


If you desire to include an option for formal family meals or host formal social gatherings a dining room would be more beneficial than an eat-in kitchen. The typical dining room contains a table and chairs arranged along the ends of the table, with other pieces of practical storage or decorative furniture.


Décor such as flowers, vases, mirrors and photos of family or sceneries are excellent items for uplifting a dining room.  Corner tables are also great for a dining room design.  They can be used to display decorative items as well as to provide a place for visitors to rest items such as cell phones, glasses, etc. while they dine.  Cupboards to hold dining tools are both decorative and practical furniture that can be included in this space.


You do not necessarily have to make a choice between eat-in kitchen and a dining room. If the space available and your budget allows, you can have both an area for just your family to eat in a rush in the morning before going out for the day as well as for a space to spend quality time over a meal with family and for formal gatherings with both family and friends.

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Add a Backsplash to Your Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen backsplashes are easy-to-clean, vertical extensions to the kitchen countertops that protect the kitchen walls from being splattered with oil and food. They also prevent spilled liquids from leaking behind the kitchen cabinets. Installing a kitchen backsplash helps to keep the wall over the countertop dry and clean. A distinctive backsplash can also help a kitchen look great. It gives the room a finished quality.

When it comes to choosing a style for kitchen backsplash, you have myriad of options in front of you. If you have decided to remodel your kitchen, installing a tile backsplash is a great idea! Here are a few options available:-

Ceramic Tiles
One of the best backsplash tile ideas. Ceramic tiles are known for their durable and flexible nature, and hence, using these tiles for backsplash is the best way to improve the kitchen decor. Moreover, ceramic tiles are easy to clean, they come in a large variety of colors and patterns, they are available at an economic price range and you can install them anywhere on the kitchen wall, since they are easy to cut and fix. A large range of colors and patterns of ceramic tile backsplash designs, enable you to install a kitchen backsplash that will blend very well with pattern and colors of other kitchen components, which include, the wall, countertop and kitchen cabinets. Another advantage of using ceramic tiles is, ceramic tile backsplash installation is an easy Do-It-Yourself project and may not require professional help.

Glass Tiles
For a unique and exotic kitchen backsplash idea, installing glass tiles can be a good option. With the help of reflective and glossy surface of these glass tiles, you can give a splendid and sophisticated look to your kitchen decor. Some of the attractive features of these glass tiles are, non-porous and stain resistant. Due to the reflective and shiny nature of these glass tiles, these tiles can help to give an illusion of extra space for small kitchens. Using these tiles for kitchen backsplash will add brightness, and also make the kitchen look bigger. So, if you want to give a dramatic and unique look to your kitchen interior then you can certainly opt for these backsplash tiles. But, before that, make a note that glass tiles are a bit expensive, and you may have to pour some extra money for installing glass tile backsplash.

Tin Tiles
When you want to go for an economic backsplash along with easy installation, tin tiles can give you the best deal. Tin tiles, which are also referred as tin ceiling tiles, are durable, light weight and are available in a variety of designs, finishings and patterns. Black, silver, burgundy, white, golden are some of the colors available in tin tiles. These tiles can also be painted, and you can choose a color that goes well with other kitchen components. Installing these tin tiles for backsplash is quite easy and you need to simply nail these tiles in the wall. Hence, with these tin ceiling tiles and panels you can give a vintage look to your kitchen interior at an economic budget.

If you would have to choose one of the above types of tile backsplash options, which one would you choose and why?

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Interior design tips – Small bedroom arrangement

When arranging the bedroom, consider the location of the doors and windows, the room’s dimension and the size of your furniture. The bed is most likely the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom, so you should probably start there. Try placing it on the wall opposite the bedroom’s door; it creates a pleasant view upon entering the room. You can also consider placing it along the room’s longest wall; most times there is one wall that is not interrupted by windows or doors.

If your closet is moveable, it should be placed using similar logics to the bed because of its size, appearance and frequency of usage.

Your dresser in usually the second largest furniture in the bedroom; if it can function as a television stand, place it across from the bed.

Still have space? A bedside table can be introduced. A lamp and other bedside necessities can rest on top of it and it can also be used for additional storage.

If there is still more space available, consider a desk and chair dressed with a mirror or office material where you can do a bit of work comfortably.

A small bench at the end of your bed would be ideal for short sits and appropriate for putting on shoes in the morning.

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Beautify and make the Foyer functional

We are inside, and just entered the Foyer! Typically, it is a small hallway or open space at the main entrance of a building that acts as a reception area for visitors.  In large buildings such as cinemas, concert halls, theatres etc. it is used like a lobby where users gather before and in between events.  This architectural design element is used to welcome the guests into the house or apartment and often helps visitors orient themselves before moving into a specific room of the home.

The foyer is one area where function should take precedence over design.  To create the perfect foyer, first think of how your family uses this area.  You may use the space in a foyer for more than welcoming guests.  Depending on its size and shape, your foyer can serve either of the following multiple functions in addition to providing pleasant aesthetics.

Reception Area

Create a warm and inviting reception area for guests as well as yourself. A freestanding wood or metal coat rack provides a spot to hang jackets, coats, hats and scarves.  Some coat racks incorporate a stand for umbrellas.  Situate a console/wall table against a wall to place books, papers, purses and other items upon entering your home.  A vase of fresh flowers sitting atop the table adds an inviting touch.  Hang a decorative mirror above the console to quickly check your appearance.  Make a dramatic impression by suspending a sparkling chandelier overhead.

Sitting Area

A foyer can provide an ideal spot to sit.  Situate a small bench, chair or ottoman against a wall to supply a seat while you’re slipping on shoes or making a quick phone call.  Placing a phone in this area is convenient so you can easily answer the telephone on your way in or out of the house.  Large foyers can accommodate more spacious, plusher seating, such as a pair of armchairs with an accent table positioned between them.  This sitting area is convenient if you have a visitor that you would rather not enter further into your home or does not need to do so, like door to door salesmen.  Add a table or floor lamp to provide illumination for reading or writing.  A small settee or comfortable chaise lounge provides alternative seating options.  Situate toss pillows in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes atop a settee or chaise to add color, comfort and texture.

Use your foyer as a well-designed storage area. For example, construct an attractive built-in bench with storage cabinets and drawers hidden below the seat.  Situate a decorative chest of drawers, armoire, bookcase or dresser against a foyer wall to provide visual interest and additional storage space so that you can store items that you commonly need when leaving your home.  Set a small tray or bowl atop a table for keys, wallets and other small items. You also may place a sofa table adjacent to a wall, tucking large woven storage baskets underneath. Floating shelves attached to the wall supply a storage area without taking up additional floor space.  Storage ottomans provide convenient seating and a hidden place for items.

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10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

  1. Give considerable thought to the individual or business you will hire to perform your construction or related projects. Pay particular attention to contractors offering their services at a considerably lower price – while you may save a few dollars at the time, you may end up paying a lot more over the life of the service or product.


  1. Talk to more than one specialist, this will allow you to develop a better understanding of the process. Knowledge gives power to negotiate.


  1. If you know you need to renovate or extend your building, don’t wait until the problem gets worst to get estimates and select a contractor e.g.if you know you need a new roof then don’t wait until you have water coming in from your second floor ceiling.


  1. Do a bit of research. If you have a friend who is more knowledgeable than yourself, invite them to take a look.  This allows you to give the contractor more specific information or details about the problem.


  1. Past clients or projects are a great way to learn about contractors and their capability. So go ahead and ask a neighbor or a friend for recommendations, look for completed jobs in the neighborhood. Now-a-days it’s all out there on the internet, check business websites to see their profile of completed jobs.


  1. Yes I am part of a company that provides construction services but I will still go ahead and say it – negotiate fiercely and make it clear to the contractor that you are looking for the best quality job at the best possible price. Remember, you are in charge and it’s your project and money so demand a great end product/service at a great price. It’s not always true that you have to pay ridiculous prices for great work but it is expected that the best quality work will come at a bit higher cost.


  1. Obtain and review at least three written estimates to compare what a job should cost. Once this is done, you’ll have a sense of which contractor to use.  Meet with the contractor again, at this point discuss any other qualms you may have with his estimate.


  1. Of course get everything in writing.


  1. After selecting a contractor, stay close to them; check the work and ask questions. A good contractor would know to keep the customer updated with work progress by submitting reports at agreed intervals and will seek permission before making any deviations from the original plans.


  1. If at the end of the project the contractor has done a great job ask for some business cards and pass around to friends and family.
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Add Value to Your Home

The saying goes, “First impressions are lasting ones.”  Most, if not all of us, have heard this common saying which simply means that people will remember the way you appear when you first meet them, so it is important to look and act your best when you meet someone for the first time. While a property valuation provides an opinion of how much a property is worth, prospective buyers tend to value properties based on what they see and not just based on facts and figures. This can greatly hinder the sale of a property because even if a property is listed below market value, if it does not look appealing to prospects, they may shy away from the opportunity to own a potentially remarkable property.

It is therefore worthwhile for a seller to ensure that their property looks almost flawless, if not flawless, so that its appearance can match or even exceed its selling price or value.  We share a few simple improvements that can help any property be more alluring to prospective buyers.

While you may not be financially able to take on major renovations, especially if you are trying to spend as little as possible before putting the property on the market, these few simple upgrades can help a seller in getting a sale.

  • In the kitchen, installing countertops made from engineered stone or granite, can easily improve the aesthetic appeal of the space. Simple details such as replacing cabinet knobs or installing a new faucet for the sink can make a big difference. If you desire a bigger change consider knocking down a full or half wall to connect the kitchen to a living room to provide a more spacious feel.
  • In the bathroom, consider having the toilet and vanity replaced. A toilet that looks old or does not work properly is a turn-off. If you can’t afford purchasing a new toilet or the current one is still in working condition simply have it thoroughly cleaned and or replace the seat. This should make it appear as good as new. Similarly to the kitchen simple things can make a difference. Removing rust stains, updating doorknobs and cabinet knobs, and replacing faucets can make the bathroom look more welcoming.
  • You do not have to consider undergoing major repairs or a complete renovation to improve your home. Simply things such as repair of plumbing leaks, replacement of worn out rain gutters, replacement or repair of broken windows can go a long way in making a property more appealing. Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only moneywise, prospective buyers tend to focus on what needs to be fixed and use these to justify negotiating a lower price.
  • Repaint the interior walls with neutral colors such as beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray or shades of white which will make the rooms appear lighter and bigger.

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