Pendants? Chandeliers? Recessed Lighting? Here’s How to Make Your Friends Envy Your Kitchen. The Best Way to Choose Lighting Fixtures For the Room

It is easy to overlook the importance of lighting when decorating your kitchen. You spend so much of your time choosing the best cabinets and the best appliances and forget all about lighting. You should know, that kitchen lighting and ceiling fans can do more than just illuminate your kitchen; they can also decorate as well as accent the best parts of your kitchen design.

You must first decide what the most valuable function of your kitchen lighting is. For some people, just being able to see what you are cooking may be all you need from kitchen lighting. If you tend to eat in your kitchen a lot, you may want the power to dim the lighting to create a romantic ambiance. If you have a large kitchen, you may want to be able to provide more lights in one area than another, so you should consider task lighting fixtures, such as pendant lights. 

Choose fluorescent lighting if efficiency and the need to go extended periods without changing bulbs is foremost. Pop a fluorescent bulb into the fixture and just forget about it for months at a time. To get the most out of these lights, you need to install them so that the light bounces off the ceiling. Get a proper fixture and you won’t have the problem of the bulbs blinding you when you turn them on. Fluorescent bulbs work best in compact kitchens and with light-colored walls.

Buy incandescent lights to endow your kitchen with a warmer, cozier feel. There are two important considerations to incandescent bulbs, however. The most important may be that they burn out much more quickly than fluorescent lights. The other consideration may either be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on where you live. Incandescent lights generate more heat than other types of bulbs, making them preferable for those living in cooler climates but not so great for those living in warmer regions. 

Consider halogen lights for large kitchens where you want to decorate with accent lighting or specific task lighting. Halogen lights are a terrific choice for placing over islands, cabinets or long countertops where you prepare food. You can use halogen bulbs in track lights or directional fixtures. Halogen lamps are also excellent for motion control fixtures that automatically turn on when you move to a different area of the kitchen.

Identify the work areas in your kitchen. Task lighting are direct beams of light that illuminate a designated work area. These could include prep stations for making coffee or using the cutting board, sinks, desks or tables.

Install lighting fixtures above those areas. Some people use halogen bulbs, as they produce a light glow, but they aren’t too harsh. Others use fluorescent bulbs in all fixtures because they are energy efficient. 

  • A popular choice for task lighting is under cabinet lights. These can be installed when you get new cabinets, or they can be screwed into place later. If you like this idea and you are getting new cabinetry, make sure it leaves enough room at the bottom to shed light on your work area.

Choose a fixture that goes with your overall décor. Unless you plan to recess a large fixture, you will want to be assured of the lighting quality and aesthetic look before buying.

Use accent lighting to highlight a particular aesthetic element of your kitchen. Adding lighting above or beneath your cabinets is also a way to add a decorative touch to your kitchen. Directional track lighting is one easy way to cast a light upon a pretty picture hanging on the wall or a shiny new appliance. If you have a large kitchen, another consideration is to add a little flair with chandelier lighting or a ceiling fan.

Moving Into a New House With Children? This Can Be a Stressful Scenario, But it Doesn’t Have to Be. Read These Tips to Make the Move a Swift One

It’s easy for parents to feel completely stressed and overwhelmed during a move, and the weeks leading up to it; actually, it usually causes a lot of fights between spouses. Things can get pretty complicated once you add in schools activities, friends and travel time. It isn’t a secret that moving with kids can be tough, but what is mildly surprising is that most parents regret buying their house. There are many reasons, but here are some ways that parents can avoid regretting their home decision.

 Most home buyers are aware that they are going to have to make some compromises, but you need to be able to separate a compromise from an actual deal breaker. The largest regret is commute time. Be honest about whether you can live with driving 45 minutes every day to take your kids to school, and another 15 to get to work.

Also don’t kid yourself on what deal breakers you have in regards to home features. For example, if you want a big yard, a playroom, and a large patio, don’t compromise. If you know you need those things, don’t settle for a house without them because you are wow-ed by it the rest of it.

Don’t forget to factor in the costs for all of the home. It’s going to cost you more than just a mortgage. You’ll have taxes, utilities, maintenance, to name a few. Money is one of the biggest things couples fight over after buying a house. You can avoid this if you both are completely prepared for what you will be spending. 

You should absolutely also consider hiring someone to watch the kids while they spend a day visiting houses, and should only bring kids along when you’ve narrowed down the options.

Getting your kids set up in their new school can pose its own challenges; it can take over a month to get them fully settled in. Study your options regarding babysitters well before you move to make the transition easier. You won’t fully settle into your home for about a year. If you’re having a tough time after a few months, don’t be upset. It takes time to acclimate to a new area and a brand new house.

Ask for help!
The number one way to ease stress during a move is to ask for help. Ask someone to babysit, and call a housekeeper to clean. It may seem like you can do it all yourself, but you can’t. Also, sometimes its more worth it to spend money in order to spare yourself from major strain. You can’t put a cost on happiness, sometimes.

Having a Hard Time Finding the Right Bathroom Fixtures? Everything You Need to Know From Finishes to the Plumbing is Right Here

Plumbing fixtures are the main event in the bathroom: toilet, sink, shower and tub. The best way to begin selecting these essentials is to visit a bathroom showroom where you can see and try, and ask questions. Your designer (if you have one) will guide you through the selection process and make recommendations, as will a professional in a plumbing showroom who is well-versed in the latest technologies. If you don’t have a designer, don’t fret. Salespeople are very knowledgeable and can assist you. Revisit that priority list as you make fixture selections; the important thing here is to be practical. Do you like faucets with separate knobs for hot and cold water or a single hand control?

When it comes to shower fixtures, you have a few options. Body sprayers placed throughout the shower can massage the body or produce a relaxing mist. Rain shower heads give you the feeling of standing underneath a water fall. And there’s no need to limit yourself to just one shower head. Dual fixtures mean more than one person can enjoy the shower at a time. These luxury fixtures aren’t limited to the master bath. 

Manufacturers are making more cost-effective products that you can use in a standard bathroom. Various platforms for shower fixtures include the typical wall mount, hand-held units, rain showers and combo packs that include a rain shower or wall mount plus shower head. Here is a round-up of various types of popular shower heads you’ll come across: 

  • Wall-mount unit: This is the basic fixture, nothing fancy but highly functional.
  • Hand-held unit: The ability to remove the shower head for cleaning and bathing is a true convenience. A hand-held can offer multiple functions, such as a very targeted strong spray for cleaning and a soft spray for bathing children.
  • Rain shower head: You’ll get full coverage and a waterfall experience with this unit, but be careful that it has an engine and is pressurized. You don’t want rain shower droop.
  • Body sprays: You can purchase drill-less slide bars with flush-mount body sprays and you won’t damage your shower if you decide to try the technology. However, it is a commitment to drill a fixture into your wall. The slide bars on which body sprays are fixed are mounted to the shower with suction cups on this Moen product.

In regards to sinks, the vessel sink is ideal for a powder room and serves as a focal point, but in a full or master bath, some find this configuration is less functional than a deeper, undermounted sink with a nice, arching faucet that is easy to operate with a single handle. You must decide if it is more important to you how the sink looks, or how it works. 

Pedestal style sinks are timeless space savers, and their bowls are available in oblong, rectangular or traditional oval shapes. Glass sinks can be dropped in and under-mounted, or installed with an integrated glass top. Taking it a step further, cast iron allows users to have more finishes like a black-and-tan, sea salt or ember.

Faucets. Aside from water efficiency, today’s faucets are highly functional with features like integrated ceramic disks within the fixture that help grind away buildup that causes leaks.

When it comes to toilets, you’ll have to decide if you want a standard toilet, or a taller one. Taller toilets are usually more comfortable for most homeowners, except for children. The decision actually might be more difficult than you might think. You can spend a couple hundred dollars or several thousand, especially for one-piece toilets that are sleek looking but require more labor on the manufacturing end, which drives up the price.

Selecting Flooring is No Easy Matter. Here’s a Great Guide to Help You Choose the Right Material For Your Brand New Floors

Choosing a new floor can make your head spin.  There are many materials to choose from and each type has a gamut of options to go along with it. Also, depending on the room and the flow of traffic, there are a variety of considerations to think about. This guide explains the eight most popular types of flooring materials, where they’re best used and their pros and cons. 

Hardwood floors are the typical favorite. Thanks to hardwood’s durability and warm, natural feel, it continues to be the flooring of choice for many homeowners. Of the hardwoods, oak remains the most popular choice, but other woods like cherry and imported exotic woods such as Brazilian cherry or Tasmanian oak are definitely worth considering. Hardwood floors come in a variety of styles such as plank, parquet and prefinished boards that you can install yourself.

Laminate
Laminate flooring is one of the most popular flooring choices around. It’s easier to install than solid-wood hardwood floors and is much less expensive. Laminate floors get their name because they’re composed of different wood-based materials that are layered, or laminated, together then topped with a wood grain photographic imprint on the face of each board. 

A variation on true laminate floors are engineered wood floors. Engineered wood consists of a real hardwood veneer attached to a number of plywood layers. This is a little more expensive than laminate because the top layer is real wood rather than a photographic imprint. This top layer of wood gives engineered wood floors a much more convincing sound, feel and look than laminate.

Bamboo
Unlike hardwood floors, the material used to create bamboo floors is not a tree, but actually a lightweight woody grass. This fast-growing, regenerating plant has the tensile strength of steel, which makes for a highly durable floor that resists swelling and contraction with changes in humidity. Bamboo flooring is pre-finished and engineered with tongue-and-groove joints, just like standard solid wood flooring. Bamboo is grown in controlled forests and takes just three to five years to reach maturity, as compared to old-growth hardwoods that can take 120 years to grow to full size. 

Cork
Like bamboo, cork is a green flooring alternative. Another bonus of cork is that the wood’s honeycomblike cellular structure gives the flooring a cushiony feel underfoot. This distinctive structural characteristic also causes cork floors to absorb vibrations and sound, and they bounce back if dented. Cork flooring is available in pre-finished tiles in a range of finishes. The tiles have a natural, nonslip surface that makes cork ideal for wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms.

Linoleum
Linoleum’s current popularity is primarily due to its appeal as a green flooring choice. Linoleum is considered eco-friendly because it’s made from all natural materials and does not deplete forests. It’s made primarily of linseed oil, rosins and wood flour. Because linoleum is composed of natural materials, it creates no adverse health issues during production, installation, use or disposal. The bactericidal properties of natural linoleum stop microorganisms from multiplying, so you often see natural linoleum floors in many hospitals.

In addition to the health benefits, linoleum flooring is antistatic, reducing the potential for electric shock. It is available in tiles in a wide range of vibrant colors, which can be combined to create distinctive patterns.

Tile
Porcelain is a popular choice as is terra cotta and natural stone, such as marble, granite, travertine or slate. When selecting tile on a budget, porcelain is the most cost-effective. It combines the beauty and hardness of stone, but costs considerably less and is much easier to maintain than marble, which is porous and must periodically be resealed. Glazed porcelain tile is durable enough to handle heavy traffic areas and is available in a wide range of hues, textures and finishes. 

Vinyl
One of the most value-conscious flooring options today is vinyl. It’s an especially popular choice for rooms that are prone to moisture problems, such as basements, bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl is also easy to clean and softer underfoot than tile. Vinyl is available as sheets and self-stick tiles, and it is sold in a variety of widths and thicknesses. One rule to remember when selecting vinyl is the thicker it is, the more traffic it can bear.

Concrete
Concrete is one of the hottest flooring options today. With the wide range of sealers and specialty stains currently on the market, plain and gray concrete can be stamped and stained to resemble polished marble, tumbled stone, or brick pavers.