Decisions, decisions, decisions. When it comes to making your home and life beautiful, thousands of decisions need to be made. Whether it’s updating the landscaping, adding a mud room, or revising the layout of your home, it’s important to take action to enhance the enjoyment of your time on earth and with your loved ones.
National Make Life Beautiful Day on June 11 is a reminder to all of us to create beauty in our lives, and what better way to start than right at home. While your home will never be perfect, it’s easy to make small improvements that make life more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.
How to Make Your Home Look and Feel More Beautiful
Whether you’re planning a completely new landscape or simply updating your existing one, it’s easy to make it look more beautiful and improve your home’s value and curb appeal. Strategic landscaping doesn’t just look good, trees and shrubs can also provide privacy, shade, and protection against winds and snow. Done well, your plants can accentuate all the best features of your yard while hiding the more problematic areas.
Here are some tips for maximizing the potential of your landscape:
- Consider using xeriscaping (drought-tolerant landscaping) practices to save water, reduce environmental impact, and select plants more suitable to the local climate.
- Consider hiring a landscape architect who can help you create a plan for your land.
- Start the planning process by drawing a base plan of the property, including any driveways, walkways, trees, and water features. Show the directions of wind and sun patterns and note drainage patterns. Note all the areas you want to cover and which views you want to preserve.
- As you walk around your neighborhood, take pictures of all of the landscaping designs and features you admire.
- Keep trees, shrubs, and plants away from the structure of the house. Avoid any plant bridges from wood to structure, such as tree branches, to avoid pest problems.
- Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home to block the summer while also allowing the natural heat of the sun to hit the home during winter. Use dense evergreens on the north and northwest sides to block winter winds.
Here are four design elements of a beautiful yard:
- Composition – Everything should fit together naturally, like a beautiful painting or piece of music. Think of balance and location. Make sure elements aren’t too large or small for their location.
- Scale – Usually scale problems are created when people underestimate the mature size of trees and shrubs. Be careful about planting anything too close to your house or garage.
- Color – Think about how you can use color and variety to create interest. Interesting patterns, structures, colors, and other elements can liven up an otherwise boring landscape.
- Texture – In addition to color and type, consider texture as well. You generally want to match up textures that have a similar look and feel. For instance, you don’t want to plant a sharp pine tree next to a soft willow.
A beautiful yard is something you know when you see it. While there may be some things you can never fix, such as telephone poles, utility boxes, nearby buildings, and other problems, a few small changes can make a big difference.
Plants Need Water
Water is one of the basic elements of life. If you want healthy, strong plants, it’s important to water your plants properly. But it’s not as simple as turning on the hose. Watering is probably the easiest thing to get wrong, and if you do, no amount of watering is going to bring dead grass and plants back to life.
How often you water depends mostly on the soil and the weather. Water requirements also vary depending on the plant type and its roots. The deeper the roots, the longer the plant can go without water. And some plants are much more drought tolerant than others.
Here are a few tips for successful watering:
- Most grass needs about 1 inch of water per week. If you overwater, the result is runoff so keep on the lookout for puddles and excess water.
- The ideal times for watering are before dawn or after dark. Mid-afternoon is the least efficient time to water. You’ll end up wasting water and potentially causing stress on your plants and city water systems.
- Sandy and aerated soils are more porous and water can seep through quicker. Clay and compact soils retain water for longer periods of time, but the water takes longer to absorb.
- During normal conditions, the average water schedule is every other day. Establish a regular water schedule that works for your landscape.
Contact the professionals at HELP to install sprinklers and irrigation systems for a reliable watering solution. This will ensure you never forget to water your plants. You can program your sprinkler or irrigation system to turn on in the middle of the night or early morning to save water and properly time your watering. Because these systems are consistent and reliable, you’ll avoid the harmful effects of the feast-and-famine approach.
There are many different systems to choose from so speak with a professional before you choose one. A professional technician will know which system and components will fit the needs of your property.
Ceiling fans are very affordable and cost mere pennies to run. While they don’t actually lower the temperature of the room, they make bodies feel a lot cooler, allowing you to turn the thermostat up about 5 degrees with no noticeable change in comfort. New design enhancements make them more precise and efficient than ever. Not only do they save you money and energy, they can also provide beautiful lighting and keep mosquitoes and other bugs away if placed outdoors.
Kitchen and Bathroom Remodel
When it comes to added real estate value, nothing beats a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Since the kitchen is the main hub of the home, you want to pay close attention to the design. Especially in smaller kitchens, the details really show.
Here are some tips for designing a beautiful kitchen:
- Take note of how you use the space. Write down any major problems that prevent you from being comfortable or efficient. Don’t forget to make note of the things you enjoy about the space.
- After identifying the pros and cons, let your imagination run wild. Use the internet to consider all the possibilities. Save all of your pictures and notes in a folder.
- Keep in mind that there are many codes and regulations specified by your local building code. There are specific rules for plumbing and electrical repairs and installations. In addition to the legal requirements, there are also kitchen and bathroom remodeling standards that provide best practices for layout.
- Create a budge to keep costs from spiraling out of control. Make a list of all the materials, fixtures, and appliances you plan on using with the cost of each item listed.
You will need to hire professionals to plan and complete your dream kitchen and bathroom. Before you hire any designers or contractors, make sure you check references and look them up online on trusted sites such as the Better Business Bureau. Never hire someone just because they offer the lowest bid. Once you’ve chosen the professional you want to work with, meet with them in person to go over the details before signing a contract.
Just like a kitchen remodel, a bathroom remodel is a big undertaking that requires careful planning. If you want a beautiful bathroom that provides functionality, speak with a professional and create detailed plan drawings.
Here are some tips for planning your kitchen and bathroom remodel:
- Select cabinets, appliances, and fixtures that fit your home design and layout.
- Get accurate work bids in writing when working with designers, electricians, plumbers, and other contractors.
- Obtain a building permit at your local building inspections office, however, your contractor might handle this for you.
- Evaluate the work of contractors and if they fail to meet your expectations, make sure you have proof that the contractor did not complete the work as promised.
Mudroom and Shoe Rack
A well-designed entryway is both beautiful and functional. Make sure there is space to put on and remove shoes and coats. This drop zone or mudroom helps keep your home a lot cleaner and more organized. You’ll always know where your shoes, backpacks, and gym bags are. Additionally, you won’t track harmful outdoor pollutants into the home, such as E. coli, klebsiella pneumonia, serratia ficaria, and fecal matter.
In addition to a coat rack or closet, add a bench to make it easy to remove shoes and put on house slippers. This may also be a great spot for a locker and laundry basket, especially if you have athletes in the house. Many homeowners use their rear entry as the mudroom, unlike formal foyers that can be kept much cleaner.
Don’t forget about important spring cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming and changing the AC filter.
Front Door and Porch
First impressions matter. The first thing people are greeted by is your front door and, if you’re lucky enough to have one, your porch. To get the right look for your front door area think of lighting and leisure. Adding stylish lighting fixtures and considering proper size and placement will make the ordinary threshold you cross each day into a beautiful recognition that you’re home.
For your porch:
Plants – Hanging plants and flower pots not only adds beauty but also creates a sort of boundary between you and the world beyond your personal porch. Growing ivy or allowing vines to take their course around porch columns will also eventually create a more concealed effect and feeling.
Swings and chairs – A porch swing is the quintessential accessory for a farm-style home. If not a porch swing, rocking chairs will add the charm you’re seeking. Even small porches still have room for a rocking chair or two.
Fresh Coat of Paint
Paint commercials make it look easy, but painting is a lot harder than it seems. You’ll need to remove hardware, protect floors, mask glass, paint sashes, caulk seams and corners, fill defects, paint trim, and paint walls while making sure you bought the right materials and are using the right techniques.
Although difficult, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to transform and personalize your interior. You don’t have to paint the whole room either. Try updating the molding and millwork or just paint one wall or ceiling. You can also choose beautiful wallpaper or textured velvet to match your décor.
Here are a few tips when painting your home:
- Choose high-quality paint. It will look better and make the job much easier.
- We recommend semigloss for trim windows and doors, low-sheen for walls, and flats or mattes for ceilings.
- Choose paint with zero or low VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are known for causing health problems, including headaches, respiratory disease, and even cancer. Avoid using VOCs in the home as much as possible.
The success of your painting job depends on the products you buy and the care that goes into preparing, cleaning, and painting your walls. Learn how to paint like a pro.
Indoor plants don’t just add beauty to your home, they’ve also been shown to increase creativity, improve mood, and reduce stress. They are also excellent natural coolants and air cleaners, especially aloe vera, snake plants, willow-leaf fig, and rhapis palm. And fresh-cut flowers are always a great way to brighten up a room. Learn more how to improve indoor air quality.
Health and functionality is beautiful. Contact the plumbing and HVAC experts at HELP to improve the health and efficiency of your home and family. We’re proud to serve homeowners in the following areas: Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, including West Harrison, Indiana.