How to Create the Ultimate Home Environment with Light

Light is one of the most overlooked elements of interior design. If you’re a new homeowner, it’s important to remember that lighting is about more than just adding the right accessories. It combines a multitude of factors, including functionality, electricity, design, and sustainability. Below, we’ll go through some of the most important considerations when designing your home’s lighting setup.

Creating the Right Environment

Your first step should be to consider how the room is going to be used. Make a list of all the activities you can envision taking place in the room. Is it a stimulating environment that’s designed for productivity, or is it more of a relaxing space geared towards entertaining guests and spending time with loved ones? If you’ve just moved in, spend some time in the room at different times of the day. How much natural light comes into the room? Are there any dark spots that could use some fill? Creating the right environment is all about identifying your personal preferences based on your current lifestyle.

Maintaining the Flow of the Space

Lighting a room requires some insight into how people will interact with the space. How will they move through the room going from point A to point B? You don’t want your lighting fixtures to interrupt the flow of the space. If space is limited, you can always hang some of your fixtures from the ceiling. In order to do this properly, you need to consider the weight and size of the fixture. Bulky chandeliers and lights will need the support of a larger junction box.

Technical Considerations for Your Light Fixture

Before you get your heart set on a particular fixture, you need to consider a few technical specifications. How much voltage will the lighting fixture need? Some fixtures may need a transformer installed on the outlet. You also need to consider the wattage limit of the fixture. Store-bought fixtures should include this information. If you’re buying a fixture from a farmer’s market or an antique store, try to get as much information before leaving the store.

Use these tips to make the interior of your home more functional and attractive. If you want to take your home design skills to the next level, visit Chief Apprentice for your Chief Architect X9 training book, the best in home design software.

Learn How to Make Better Use of Your Outdoor Living Area

Having an outdoor living area is one of the best perks of being a homeowner. Unlike living in the big city or renting an apartment, you can soak up some sun and feel the breeze on your face as you lounge in nature. But so many homeowners overlook their backyard space, failing to capitalize on the natural beauty that surrounds their property. If you’re anxious to spend some more time outside when you’re at home, use these tips to transform your outdoor space into a world of wonders.

Nurture Your Green Thumb with a Home Garden

Gardening is a fabulous way to enjoy your backyard. You’ll have the satisfaction of growing your own flowers, herbs and vegetables. Even better, adding a garden to your backyard is a simple way to fill the space with luscious greens. You don’t need to spend a fortune to set up your home garden, just some fertilizer, seeds, and a barrier to protect your bounty from weeds. If you like to work with wood, you can quickly build a few raised garden beds to house your plants. Do some research to find out what kinds of plants are best suited to your geographic region.

Accent Your Property with Creative Landscaping

If you’re looking to shakeup your backyard, landscaping is a great way to show off your creative skills. You can guide your guests through the space using a series of stone walkways. To dazzle the eye, you can plant shrubs and bushes along the back of your home or the edge of your property. If you’re feeling ambitious, you might also want to think about adding a pond or a soothing waterfall. The sound of trickling water will help you unwind every time you step out of your house.

Get the Best of Both Worlds with an Enclosed Outdoor Space

Building an enclose space gives you the freedom to enjoy the outdoors without completely exposing yourself to the elements. You have so many options when setting up an enclosed space, whether it’s a sunroom off the back porch or a four-season room that you can enjoy all year long. Choosing the right enclosure all depends on the local climate and how much you plan on using the space. If you’re not worried about winter, you’re better off going with a classic sunroom. Adding a few screens will keep the bugs at bay without impeding the breeze.

If you’re not sure how to design your own enclosure, you can expand your knowledge with Chief Architect x9 for dummies. You can master your skills as a designer using the program’s tutorials and training sessions. From routine maintenance to designing an architectural wonder, you can achieve your home design dreams with one of the Chief Architect training books. Visit Chief Apprentice today to learn more!

4 Things to Consider Before Replacing Home Windows

New windows can do wonders for your home. They look nice, cut down on drafts, and potentially save you some money on your monthly energy bills. But, before you rush to spend a considerable chunk of your hard-earned cash on new windows, it’s important to do your homework. Here are 4 key things everyone should know before beginning a window replacement project:

Replace or repair?

Many people make the mistake of opting for a full window replacement before even considering whether or not their windows could be repaired. But, unless your old windows are completely falling apart, chances are they can be fixed. From replacing cracked panes, to adding new sash cords and hardware, to weather-stripping, glazing, and painting, an experienced handyman, carpenter or window specialist can make your windows look and function like new. So, before you go all-in on a replacement, look into repair, especially if you have an old home with nice wooden windows.

They won’t necessarily pay for themselves

A window replacement can be costly, but many people believe that new windows will automatically pay for themselves in the amount saved on heating and air conditioning bills. While this is possible, it is not universally true. If you have old single-paned windows in your home, new windows can make a significant impact on your monthly bills. That’s because newer dual-paned windows are roughly twice as effective at retaining heat and air conditioning than older single-paned windows. However, if your single-paned windows already have storm windows over them, your new windows are probably going to be somewhere closer to 15 percent more effective than your old ones. Which means it could take a lifetime to earn back your investment (up to 70 years according to some estimates).

Resale value

When it comes to getting a return on your window replacement investment, it’s important to consider aesthetics. That’s because, according to a 2016 cost versus value study by the national association of realtors, homeowners stand to get about 73 percent of their replacement window investment back when they resell the house. So, while your windows won’t necessarily pay for themselves via energy savings, they can really boost your home value. However, this all depends on what type of windows you choose. If you replace your original wood windows with a cheaper, less visually appealing style, your new windows can actually downgrade home. That’s why it’s best to choose windows that match the materials and aesthetic of your home.

Consider a retro-fit

If your windows are in bad shape, but you don’t have the budget for a full replacement, you might want to think about retro-fit windows. Retro-fit windows will leave the original frame in place, so they do not involve any demolition or damage to the surrounding wall or stucco. However, since retro-fit windows are designed to fit inside the existing frame, they will be slightly smaller than the old window, which means they are often less aesthetically pleasing than new windows.

Keeping these considerations in mind before your window replacement will help you avoid overpaying and/or getting stuck with windows that don’t add value to your home. And if you’d like to further enhance your home-improvement knowledge, or get into more advanced homebuilding and designing, visit chiefapprentice.com today and pick up your copy of the chief architect x9 training book. From remodels, to additions, to a complete new home build, our chief architect x9 tutorial guides will take you step by step through the whole process.

7 Quick and Easy Home Maintenance Tips

It’s perfectly understandable that many people are intimidated by home maintenance. You don’t want to break anything, or make a small problem worse. But, there are a surprising number of simple home fixes that anyone can handle regardless of their experience level. So, if you’re looking to spruce up your home, or just save a few bucks on basic home repair costs, take a look at these simple maintenance tips before you spend any of your hard-earned money on hiring a handyman:

  • Noisy doors

If you’re getting that haunted house sound every time you open your bedroom door, all you need to do to fix it is grease those door hinges. Just spray a lubricant, such as wd-40 onto the hinges while moving the door back and forth to help work the lubricant into the nooks and crannies. No wd-40 on hand? Try rubbing the hinges down with petroleum jelly instead.

  • Noisy hardwood flooring

If you don’t want to go through the trouble (and expense) of refinishing your floor, you can temporarily fix your squeaky hardwood by spreading some talcum powder over the noisy areas and sweeping it into the cracks between the panels. Just make sure that you remove all of the powder if and when you do decide to refinish the floor.

  • Sticky vinyl windows

If your vinyl windows or sliding doors aren’t opening and closing smoothly, it’s probably due to buildup in the channels. To get them sliding easily again, try spraying a dry ptfe lubricant, such as wd-40 specialist dirt and dust resistant dry lube, on the contact points and then wiping it off with a rag. You’ll want to avoid oil lubricants, which can attract dirt and sometimes damage the vinyl, which will only make your problem worse.

  • Broken or leaky shutoff valve

If you have a leaking or broken shutoff valve under your sink or behind your toilet, there’s usually no need to call the plumber. Most shutoff valves are quite easy to fix, and even easier to replace. First, you’ll want to turn off the main water valve to your home (if not, you’ll be in danger of flooding your bathroom or kitchen the moment you unscrew the shutoff valve). After your water is shut off, loosen the compression nut on your shutoff valve, and then unscrew the stem, remove the washer and take the washer to your local hardware store to find a replacement. Be sure to clean out the valve body before inserting the new washer. If you’re still having problems with your valve after that, simply remove the whole thing and buy a replacement at your hardware store (usually around $5-$10).

  • Scuffed linoleum floors

If you want to get rid of those unsightly scuffs on your kitchen or bathroom linoleum, all you need is a little good old-fashioned toothpaste. Take some white toothpaste and a dry cloth, and simply rub the scuffs away. If that doesn’t work, spray a little wd-40 on a towel and rub the scuffs lightly. Just make sure you get rid of the leftover wd-40 afterward with a little soap and water to avoid slips and falls.

  • Water stained walls and ceilings

Most people go straight to repainting a wall or ceiling to get rid of a water stain. But, some water stains can be erased with this simple and easy trick: fill a spray bottle with a bleach and water solution, using 1-part bleach to 10-parts water. Then just spray the unsightly spot and wait for about a day or two. Note: protect your eyes and skin from bleach with gloves and goggles, and cover your floor with plastic to avoid bleach spots. If the bleach doesn’t do the trick, you can also try a mold and mildew remover, which can be found at most grocery and home goods stores.

  • Hone your home improvement skills

These tips will help you liven up your home and keep it in tip-top shape from day to day. But, if you really want to ramp up your home improvement skills, or progress from simple maintenance to building and designing, visit ChiefApprentice.com today and get your Chief Architect X9 training book. Whether you’re looking to redesign your closet and shelving space, thinking about a full kitchen remodel, or looking into designing your own home from top to bottom, our chief architect training guides will take you step by step through the entire process.

Low Cost Ways to Improve Your Kitchen

Fast, Easy Remodeling Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of, if not the most important room in everyone’s house. We use it at least three times a day to feed ourselves and our loved ones. But an outdated or disorganized kitchen can be more of a nuisance than a luxury. Cooking a healthy meal at home might seem inconceivable if you don’t have the space or the tools to get things done. Even if you don’t have the kitchen of your dreams, you can still upgrade the space you have using a few DIY tips and tricks. The next time you find yourself avoiding your kitchen, try using these simple, low-cost ideas to make the most of the space you already have.

Hit the Reset Button with Cabinet Liners

The insides of cabinets often go unnoticed. We pile boxes and cans onto the shelves without a second thought. Meanwhile, dust, dirt, and bits of food can hide in all sorts of unusual places. Overtime, cabinets can become sticky, greasy, or simply disorganized. You can do your cabinets a favor by taking everything off the shelves and adding a new set of cabinet liners. This is a great opportunity to reorganize the storage space in your kitchen. You can scrub away those tired old stains and sticky spots. When you’re done, you’ll feel more organized and in control of the space.

Add a Permanent Cutting Board

If you’re dissatisfied with your countertops, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars remodeling the surfaces in your kitchen. You can cover large sections of your counterspace by adding an oversized ceramic or wood cutting board. You can wipe it down like an ordinary countertop or toss it in the dishwasher when it gets too dirty. Large cutting boards usually go for about $30 or more, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money.

Install a Hanging Rack for Pots and Pans

Most people complain about not having enough space in their kitchen. If you’re low on storage space, you can get those heavy pots and pans out of the way by hanging them from the ceiling or the wall. Large skillets eat up a lot of room with their large handles and awkward shapes. A series of sturdy hooks or a hefty hanging rack will help you free up some of that cabinet or counter space so you can make room for new items.

Get Remodeling Ideas with the free tutorials and tips at chiefacademyhomedesign.com.

Remodeling your kitchen or building a new one from scratch is a massive project. If you are saving up for that dream kitchen that you’ve had your eye on, you can start preparing for the big day with Chief Architect tutorials from ChiefAcademyHomeDesign.com. Chief Architect is a low-cost professional 3D residential design software that you can use to design and fully realize the ultimate residential kitchen, so you’ll know exactly how to make your cooking dreams come true. Learn the ins and outs of basic 3D residential design today with a copy of Chief Architect x9!

Quick Decorating Tips to Improve Any Room

Decorating your home can be fun, but it can also be time-consuming and even a bit stressful. Fortunately, there are some great strategies and tricks that can make the home design process go a lot smoother and result in a beautiful, unified space. Here are seven quick decorating tips that can help you improve any room.

1. You don’t need to choose a theme

Nautical? Beachy? Black and white? If you want to center your décor around a theme, go for it, but rest assured that it’s not necessary. There are also ways to subtly incorporate a theme without following obvious clichés. For instance, it’s possible to achieve a coastal vibe by incorporating certain colors and materials into the design; you don’t need to seashells and paintings of the sea to say “beach.”

2. Move furniture away from walls

Pushing furniture against the wall may give you more space to walk around, but if you have a small room it’s actually a good idea to pull furniture away from walls. This creates the illusion of more space and depth in a room.

3. Bring tired furniture back to life

Have an old upholstered chair? No need to get rid of it. Re-upholstering an old chair with a new, interesting fabric can brighten up a room.

4. Visually expand your space

Using light colors, letting in lots of natural light, and hanging large mirrors can all amplify your space.

5. Choose your paint color last

Many homeowners and renters think one of the first things they have to decide is the color of the walls. While it may be convenient to pick a color before you move in, keep in mind that each color looks different from home to home due to differences in light sources. You want a paint color that complements your rug, upholstery, artwork, and more, and you can only choose this color with everything in your home.

6. Hang artwork at the correct height

The average human eye level is 57 inches, and museums and galleries hang art so that the midline of each piece is 57–60 inches. This is also the height you should hang artwork at home.

7. Select a focal point

Choose one center point for your room and anchor everything else around that. Other items shouldn’t compete with this focal point for attention; rather, they should play secondary roles. The focal point can be items such as a headboard in the bedroom, a piece of artwork the dining room, the fireplace in the living room.

Try several of these tips to expand, unify, and liven up your room—all without too much effort. If you’re looking to ramp up your home design from decorating to building, visit ChiefApprentice.com to pick up your Chief Architect X9 training book.