Light blocking curtains, sometimes known as blackout curtains or lined blackout curtains, can be a very appealing and functional interior design touch. Once you understand the main elements involved in choosing your light blocking curtains, you’ll be able to  successfully install and utilize them to their maximum effectiveness.

Take Measurements

Blackout curtain drapes or blackout window curtains come from the factory in many different sizes, shapes and styles. Since the main purpose of these curtains is to perform the function of blocking out daylight, it’s essential to take accurate measurements around all of the windows and glass doors in which you intend to hang them. You need to always measure a little wider and lower so that the drapes extend past the corners, bottoms, and sides of the glass where all possible outdoor light can come in.

Are they Dark Enough?

Blackout curtains come in several colors. But they’re all usually dark enough to serve the purpose of blocking the light out of your home, apartment or condominium. If you’re buying them because you want to be able to sleep comfortably during the day when the sun’s bright, then you should carefully choose the darkest color you can find, as this will successfully block out more sunlight than lighter versions. But if all you want to do is block out the often blinding glare of the sun that’s coming into your living room, you can go with a lighter color to match your interior decor.

Materials and Textures

Many of these lined blackout curtains are made of heavy-duty thermal material since thermal textures are more efficient at blocking out the strong, harsh rays of the sun. You have to understand that when this type of material gets dirty from dust and other airborne pollutants, you’ll have to eventually clean them. This will often mean removing them and taking them over to the dry cleaner, as household steam cleaners usually aren’t effective enough for a thorough cleaning and a full disinfecting procedure.

But the many benefits of these heavy, rugged textures also include keeping out the intense heat of the sun in summer time, saving on your air conditioning energy consumption costs, and helping prevent the sun from color fading of your carpets and furniture, especially the leather, velour and suede variety.

Price

You can find these blackout curtains selling for a wide variety of prices depending on which brand you buy and from which online or physical retail location you choose to purchase at. Wider, longer and heavier ones will always cost more. So will ones with custom designs and weaved patterns on them. These are the upscale, high end brands. Many homeowners are content to buy the least expensive, simplest designs and just color coordinate the curtains with their carpet, hardwood floors, wall coverings, and sofas. Well priced light blocking curtains are also going to be incredibly durable. They won’t fade due to the strong sun hitting into them all day long, so they make an excellent household investment.

Versatility

Because light blocking curtains can be used in so many home window applications, they have become very popular over the years since they first came out. Blackout window curtains can be used instead of ordinary blinds to block out much more sunlight. They’re certainly ten times better than even the darkest standard curtains. And these light blocking curtains can be installed over either windows that rise vertically or over ones that roll inward towards the room. They can also be used on sliding glass doors that lead to patios, porches and decks.

By: Alfred Oliver

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7244.shtml

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Unlike early styluses that forced users’ hands into unnatural positions, these pens allow users to draw, write, highlight, annotate and more on their digital touchscreens in a natural manner – making the pens ideal for use in classrooms where youngsters are learning the mechanics of writing in tandem with other subjects. With pens, students can rest their wrists on the tablet surface, just as they would if using a notepad and ink pen or pencil.

“Employing pen technology in the classroom engages students in learning and allows educators to maximize the versatility and benefits of the technology they’re already using,” says Paige Johnson, K-12 education strategist for Intel Corporation. “Pens free both students and teachers, fostering creativity in children and allowing teachers to move more freely around the classroom to collaborate with students during class.”

The advantage of a pen is simple and easy to see. If you’ve ever hit the wrong buttons on your mobile device’s virtual keyboard and ended up with gibberish (and who hasn’t), you’ve experienced the limitations of fingertips: they can’t make as fine a point as a pen can. Pens give young students the flexibility to alternate between the broader strokes of their fingertips and a more precise interface, depending on which is appropriate for the task at hand.

Pioneering educators at Cincinnati Country Day School are using pen technology to virtually eliminate paper from the classroom and homework. The school was the first in the country to ensure every student had a computer. Today, all homework and assignments are done on hybrid PC/tablets, allowing students to write, annotate, highlight and draw with their digital pens. Integrating pen technology into the classroom has resulted in increased student engagement and collaboration at Cincinnati Country Day School.

Parents looking to maximize pen technology as part of students’ education can use it in numerous ways. As you shop for a device for your child, keep these benefits in mind:

* Pens foster more room for an interactive, creative and engaging learning experience for students, facilitating non-linear thinking at all age levels.

* Writing with a pen and paper is one of the first things young students learn. Digital pens reinforce handwriting lessons for younger students, allowing them to hold the pen in a natural way.

* Pens give students the flexibility to choose the best tool for the task at hand – whether it’s a pen, their fingers or the keyboard. The pen is a creativity tool. The keyboard is a productivity tool. Sometimes you need one, and sometimes you need both.

*Pens allow students in higher math and science classes to write out complex formulas and make diagrams more easily and quickly.

Another great resource for parents and teachers who are on the market for a new device is the K12 Blueprint, found online at www.k12blueprint.com. Sponsored by Intel Corporation, this website is a free resource for planning and implementing technology initiatives in districts. You’ll find useful information, including practical guidelines, funding advice, curriculum considerations and real-world success stories.

“For a while, it seemed as if styluses – and possibly even handwriting itself – would become obsolete as touchscreen capabilities opened up new horizons in computing,” Johnson says. “New pen technology is proving that won’t be the case. As parents shop for technology for their children, they should keep in mind that in the classroom, the pen can be just as mighty as the fingertip.”

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The arrival of summer has many homeowners outside planting, preparing the patio for cookouts, and taking evening strolls through the neighborhood. Often, this extended outdoor time brings on a desire to improve a home’s curb appeal.

 
But home improvement projects can be expensive, and many homeowners are still wary about spending money on renovations, despite the improving real estate market. So what’s the best way to spruce up the appearance of your house without breaking the bank?

 
There are many budget-friendly exterior changes that will make a big difference in curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders, whether it’s applied to the entire house or just on the front door. If your house is painted a neutral color like white or cream, be adventurous and try an energizing red or soothing aqua on your front door; the pop of color will add appealing interest.

 
While a landscaping overhaul can be very expensive, window boxes or planters are an easy and cost-effective way to add natural beauty to your home’s facade. Learn how to build a container garden that will provide extra dimension and color to a front porch or patio.
Take a look at your house from the street. Do your windows look bare? Try adding shutters, but make sure they are appropriately sized. Buying shutters that are smaller than the windows they flank is an all-too-common mistake homeowners make, which leads to the windows looking disproportionately small.

 
And if you have a garage, don’t overlook the importance of a good-looking garage door. A garage door can account for up to 30 percent of a home’s exterior that is seen from the street, so having an attractive one is vital to good curb appeal. But, like shutters to a window, a garage door should be appropriately matched to its house’s architectural style. Not sure which door fits your home the best? Try out the handy Door Designer tool at www.amarr.com, which lets you choose from six different home styles and then matches an appropriate garage door based on that style.

 
Of all these budget-friendly improvement projects, a new garage door will give you the best return on your investment and provide the most value for your home. Over the last few years, surveys conducted by the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report indicate that installing new garage doors has been the project moving up the most in the rankings.

 
Most people, to some degree, factor in resale when making their home improvement decisions. Both structural and decorative curb appeal is important when it comes time to sell a home, bringing in a larger number of prospective buyers and making it more likely that they will make the purchase.

 
According to principals at Smykal Renovations, a contracting firm in suburban Chicago, curb appeal projects “may not have the ‘wow’ factor of a major kitchen remodel, but [they] pay off more in the end.”

 
So don’t let budget constraints keep you from improving the appearance of your home’s exterior. There are many low-cost changes that can be made that have a big impact on how your home looks. Whether you’re making these changes to enjoy for yourself, or to make your home more marketable, the summer is a great time to get outside and focus on curb appeal.
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(BPT) – Your home’s front door is more than a portal for family and friends – it makes a statement about your own personal style. Home designers often list the entry door as one of the most cost effective ways to dress up the front of your home for “wow” curb appeal.

“This Old House” magazine notes that since the front door is the first and last thing we touch when entering and leaving our homes, “it’s easy to understand why many of us still like our doors to be made of wood – nothing else matches the material’s warmth and satisfying heft.”

“People choose wood entry doors first and foremost for their beauty; it’s a fine piece of furniture on the front of your home,” says Brad Loveless of Simpson Door Company.

For homeowners who enjoy the beauty of wood entry doors, options are now available to stand up to the harshest climates – from the wind-driven rains of Nantucket Island to the desert Southwest. Following are three ways to have the wood door you want and to ensure it will look great for years, no matter what the climate throws at it.

Bring your dreams to life

With doors available in hundreds of wood species, and numerous designs and glass options, it can be hard to envision how a particular door will look like on your home. Short of hiring an architect to make a sketch, most people have had to rely on their imaginations. Recently, easy-to-use, free online tools have become available to simplify the door selection process. For example, Simpson’s “Test Drive a Door” enables people to upload a photo of their home and view different door options on it. This allows a homeowner to be sure before they buy.

Go for performance

People are used to looking for high performance when shopping for new cars or computers, but might not realize the same approach can apply to doors. Manufacturers have developed high-performance wood doors with superior weather resistance that last in the most demanding exposures, including coastal homes with no porch or roof overhang to protect the door.

One high-performance option to consider is choosing wood species that perform best in moist conditions, as this varies among wood types. Species that have been shown in laboratory testing to have natural moisture resistance include Douglas Fir, Black Locust, Nootka Cypress and Sapele Mahogany, among others. In recognition of the use of such species and advanced joinery techniques, “Window & Door” magazine selected Nantucket Collection doors from Simpson as its “Most Innovative Door.”

Another performance option some manufacturers offer in their wood doors is water-resistant composite blocks within the bottom of the door, where water can infiltrate. Doors also are available with full exterior cladding to protect them from rain and sun, while retaining the beauty of wood inside the home.

A strong finish

With any door, whether made of wood, steel or fiberglass, it is crucial to finish it for long-lasting protection from the elements. Doors are sold either factory finished or unfinished. If unfinished, the door must be finished by the door dealer, a contractor or the homeowner. Manufacturers provide step-by-step instructions for best results from finishing, and those steps typically must be followed to ensure warranty requirements. Chief among these are to finish all six sides – front, back and all edges. As no wood surface should be left unfinished, finish should also be applied to the cut-outs for the handle and lock set, as well as any other openings, such as for mail slots or pet doors.

If the door is exposed to sun, it is generally better to use lighter color paints or stains as those absorb less heat from damaging UV rays.

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The phenomenon of downshifting is due in part to generational differences between baby boomers and older generations, says Catherine Mallozzi, director of career services for Everest University in Melbourne, Fla. While older generations saw work as something mandatory – yet not necessarily enjoyable – baby boomers have always believed they deserve fulfilling lives and careers.
“When you are stuck in the rat-race trying to climb the ladder to career success, you often have to put so much of your life on hold. You may end up sacrificing time with your family, not giving yourself time outdoors, or putting your hobbies and passions on pause,” Mallozzi says. “Downshifting is one way that professionals are redefining their priorities. They recognize that perhaps their new careers won’t be as lucrative, but they will be more fulfilling.”
Traditional working environments have dramatically changed over the past few decades. These work environments now include part-time, flex-time and work-from-home options, giving employees much more flexibility in balancing their interests in life. For example, workers can decline new projects, take on fewer projects or try to change work arrangements.
“If you aren’t ready for a complete career change, you still have a number of options. For example, bargain for more vacation time instead of that annual raise. Or see if you can work from home or move to part-time work,” says Mallozzi.
But for some, small changes in the working environment aren’t enough. Many wake-up calls can encourage a complete career change. Whether it is the death of a close friend, a divorce, or getting that dreaded pink slip because your company is downsizing, many professionals realize that life is too short to stay in a career that isn’t allowing them to enjoy a personal life on the side.
For those who might be considering downshifting, it’s important to weigh how a career change will alter their lives.
“You have to take your finances into consideration,” says Patrick Wehner, business department chairman at Everest University in Tampa. “A lot of planning needs to happen before you make any big changes. Specifically, you need to be thinking about how to meet costs of your insurance, children’s education, mortgage payments and retirement savings. That being said, with careful planning, changing careers can be done well and can be incredibly satisfying.”
In addition to financial planning, downshifting may also require going back to school.
“Many downshifters want to open a new business – perhaps a bed and breakfast, or local used book store or massage therapy business,” says Wehner. “Starting a new business in something you are passionate about is a great way to find a fulfilling career, but at the same time, you want to make sure you have the knowledge you need to be successful. For example, if you want to become a massage therapist or bed and breakfast owner, you may need to take massage therapy classes, or basic accounting and entrepreneurial courses before making that leap.”
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Not only are you doing something good for the environment – and likely your pocketbook – by restoring something, you’re embracing your inner creativity. You can make a truly one-of-a-kind decor piece, tailored to your personality and style.

This notion of restoring and reusing items that would otherwise be cast aside to the junkyard or thrift store is called “upcycling,” and it’s a trend that has caught on quickly, especially in home design. With a little inspiration, creativity and the right tools, you can tackle countless decorating projects with things you already have around your home. And the best part? Upcycled pieces make for great conversation starters, often tell a good story and can even be sold for a much higher price than you put into them.

So where do you start? Here are some helpful tips for tackling your own upcycling projects.

Start with a little inspiration

Take a look through magazines, home design blogs and websites to gather inspiration. Look for pieces that catch your eye and have the same structure and “bones” as the items in your home that you’d like to restore.

For example, DremelWeekends.com is filled with inspiring and low-cost do-it-yourself projects, tool recommendations and step-by-step instructions to help you transform just about anything while bringing a new perspective to home renovation and decoration. You can even sign up to receive weekly project inspiration right to your email inbox.

Shop around without breaking the bank

Decorating your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Look around your basement, attic, or at yard sales and consignment shops for free or inexpensive items that you might be able to breathe new life into. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” would apply here. Do your best to look beyond an item’s current condition and let the inspiration you’ve gleaned take over as you see its full potential in a different light. If the piece has some defects, don’t immediately overlook it. Sometimes perfection and personality can be found in the imperfection.

Secrets of upcycling success

The secret to any do-it-yourself project is to plan ahead. Beyond finding the inspiration for a project, gather the supplies and tools you’ll need, read up on step-by-step instructions, dedicate a roomy workspace where everything is at your fingertips, and be sure to carve out time to focus on the project.

But the No. 1 secret of upcycling success is to be patient and not get discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s OK to make mistakes because sometimes you’ll uncover hidden beauty during the process. The important part is that you find the whole experience of restoring and reusing rewarding.

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(BPT) – The best bathrooms are more than just functional areas – they’re sanctuaries where you can escape, reset and recharge. And as one of the smallest and most-used rooms in the home, that’s likely why they’ve become the most popular remodeling project (78 percent), according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Luckily, simple updates can breathe new life into this small space. Transform your boring bath by incorporating these fast, fresh updates that don’t cost a fortune.

Create a focal point with updated faucets
It’s a focal point, one of the most frequently used items in the bath, so it’s important that your vanity incorporates a fabulous faucet. If you prefer more traditional styling, the Moen Wetherly bathroom faucet offers a refreshed, old-world design that’s guaranteed to add a touch of luxury. Or if you like a more industrial, yet elegant look, Gibson bathroom faucets feature an edgy, square-shaped high-arc spout and sleek lever handles. And to keep your new fixtures looking flawless, both are available at Lowe’s in Spot Resist Brushed Nickel finish, which resists fingerprints and water spots, maintaining the brilliance of the faucet.

In addition to the beautiful styling, you’ll feel good about your update, since each bathroom faucet has been certified to meet WaterSense criteria, meaning the fixtures meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines as an environmentally responsible and efficient product.

Add beauty with bath hardware

Once you’ve upgraded your faucet, look to the other metallic accents in the room for a subtle, yet effective way to pull together the design. Coordinating bath hardware, such as towel bars, rings, robe hooks, shelves, knobs and pulls, will instantly add a functional and fashionable impact.

Let there be light
Assess your current lighting to ensure it offers the look and feel you want for your bath. Too dark? Add new decorative fixtures that complement your faucets and hardware. There are many styles that feature multiple lamps for added illumination. Too bright? Add a dimmer switch to your lighting to soften the mood when you’re looking to relax.

Set the mood with color

According to Freshome architecture and design blog, room color affects our moods and thoughts – so choose wisely. Add a splash of color to the walls with a fresh coat of high-gloss paint to give the space an instant facelift. Create a zen retreat by enhancing your bath with shades of yellow, which are energizing and uplifting; or soft blues, which are calming, relaxing and serene.

Next, add coordinating textiles; a fabric shower curtain, plush bath towels, rugs and bath mat can add a finishing designer touch.

Shower sanctuary
A quality showerhead can dramatically improve your daily showering experience. Take your shower from lackluster to luxurious with the new Moen Halo rainshower. The pivoting, double-ring design offers up to 60 percent more coverage than standard rainshowers and features three consumer-preferred spray settings – all presented in a clean, modern design to make a style statement in any bath.

Replacing a showerhead can be a quick and inexpensive project, simply unscrew the old showerhead and attach the new one to the shower arm.

Add a finishing touch with furniture

No matter the size of your bathroom, we all want more storage. Look around your home for unused accents, such as a small shelf, chest – or even a cupboard or armoire. The extra drawer space will come in handy to keep your clutter under control – while also adding a bit of style, warmth and pizzazz to your newly updated room.

Don’t think that fix-ups have to be long, drawn-out projects. By following these fast updates, you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily you can take your bathroom from boring to a spa-like sanctuary.

Courtesy of BPT

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The hard truth: You can’t be too cautious when it comes to participating in social media. According to a CareerBuilder.com survey, 37 percent of employers check sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in their research of candidates. And the employer scrutiny of social media takes on a whole new dimension for many once on the job as a growing number of employers are establishing policies about the use of social media on and off the clock for their employees.

The clash between employee use of social media and employers has come to a head with the dramatic rise in the number of legal cases involving employees and their use of the Internet both on and off the job, according to FindLaw.com, the nation’s leading website for free legal information.

“The photos and comments you post on social media websites can follow your career for years to come,” says Solomon Gresen, an employment law attorney with the Law Offices of Rheuban & Gresen in Los Angeles. “When you start posting online, you create a digital trail that’s available for all to see – including current and future employers. And, in many ways, what you post remains forever.”

In one case, an employee was fired when she posted photos of herself dancing and throwing a Frisbee at a festival on her Facebook profile. Why? She was on a temporary leave and claimed she was in severe pain from an old back injury.

“I would strongly urge parents to talk to their high school- and college-age children about the importance of building a reputable online presence,” adds Gresen. “One careless Facebook post or inappropriate tweet could wind up damaging your reputation and negatively impacting your career potential.”

Here are some additional tips from FindLaw.com on how to avoid career-limiting social media mistakes:

Ask about your company’s social media policies. With more companies adopting social media policies, educating yourself is key. If there aren’t any policies at your workplace, it’s best to use common sense.

Search yourself. Want to check out what your potential or current employer may see about you online? Do a search of your name on any of the leading search engines to get a snapshot of how you appear digitally to others. If you see any red flags, manage them right away – or be prepared for the situation should an employer bring it up with you.

Complete your LinkedIn profile. Many recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates. This is one place to put your best foot forward and attract employers. Don’t treat it as an online resume with every career detail – just include highlights of your work history and accomplishments.

Don’t lie or exaggerate your work experience. The Internet offers employers the opportunity to corroborate information you claim about yourself. Therefore, it’s wise to not lie or exaggerate on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Avoid sharing sensitive work-related information. Don’t share privileged or confidential information about your company or customers. It could put your career and the company at risk.

Don’t vent about work. Don’t complain about your boss. Don’t gripe about how boring work is. Don’t play hooky and then post photos about your incredible day off. Always assume that someone from your company may be watching what you say or post.

Be careful about what photos you share. With smartphone cameras connected directly to social networks, photos can easily be posted without a second thought. Photos of you participating in inappropriate or risky behavior can quickly tarnish your professional reputation. Employers want employees who mirror company values. If they’re looking for ways to quickly whittle down a large pool of candidates, this is one of them.

Be cautious about who you connect with. In the world of business you’re known by the company you keep. The same rule applies to social media. Everything you like on Facebook or follow on LinkedIn or Twitter factors into your online reputation.

Use your privacy settings. Want to limit some of the problems mentioned and put space between your personal and professional life? Adjust your privacy settings. Many social media platforms have controls that allow you to fine-tune how your information and posts are displayed.

To learn more about employment law, visit FindLaw.com.

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Upgrading your home’s exterior lighting is a surefire way to increase your home’s curb appeal and resell value. And a well-lit front lawn can also deter would-be burglars. Most of  the outdoor lighting of one’s home adds a welcoming touch for family and guests. Here you can learn about outdoor lighting trends, common lighting problems and their solutions, and things to consider when selecting outdoor lighting fixtures.

First and foremost, it’s important to give a considerable amount of thought to the placement of your outdoor lights. Just as you would not place several lighting fixtures like table lamps or wall sconces in a single area of your living room, you don’t want to place exterior fixtures too close together either. This is a common problem when integrating pathlights into your outdoor lighting solution. Too many pathlights, too close together can make your walkway look more like the runway at an airport. Instead of placing the lights directly opposite one another on either end, try a staggered approach. The light will flow less harshly.

Another common mistake in selecting outdoor lights is in finding the proper lighting direction, or limiting “light pollution”. Outdoor lights should not obstruct one’s vision or interfere with one being able to see the entire landscape of a yard or area clearly. On a similar note, the lights should not shine directly into the road or a neighboring yard either. To avoid such issues, look for spotlights with glare guards.

Just as it would be boring to find the same exact lamp in every room of one’s home, it’s boring to see the same outdoor lighting fixture repeated throughout the yard. It can make the home appear institutional as opposed to personal. Use a wide variety of fixtures to light your yard; it will enhance the character and charm of your home.

Be sure to balance your home’s exterior lighting. Another common mistake in outdoor lighting placement, is to inadvertently divide the yard by placing too many lights in one area and too little in another. You want to evenly distribute light throughout the canvas of your home. You don’t want your yard looking like a parking lot.

Finally, like most things in home d├ęcor, less is more. Outdoor lighting should call attention to the beautiful and unique features of your home. It should not be intrusive. Proper outdoor lighting calls attention to various parts of your home’s exterior, not the entire surface area. Over illumination is never attractive indoor or outdoor.

by: Melinda Cayetano 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7064.shtml 

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Only one in 10 adults believes this is a good time to sell a home. If you’re on hold in the real estate market, now is the time to get your house in order – literally. Make the right changes today, and you’ll get a better price tomorrow.

But before you invest in a home-improvement project, consider your potential buyers with this fact in mind: More than 3.5 million baby boomers turn 55 each year, according to the U.S. Census. Since people aged 45 to 64 make up more than a quarter of today’s U.S. population, there’s a good chance you’ll be selling to someone in this age group. Will your home appeal to them?

Your chances will be better if your home has “aging in place” design features that make it easier for older adults to live on their own longer. These modifications are the fastest-growing segment of the home remodeling industry, says the National Association of Home Builders. Because they range from simple fixes to full-scale renovations, making aging-in-place changes can suit any budget.

Best of all, this type of project not only improves a home’s resale value for the future, it also increases its safety and comfort for all residents right now.

Add a bath where none exists

Adding a bathroom on the main living level is a smart strategy to appeal to older adults, says national home safety expert Meri-K Appy. “Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths, and older adults are at greatest risk for them,” she says.  “Eliminating the need to use stairs and reducing the distance to a bathroom can be a great safety advantage.”

A new bath is also a sound investment. This one improvement was shown to return more than 53 percent of its cost at resale in the Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report.

A macerating toilet system is a good way to lower the cost of adding a bath, says Otis Dardy, owner of Dardy Construction in Conyers, Ga. Dardy recently used macerating, or up flush, technology to install a full bathroom in a home that lacked below-floor plumbing drainage. With conventional plumbing fixtures, Dardy would have had to dig through the concrete, creating a costly and time-consuming mess. Instead, he used Saniflo up flush technology, which allows you to add plumbing to any room in your home, even the basement, without having to break up the floor.

Macerating plumbing systems pump waste and water from a toilet – as well as a sink, shower, wet bar, even a washing machine – upward through small diameter piping.

Before Dardy knew about macerating plumbing systems, many of his customers who wanted a bathroom couldn’t afford the cost of creating new drainage. “I can save them a ton of money now,” he says. “It will also work if you want to convert a walk-in closet into a powder room.”

Looking for more ways to update a bathroom with aging adults in mind? Put a telephone line in the bathroom. You may also want to install grab bars in and near tubs and showers while adding a hand-held showerhead. It not only makes bathing easier, but it also helps when it’s time to wash a pet or clean the tub. Use low, open shelving, and place nightlights in hallways and bathrooms to improve illumination and reduce falls.

Universal improvements

If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, consider using nonslip flooring. Some designers recommend cork tiles, which have the added advantage of being environmentally friendly.

To make your kitchen workspace more user-friendly, vary the height of your countertop areas to accommodate both standing and seated cooks, and don’t forget to install bright task lighting. Always choose appliances with controls that are easy to read and easy to use.

Push/pull levers are a must for kitchen faucets, and installing thermostatic and anti-scald devices can reduce hot-water burn injuries.

If you’re replacing windows, make sure the hardware is easy to operate. Installing a new entry door? Choose a low-maintenance alternative to wood. All stairways inside and out should have two handrails and bright overhead lighting.

Less-expensive improvements include replacing doorknobs with handles that are easier to open and putting D-shaped pulls on drawers and cabinets. Replace any dim bulbs with bright overhead lighting.

Courtesy of BPT

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