Tag Archives: DIY

3 ways to refresh your home for spring

3 ways to refresh your home for spring

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3 ways to refresh your home for spring

Looking to update your home for the season but don’t have time or budget for a major renovation? Do it right with these three easy DIY paint projects that can each be done in just a day.

“The seasonal transition from winter to spring is the perfect time to freshen up,” says Sharon Grech, colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore. “If you’re like me, you don’t have unlimited time to devote to working on your home, which is why small weekend projects are perfect because they’re quick, easy and affordable.”

DOOR: Night Train 1567, Aura® Grand Entrance, Satin TRIM: Plantation White, Aura® Grand Entrance, High Gloss EXTERIOR WALLS: Grant Beige HC-83, Aura® Exterior, Satin
DOOR: Night Train 1567, Aura® Grand Entrance, Satin TRIM: Plantation White, Aura® Grand Entrance, High Gloss EXTERIOR WALLS: Grant Beige HC-83, Aura® Exterior, Satin

Hit refresh with paint

Nothing says refresh quite like bringing new life to a tired piece of furniture. A fresh coat of paint is the perfect solution to make old, dated furniture seem trendy and new. Look for pieces that have solid construction and interesting shapes. Grech says headboards, wardrobes, chairs and side tables are all great pieces to transform. If you are unsure of the condition of the furniture or how to paint it, visit a local paint retailer to ensure you get the product that is right for your project.

Amaze with an accent wall

Feature walls are a great way to make an impactful change to a space. “Many people think accent walls need to be very bold and vibrant hues, when they can be neutral to create a more cohesive and harmonious feel,” says Grech. Explore painting the fifth wall, otherwise known as the ceiling, for a unique and modern look that can add dimension to a space.

Front door décor

The front door has the ability to instantly create an inviting impression before guests enter your home. “Applying a fresh coat of paint to your front door is a great DIY project that can be done quickly and can invigorate the look and feel of your home,” says Grech. “Because it’s so easy, you can even change your door colour seasonally.” Benjamin Moore’s Aura® Grand Entrance collection, inspired by European enamel finishes has more than 42 curated colours.

Find more informaiton at benjaminmoore.com.


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Creative ideas for DIY bookshelves

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Creative ideas for DIY bookshelves

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Welcome fellow bookworms! If you’re looking for a DIY bookshelf project, look no more because here are some creative ideas that will catch your attention.

A bookshelf is a staple in the house of an avid reader (one who prefers real books with pages and covers). But you may not want to adorn your home with a traditional bookshelf; you want something special. The good news is that bookshelves come in countless sizes and shapes. And if you build it yourself, it costs little or nothing at all. There’s no reason to buy an expensive furniture item because chances are you have plenty of materials to create one.

If you’re a beginner crafter, glue together crates or hang a set of wall mount shelves above your desk. But if you’re a pro, you can create something truly extraordinary like the dreamy bookshelf you’ve read about in your books.

Come here little bookworm, let’s discover some creative ideas together.


Your bed frame can serve as a bookshelf

What is your favourite reading spot? If you’re like many of us, you prefer the comfort of your bed when you dive into a plot in the Seelie Court. So why not creating a bookshelf close to the bed to keep your treasures at hand? To fill an awkward space between the bed and a wall, build a bookshelf from honeycomb crates into the bed frame. It gives the room an aesthetic boost and provides you with easy access to before-bed reading material.

If you don’t like hexagonal boxes, you can build a classical shelf.

Bright coloured crate bookshelf

Do you know why people use crates to build everything from bed frames to shelves? They’re cheap and look stylish when you assemble them into furniture items. For the bookshelf fuse wood crates in different sizes together to make a standing item you can place in any room. Before building the bookshelf, measure the spot where you want to install it to ensure it fits. After you fuse the wood crates together (with glue or nails) spray they with a bright coloured paint to make the items stand out from the rest of decorations. If you want to paint each box in a different colour, do it before fusing them to prevent the product from spilling on neighbouring elements.

Hexagon shelves

If you have an empty wall, you want to convert into a bookshelf you can play with honeycomb shelves. You can purchase prebuilt ones from the local store. Stores such as Ikea sell these items at affordable prices so you can buy multiple ones to cover the entire walls in hexagons. If you have wood pieces you no longer use, build the hexagon boxes at home. This way you can diversify the sizes and play with the models. For a white room choose bright coloured honeycomb boxes to cheer up the space. Fill a couple of them with decorations and succulents to give the room a cosy feeling.

One interesting idea to give the shelves a funny twist is to use sugru mouldable glue to attach jars on the combs’ bottom. You can transform them into tiny terrariums filled with succulents. Your bookshelf will look as extracted from an elfland where plants take over buildings and make them part of nature.

Built-in shelves

Most times, people don’t give their living room walls a purpose, they limit their use to placing the TV on one of the walls, and maybe some works of art on others. But this is not the case for a book worm’s house because they can convert any free space into an intricate system to store their books.

Roll up your sleeves because we’re going to tell you how to build a bookshelf around your TV set. Gather all wood materials you no longer use and start building cabinets because you have plenty of space to fill. You don’t need to experiment too much with the form because even traditional bookshelves painted in different colours can do the trick. Use chalk paint to give them a vintage look.

Tree bookshelf

If you plan to build a bookshelf you’ve probably browsed through Pinterest ideas a couple of times lately. And if we know Pinterest, it definitely suggested building a tree bookshelf. Now, there are various ways to create this type of furniture item, and it depends on the materials you want to use and the skills you possess. The simplest way to construct a tree-shaped shelf is to paint the three on the wall and insert some wooden plants in the spots where you draw the branches.

But if you prefer a more intricate model, then you may want to build the entire tree from wooden planks. And this task requires skills because you need to cut, fit, and fuse the branches together to make a shelf sturdy enough to hold your books. After you paint the tree hang it on the designed wall and use reinforcements to secure it.

Triangle shelves

This model serves both as bookshelf and decoration. Depending on its size, it can look like a dollhouse or mountain. If you opt for a larger shelf, create an intricate pattern of triangles inside to make it look more interesting and provide multiple functions. You need only some wood planks and a couple of nails to fuse the pieces for this project. Start with the frame, and add one small triangle at a time. Besides books, use plants, jars, and other accessories to decorate the shelf. If you want to make it look more like a mountain, add some green plants on its sides.

Coffee table bookshelf

If your living room lacks a coffee table, and your book collection is still young, a coffee table that features storage space is perfect for exposing your jewelry. You can build the coffee table from wood planks and shape it in a form that complements the surroundings. This bookshelf is ideal for keeping the books you’re currently reading at hand, and grab them every time you relax on the couch.

Do you have other creative ideas on how to build a bookshelf? Please share it with us!


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Create the perfect shelfie

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Create the perfect shelfie


Shelf styling, otherwise known as “shelfies,” is a great opportunity to show yourself and your style. Whether you’re accessorizing a large custom built-in or a small, “big box” bookcase, here are some styling tips to achieve a thoughtful and curated look.

Aim for equilibrium

Balance is soothing and somehow satisfying. It’s “right.” We naturally tend toward equilibrium in our interiors, from our rooms and the furnishings in them, right down to our bookshelf accessories. Start by arranging larger pieces, such as books, photos and art, toward the back of the shelf. Then, layer in your smaller pieces in front. Furthermore, you’ll want the overall display to be balanced, as well. Evaluate the visual weight of the large items and the overall arrangements. Is the display too top-heavy, skewed to one side or evenly distributed?

May the odds be ever in your favour

Taking balance a step further, odd-numbered groupings of items are pleasing to the eye and the mind, allowing us to naturally create symmetry that people are naturally drawn to. Arrange your collections in groups of three or five on shelves, or on any surface for that matter – tabletop, desk or mantle.

These groupings create little “landscapes,” and when done correctly, they become landmarks in the room. The eye naturally gravitates to the largest item in the centre and takes in the details around it.

When it comes to the items you choose to display, I believe in the holy trinity of shelf styling: Books, art/ accessories and plants. These offer an effortless and intriguing mix of colour, texture and shape, which keeps the eye moving from one grouping to the next. Alternate your accessories to keep your shelves interesting. This can include seasonal additions, trendy new buys or a rotation of existing collections. Just remember: For every new item you bring in, take one out. You don’t have to display everything – rather, be selective. In the case of a bookcase, less really is more.


Can you actually see the items that you’ve carefully selected and thoughtfully arranged? Or are these treasures hidden in the shadows? If you’re designing a room from scratch or renovating a space, plan your shelves and display areas together with your lighting plan. A built-in bookcase with strategically placed, focused pot lights can instantly elevate your collections from mere accessories to artfully displayed treasures.

If you’re styling an existing bookshelf but want to enhance the light around it, consider adding sconces or overhead upper embedded shelf lighting (electrician recommended!) or, as a DIY option, small table lamps or light strings arranged on your shelves can do the trick.

Shelf styling is an art, and it takes time. Experiment with existing items, display pieces you love and think beyond the cubby, so to speak. The bookshelf is not just for books anymore.

Jennifer Backstein is the Creative Director and Principal Designer for Jennifer Backstein Interiors. The firm offers a diverse range of full-scale design services in the GTA and across Canada. jenniferbacksteininteriors.com


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4 simple home upgrades you can do yourself

4 simple DIY projects for the home

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4 simple DIY projects for the home

DIY projects are both super exciting and a great way to save some money. After all, you will be doing all of the work yourself and learn quite a bit about home maintenance. Simple home upgrades are not complicated at all, but they might take some time to complete. So if you are willing to put in the work, the results will be stunning.

We live in a time when everything is available online, including home upgrade tutorials. Many websites will offer you step by step guidance with these projects. But remember to keep your private information safe while browsing. One of the best tools for that is a VPN. What is a VPN? This nifty tool will secure your internet connection. It can also give you a warning when you try to load a potentially dangerous website.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best home projects you can do yourself!

Change your room with a fresh coat of paint

You can give a full makeover to any room in your home by simply painting the walls. This DIY project is not complicated at all, and you can complete it in just one weekend. If the current state of your walls is not great and you want to refresh them a bit, pick a color that you like, and get ready for some work.

The right color can completely change the mood of your home. For instance, bright colours such as peach and white can open up space and make it appear bigger. Of course, there are some guidelines you need to follow along the way. You will need to invest in some painting tools as well. Buy different types of brushes, tape, and floor covers. The whole process is fun, and your entire family can help out.

More yellow light

New light fixtures can also do wonders for the ambiance in general. White light bulbs have become a standard in the last couple of years, but they could sometimes be too bright. Yellow light bulbs give more warmth to a room and make you feel relaxed. This DIY hack will not take too much time as you only have to change the bulbs around your home. However, go for LED ones because they are durable and will last longer.

If you are set on improving the lighting situation in your home, consider installing dimmers. These allow you to select the right brightness in each room. Plus, the dimmers are not too expensive but will improve your quality of life. Replace your standard light switches with dimmers and create the perfect mood, regardless of the time of the day.

Decorate your space with plants

Greenery can make any space look more polished and beautiful. Place a couple of potted plants on your shelves or around your home, and you will notice the difference right away. You can start by selecting house plants that are easy to keep alive. These don’t need too much attention, so you can occasionally forget about them. Succulents are another great option because they are small and can survive long periods without water.

Those of you who travel a lot can also go for faux flowers. There is no need to worry about watering these plants all the time. And the best part about faux greenery is that you can pick and choose flowers and create unique decorations or bouquets. But make sure you buy high-quality artificial plants. They could be more expensive but are also super realistic.

Organize your closet

It might seem like a basic home improvement project, but a well-organized closet can make a huge difference. Plus, you won’t be needing any tools unless you want to build more shelves or rearrange the existing ones. Start by cleaning out your entire closet and then sort out the clothes. There are probably some garments you don’t wear anymore, so donate them if they are in good shape.

It will create more room and you will be able to sort out the clothes in a way you find useful. You can make a whole system that could help you find what you are looking for right away. Sort out your clothes by seasons, colours, use or anything you want. Closet organizers and boxes can help you make more space in your closet and keep everything nice and tidy. Don’t forget to wipe the shelves and clean the dust before you put the clothes back in.


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DIY lawn tips for homeowners

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DIY lawn tips for homeowners


For most homeowners, having a green, lush and patchless lawn is a symbol of responsibility, dedication to yard work, and a signal to your neighbors that your home’s interior is as well-kept as its outdoor spaces. Being marked as the neighbor with the browning, weed-infested lawn can be the vision of nightmares for those homeowners who pride themselves on a well-groomed front lawn.

Not only does a luscious lawn accentuate your garden, but it provides excellent outdoor space for your kids to blow off steam. To maintain this play-pad and lawn-game arena, it takes more than just planting some grass and hoping it grows. To achieve that widely coveted green lawn, you’ll have to give it some tender loving care.

Attaining that full and healthy lawn is a multi-step process. Lawn-care practices such as selecting the right type of grass for your climatic zone, picking great quality seeds, and watering go a long way in realizing your dream lawn goals. Below are some DIY tips that can help guide you through the process, so your lawn can be the talk-of-the-town (or, at least, the pinnacle of lawn-care success in your immediate neighborhood).

Choosing between sod and seeds

Whether you’re rejuvenating an old lawn or growing a new one, you may find yourself at a crossroads when choosing between sod and grass seed. Understanding the difference between the two and the unique benefits of each option sets a course of action for achieving your lawn goals.

Both start in seed form. Sod is simply transplanted from the well-maintained farms directly to your lawns. When choosing between the two, the convenience factor and your level of patience may influence your decision.

Advantages of raising your lawn from seeds

It’s cheaper to nurture your lawn from a standard grass seed than it is to purchase sod. Despite popular misconceptions, planting grass seed doesn’t require a green thumb. In fact, it’s a simple garden practice that even the most inexperienced homeowners can perform.

An upside of growing your lawn from grass seed is that you have a greater variety of grass types to choose from and intersperse in your backyard. The ability to customize your own grass variety is important, as the type of grass planted is the biggest determinant in how your lawn will perform. With seeds, you’re in control. You can assure that your grass germinates and matures in the same place, giving your grasses a chance to establish and develop healthy root systems.

Disadvantages of grass seeds

Since you’re the initial grower, seeds will require a lot more maintenance (such as constant irrigation). As the gardener and planter, you’re limited to specific time windows, as these grass seeds must be sown in peak growth times. These peak growth times will, ultimately, depend on grass types you handpick.

Unlike sod, you will have to wait for the seed to germinate, grow, and mature before you notice any sizable results. If you’re a homeowner who craves instant gratification, purchasing sod may be a better fit for your household.

Advantages of sod

For those homeowners who are interested in the instant results of sod application and want to transform their backyard overnight, you can purchase sod from your local sod farm or a nearby home improvement store.

After installing your sod, your lawn will appear thriving, mature, and well-nourished. Sod takes just a couple of weeks to be properly rooted on the site. Areas in your front or backyard that are prone to soil erosion can benefit immensely from sod applications, as these patches of sod act like a blanket and hold the soil in place.

With sod, you won’t be limited by restrictive planting times and peak planting windows. Sod can be installed at any time of the year, except during months of extreme heat.

Downside of starting with sod

Unlike grass seeds, fully-grown sod is very expensive. You may also have to hire a professional to install your sod to properly complete the job. Hiring a professional may be inevitable if you are physically incapable of performing manual labor or if your busy schedule doesn’t allow weekend projects like sod installation.

A poorly installed sod lawn has visible seams and bad rooting. You may face several challenges in transplanting the grass to your property if your yard’s conditions vary tremendously from the conditions of the farm where the sod was grown. Sod also has a narrow transplanting window. The ideal time for transplanting sod is no more than 24 hours after being cut.

Select the right grass type

There are lots of factors to consider when selecting the right grass type for your particular lawn. Different strains of grass perform differently under different climatic conditions. Depending on the grass type’s tolerance to warm or cool conditions, you’ll want to select a grass type designed to withstand the weather conditions of your neighborhood.

Some grasses are ideal for a lawn in warm regions, while others perform exceptionally in cold regions. Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda grass, do well in the summer heat and year-round warm climatic conditions. Cool-season grasses, such as ryegrass, fescues and Kentucky bluegrass, excel in the cool temperatures of spring, fall, and winter.

When choosing the best grass for your backyard, consider the purpose of your lawn, how much maintenance you’re willing to dedicate to your lawn, and other region-specific climatic and erosion factors. For more information on how to find the best grass type for your region, check out this helpful resource.

Purchase premium quality seeds

The key to a successfully established lawn is the use of premium quality seeds, best suited to your property site. The label on the seed package is an invaluable source of information for assessing how well-suited a seed is to your specific region. In the US, by law, all seed labels must be printed with 100% accurate information.

Quality seeds come at a higher price. When purchasing lawn seed, consider the germination percentage. Only purchase seed whose package label indicates a germination rate of 85 per cent and above. You can tell the amount of non-seed material in the package by checking the percentage of inert matter. This should be less than two per cent. The weed percentage is the total weight of all weed seeds and should ideally be no more than 0.5 per cent. Noxious weeds like quack grass shouldn’t be present in your seed bags.

Manage irrigation wisely

Lawn grasses spike in growth when watered deeply in less frequent intervals. This ensures the roots are deep, so the grass is not susceptible to drought conditions. With a good sprinkler system, you can grow healthier grass and still save money, by reducing water consumption.

Some grasses require less watering and are, therefore, ideal for the inaccessible and hard-to-water areas of your lawn. While the watering schedule may vary with the seasons, it’s important to always accommodate the requirements of your lawn.

Besides boosting the curb appeal of your home, a flourishing lawn can help establish a welcoming environment for potential houseguests, the occasional visitor, and all backyard barbeque attendees. Once your lawn is rooted or your sod is applied, you can invest in a deck, an in-ground pool, or you can hire a team of contractors to build the front deck of your dreams.


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9 DIY home decor crafts to help you stay creative in self isolation

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9 DIY home decor crafts to help you stay creative in self isolation

Life has pretty much come to a standstill with the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this outbreak, people have stopped going to their daily 9 to 5 jobs, kids aren’t going to school and we’re barely going out to buy groceries. This is why the general populace has no alternative but to maintain social distancing for the time being.


However, this time might also afford an opportunity for you to deepen your connection with your home. Now you can finally give your dated, cracked up walls the fresh coat of paint that you wanted to provide them with for so long, upgrade your closet doors, fix that doorknob, or make a set of new curtains. This article lists a range of home craft decor ideas to give your house the makeover it needs, while saving up on hiring professional home renovators.

Creative DIY home decor ideas

Reupholster a chair

It might surprise you to know that it is actually quite easy to redo your outdated chair seat.

Items you’ll need

  • Scissors
  • Chair with removable seat
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Thin fabric for a dust cover
  • Upholstery weight fabric

You’ll be able to get a new comfortable seat cover by following this carefully laid out guide from House Beautiful.

Candle crafts

These adorable cube lanterns have a charming aesthetic to them that makes them great for use both indoors and outdoors. All you need is, of course, some candles, large washers, glue, some spray paint, square dowel rods and something to cut them too. You can follow this guide that will show you how you can make it.

You can also put these candles in a branch candle holder made from driftwood or fallen branches. This holder can be customized in several ways, depending on the type of branch you wish to use, the shape, size, and other types of details. The process is actually quite simple. All you need to do is take a branch, have it sand down, tidy it up, and then begin drilling the holes for the candles. You can either choose to have the branch painted, or give it a lacquered finish.

Nautical vase

If you’re fascinated by sea voyages and beach life, then you’ll definitely love this idea. This fascinating statement vase was crafted simply out of jute rope. Just hot glue some jute rope around a vessel and put some decorative flowers and start turning some heads.

Chic cabinet tray

It seems cabinet doors are more than just a gateway to access dishes and cutlery items. Just a couple of drawer pulls, and some paint can turn these cabinet doors into an improvised TV dinner tray or a cheese door. to make one, fill in some holes on the board and then let it dry. After that, sand the surface and then paint it later, before drilling some holes into it and screwing the handles. You’ll soon realize that this is one of the most clever DIY home decor crafts that you’ve ever tried.

Customizing your lamp

If you’ve gotten used to the lamp that’s been on your desk or side table for quite some time, then maybe it’s time to switch up its looks just a bit. One of the ways in which this can be accomplished is by customizing the lampshade. The only thing you need to do is cover it with a fabric. Choose the fabric that you like, spray adhesive on it and you have yourself a spiffy looking lamp shade.

Another fine example is a mason jar desk lamp, which is relatively easier to put together than people realize. If you prefer more of a challenge, then perhaps a brass chandelier that you can makeshift from pipes and fittings, would be more fitting of your DIY skills. The best part about this is that you can give it whatever shape you like and play with the pieces In a variety of ways.

If you’re looking for some DIY ideas, have a look at a couple of properties at Paradise Developments.

Wooden bathtub caddy

Turn your bathtub into your own personal Spa starting with a makeshift caddy that you can piece together from several wooden pieces. and since several stores are on lockdown, we’re pretty certain you’ll find some pieces lying around in your garage. After all, the more aged and imperfect the wood looks, the better the caddy will look. This guide from Jenna Sue Design Co. will show you how you can home craft this project to life.

Blanket ladder

Making friends with furniture like your wooden ladder is one way to take our mind off of this pandemic, right? Not feeling it? Then perhaps a little cuteness factor would certainly brighten things up. You can dress up a plain blanket by knitting extra large pom poms and tassels and knot them to the end in a similar manner as Joanna Gaines did. Lastly, just hang the blanket over the ladder so it looks more fashionable.

Floating bookshelves

The thing about having so many books in the house is that there are probably so little shelves to go around to keep them. That’s why instead of buying regular shelves, we recommend installing some neat invisible shelves instead. Not only is it a great way to organize all of your important reads in one place, but it creates a stunning illusion that makes it look like your books are floating in thin air.

It goes without saying that this is one of the most ingenious home craft ideas that teenagers, teachers and other book-lovers can take advantage of. Everything you need to make this a reality is in the instructions laid out by Lorrie Havell at DIY & Crafts.

Get a cooler door knob

In only 10 minutes, with a screwdriver at hand, you can easily swap out that rusty, clunky and boring old doorknob with something more gorgeous. Fortunately, Hadley Keller from House Beautiful is here to show you how it’s done.


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Soundproof Windows

Replacing replacement windows a countertrend in home maintenance

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Replacing replacement windows a countertrend in home maintenance

For homeowners, the trend is to replace old windows with new, modern, dual-pane, wood or vinyl frame, replacement windows. However, what is trendy isn’t always best for you.

Replacement windows are fine if a new look and some energy savings is the goal, but will do little if reducing outside noise to get peace and quiet indoors is the real problem.

Soundproof Windows

The challenge is that replacement windows are not really designed to reduce noise, and the vast majority of exterior noise enters through windows, not walls. So, when life is crazy and you want to create a cosy sanctuary at home to soothe your jangled nerves, it often makes more sense to improve your existing windows than replace them.

That’s why a cost-effective countertrend is developing to keep existing windows and enhance function by placing a soundproof, matching inner window inside the existing windows. This method can stop up to 95 per cent of outside noise, while enhancing energy savings and safety. It not only provides extra thermal insulation, but also a virtually shatterproof barrier that deters intruders.

Because no window replacement is required, the installation process can take as little as one hour per window, which minimizes home disruption. A similar technique, which installs a functional, matching patio door inside or outside of an existing one, also provides comparable benefits for patio doors.

Keep the noise out

From screeching traffic and blaring car or train horns to barking dogs and roaring leaf blowers, dual-pane windows will not keep out the noise because they are not designed to do so. The problem with a typical dual-pane window is that they act like a drum and reverberate in response to external noise vibrations. The result is that the noise as sound vibrations transfers right through the panes. On top of this, the seals of most dual-pane windows degrade within a few years, which allows even more outside noise to pass through.

Some replacement window companies tout single-pane acrylic windows as soundproofing. However, the typical 3/4-in. thick acrylic panes lack sufficient mass to stop much noise. Acoustic testing has demonstrated that a single-pane acrylic window must be at least 3/8 in. thick before it provides a good acoustic soundproofing value.

SoundproofWindows inside home

An even more effective solution incorporates recording studio soundproofing technology to block up to 95 per cent of external noise penetration, which can make unwanted noise sound like it is at least two football fields farther away.

This approach first dampens sound vibrations with an inner window of laminated glass installed behind the existing window. The lamination acts like a finger placed on a vibrating wine glass to deaden the sound vibrations when struck. An inner layer of tough polyvinyl, similar to that used in car windshields, further dampens sound vibrations.

Next, air space of two to four inches between the existing window and the Soundproof Window also significantly improves noise reduction because it isolates the window frame from external sound vibrations.

Finally, spring-loaded seals in the second window frame put a constant squeeze on the glass panels. This prevents sound leaks and helps to stop noise from vibrating through the glass. The spring-loaded seals are designed to stay acoustically sound for decades.

Energy efficiency

Typical windows and glass patio doors are notorious causes of home heating and cooling loss. They transfer heat/cold by thermal conduction through the panes and glass surface, so additional heating or cooling is required to keep everyone comfortable.

Air leakage through window and patio door seals that crack over time also worsens the problem. While single-pane windows transfer the most heating/cooling, even dual-pane windows may be insufficient to keep homes sufficiently warm in winter/cool in summer without raising utility costs.

As a solution, adding an inner insulating window to existing windows, and a second sliding patio door that can be installed inside or outside of the existing door, however, can dramatically improve thermal efficiency.

In fact, this approach provides an additional layer of insulation with better insulation values than the best double-pane windows, and substantially improves insulation values for dual-pane windows as well. The second sliding patio door has even greater insulation value due to its greater surface area. This can reduce heat loss by 77 per cent or more for single-paned windows, and heating/cooling bills by up to 30 per cent, while stopping air infiltration for further energy savings and greater comfort.

Improve security

Another important side benefit to this soundproofing approach is security enhancement, since its construction helps to deter burglary/breaking and entering through typical windows or sliding glass doors.

Soundproof Windows

While standard windows or tempered glass sliding doors can be shattered by a sharp blow, the laminated glass used in such soundproofing offers significant break in protection because it is shatter-resistant and tends to remain intact even after repeated blows. Such laminated glass is actually a major component of most bulletproof glass.

The bottom line

If you want to change the curbside appearance of your home, you still might consider replacement windows.

But if stopping outside noise from driving you crazy during the day or keeping you up at night is important, or cutting your energy bill, or improving home security are your priorities, then you may want to add an inner window or patio door instead

As an added plus, the cost can often be less, depending on window size or the noise reduction sought. Also, installation can take a fraction of the time of replacement windows, and can even be done as a DIY project for additional savings.


Available in Ontario through Arc Acoustics 


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Tile trends for 2020

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Tile trends for 2020

As a homeowner, there’s arguably no greater thrill than planning out and seeing through to completion of a home renovation project. Whether you’re just looking to change things up, update your home’s style, or getting ready to put your home on the market, it’s important to know the current and up and coming trends that will impact the re-model. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the various styles and themes that you can expect to find at your local tile stores.

Tile styles

Here are a few of the emerging tile styles that are making waves for 2020:

  • Aesthetic: If you haven’t spent a great deal of time looking into the different styles of tile available, you may be surprised to learn that there’s plenty to choose from that represent a far cry from the traditional tile. While a stone-fused aesthetic remains a strong choice for the foreseeable future, other textures resembling wood, concrete, marble, metal, and fabric are also worthy considerations. Several different techniques are used to create these different aesthetics, but inkjet technology, in particular, has been an invaluable tool in creating these hyper-realistic textures. Wire brushing is another popular technique used to artificially create naturally occurring textures found in wood and stone.
  • Colours: In terms of colour options, the hot ticket right now appears to be those taking a more subtle approach. Watch for different greys, lights, whites, blondes, and high variations to take center stage. One great thing about choosing something on this end of the colour spectrum is that it allows accent colours and decor to truly pop in your space.
  • Layout and patterns:  Wholesale tile distributors are stocking up on many different patterns of tile. Subway tiles and checkered tile options continue to be a popular choice for many homeowners, but tiles that display elaborate geometric shapes, mixed width, and chevrons are quickly increasing in popularity as they add considerable visual interest to surfaces that previously held none.
  • Shapes and sizes:  While larger, wider tiles (measure 24 by 48 in. in some cases) are leading the charge into 2020, comparatively smaller styles like hexagon are also a chic, trendy option.

Tile themes

Here are the emerging tile themes to keep an eye on for the next year:

  • Avant-garde:  A modernist’s dream, the resurgence of the avant-garde theme uses geometric composition, intersecting shapes, and colours to create a bold, abstract look.
  • Neon pastels:  Bright but not overpowering, neon pastels are a great way to create a soft, unique look in any room in your home. At the vanguard of this theme, you’ll find that Living Coral and Neo Mint colours to be making the greatest impact. Neon pastels offer a warm reprieve from the less enthusiastic neutral themes and blend modern technology with the natural world.
  • New deco:  Art Deco saw it’s prominence fade midway through the 20th century. New Deco borrows the indulgent style of its roots, combining traditional rounded shapes and curved lines with angular patterns to create a more subdued, if not ever-present opulence.
  • Ink black:  The application of the Ink Black theme won’t play as well universally in your home as some of the other styles, but this theme has been increasingly popular for bathroom renovation projects. Popularized in luxury spas and boutique hotels, the receding effect that black has on the human eye opens up the room rather than diminishing it.
  • Artisanal luxe:  As a way to favour the uniqueness of handmade elements for the home rather than the mass-produced alternatives, this artisanal theme aims to bring the imperfections and character synonymous with one of a kind products. The focus of this theme is all about emphasizing individuality rather than the monotony of the other themes.
  • Homestead:  With relaxation and warmth at its core, this rustic theme is gaining popularity in homes far removed from the ranching lifestyle. Employing the colours and tones native to the great plains of the North American continent, the Homestead theme is inspired by nature and all of its accompanying organic forms. Inspect to come across rich pastel tones and deeply saturated shades.

Though it may feel like a lot to take in, knowing where to look for answers is the best place to start. To learn about some of the other styles and themes of tiles available today, or to learn more about those explored above, check out Sarana Tile today.


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When bathroom design is a wellness win

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When bathroom design is a wellness win

The idea that the bathroom should also serve as a spa-like sanctuary is reflected in a rise of luxurious finishes, high-end fixtures, and elegant accessories for that space. Now that the language of self-care has become part of the design lexicon, there’s a similar uptick in bath elements that both look good and promote wellness.

There are lots of reasons why bidet seats/toilets are emerging as leaders in the category. Integrated bidet seats can provide a better clean than paper alone, which can cause irritation, spread germs, and exacerbate certain bowel conditions. Conversely, rinsing with water after using the loo is gentle, soothing, and hygienic, and may be especially useful for, says, new moms and those with limited mobility.

Bidets can also reduce by up to 75 per cent the use of toilet paper, each roll of which takes about 140 litres of water to manufacture, and may be bleached with chemicals that release back into the water table. Use of wet wipes, which can clog drains, and may contain polypropylene that ends up in oceans as microplastic, can also be reduced.

American Standard’s Advanced Clean line www.americanstandard.ca offers several options, including the 3.0 SpaLet bidet seat. I installed one on an existing elongated American Standard toilet: it was fairly routine DIY job. I like that temperature, strength, and direction of water flow is adjustable with a small, discrete, wall-mounted unit with easy-to-understand graphics.

There’s also a deodorizing feature and a setting to clean the water nozzle. This model has a heated seat — a nice touch on a cold winter morning — and a drying function that can further reduce use of toilet paper.

The Advanced Clean 100 SpaLet shares many features with the seats, and has automatic flush settings, as well as an auto open/close lid and seat, and sells for around $5,100. The 3.0 seat goes for around $1,990.

That may sound pricey. But given the life expectancy of a toilet — and depending on your budget — either may be a worthwhile investment in comfort and well-being. That, after all, is hard to put a price on.

A soft-close seat adds convenience, especially for those with impaired mobility.

A user-friendly wall-mounted control panel makes it easy to customize preferences.

A bidet toilet saves space by eliminating the need for a conventional bidet.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House Having written and talked about home décor/improvement, design, and lifestyle for more than two decades, she has tested almost every home-related appliance known to humankind. For more of her scathingly brilliant insights, go to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and her column in Reno & Decor.


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4 best places to buy a can light conversion kit

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4 best places to buy a can light conversion kit

If your home has recessed can lights built into the roof, you’ve probably entertained the idea of converting them into another kind of light that hangs lower or provides better illumination. If you’ve decided you’re going to be converting your recessed lights to a different style of lighting, but you don’t know where to buy a can light conversion kit, you’re in luck. Here are the four best places to buy one.

1. TheCanConverter

When it comes to finding an online shop that’s fully dedicated to recessed can light conversions, there’s really only one place worth mentioning. Regardless of what kind of renovation you have in mind, TheCanConverter (The ORIGINAL Recessed Can Light Conversion Kit) has the right can light conversion kit to help you get the project done with minimal hassle. They offer color finished designer medallions in satin, oil rubbed bronze, polished nickel, aged bark, bark, chrome, tortoise shell and polished brass. They’ve even been featured on authoritative blogs and online magazines such as This Old House. The Can Converter’s kits can hold up to 50 pounds, which is about as heavy as most light bulbs and fixtures are going to get.

2. Home Depot

The Home Depot offers recessed can light conversion kits and therefore must be included on any list of the most popular kit providers. The main feature to examine when shopping for can light conversion kits from Home Depot is the size compatibility. Some models will adapt to four-in. recessed can lights while others are made for five- and six-in. cans. Of course, comparing aesthetics is also a worthwhile step in your comparison, especially if you’re aiming for visual appeal. Some of their can light conversion kits include adjustable cord mechanisms that can be set anywhere from eight to 48 inches in length.

3. Lowes

Some can light conversions will only allow you to convert the light into one kind of fixture, but Lowes (like the other brands on this list) offers conversion kits that include everything you need to convert your existing can lights into hanging lights, chandelier lights, flush mounts, pendant lights, and other forms of decorative lighting. These kits come with brackets and other hardware for mounting lights.

4. Lampsplus

Lampsplus is a standard can light conversion kit that is cheap but also very basic. It is compatible with can lights four to six inches in size and supports a 50-pound load. Other related DIY equipment such as bendable light stands, wire cutters, and flashing lights are not included with the kit, but can easily be added to adjust the lighting spectrum or create more flexible and useful fixtures.

Installation is Surprisingly Simple

While installing a new lighting setup in your home might seem like something that will involve complicated steps and wiring, it’s actually a project that most people can complete in a matter of five to 20 minutes. With many different types of lamps and lighting systems that come standard with your home, it can be difficult to figure out which one you need or even what exactly you’re going to do with it. TheCanConverter eliminates that hassle by including all of the components and instructions needed to simplify and streamline the installation process.


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