Browse Month by March 2016
Home Improvement

Power Outage Happy Home Tips

Our Power Outage Happy Home Tips

– During a recent power outage, it occurred to us that not everyone out there is ready for such an event, or equipped with the items needed to lighten the sometimes stressful environment it can create.

We have put a few tips together that we hope everyone will find helpful when the lights go out.



(Keep candles handy; use them to decorate your home if at all possible. They look good and when the lights go out you can ease the tension room by room, lighting one decorative display at a time.)

A: If more light is needed, a piece of tinfoil carefully placed behind the candle will reflect the light into the room instantly doubling the candles lighting capacity.

B: You can also take a piece of tinfoil about 15″x 15″, and place a piece of tape (duct tape works great) on one side and tape it around the base of the candle. Make sure that it is a larger candle around 6 to 8″ tall, and as big around as the average sized soup can. This will allow it to burn longer without melting down to the base. Allowing the tape to remain cool and keep the foil attached.

This type of set up will ultimately allow you to shape the foil around the top of the candle in a bowl shape creating a cheap easy version of a lantern allowing you to focus the candles light where it is needed.

C: There are many different types of candles out there that are designed for survival situations and are meant to burn for long periods of time without issue, but for your typical power outage most display candles found in stores are sufficient. You may want to limit the amount of scented versions, because you will have many candles lit and the mixed smells could become overwhelming.

D: Finally 2 major rules to live by when candles are used:

1: Keep all lit candles stationary to prevent fires, if you need to walk around the house use a flashlight.

2: Above all before going to bed or leaving a room unattended put out all lit candles to prevent a fire. We suggest gathering everyone into a central area (Living room or dinning room) during an outage and only lighting candles in that occupied area. This might be a good time to reconnect and break out some board games.

Household rules

Bathroom courtesy:

(It may sound funny but when there is no power that usually means that the water is gone as well. In most cases you will be lucky to get 2 or 3 flushes per toilet before the reservoir tank is out of water for this we have one rule.)

1: If its yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.

Fridges & Freezers:

(When the power does go out most of us have no way of knowing exactly when it will be coming back on again. If left closed, on average you can go between 1 & 3 days without power before your current stock of chilled foods is lost to spoilage. We advise the following three rules to prevent early spoilage.)

1: If possible prepare meals that don’t involve items kept in the fridge or freezer to maintain their temperature as long as possible.

2: Avoid opening either of them unless absolutely necessary. If it happens to be winter and you have snow on the ground, setting items outside in the snow could save you from having to repurchase your freezers contents.

3: Last but not least if you do need to get something out, think ahead about what you want and get in and out quickly. Don’t make it Christmas shopping on Black Friday and let all that cold air out looking around with the door open.


(Most heaters need electricity to work or can give off dangerous fumes when used indoors. If you have a gas stove it may not light when you turn the knob, but the gas is still there. If you turn it on you can easily light it manually with a match, we recommend the extended grilling lighters to avoid burns. Use it to keep warm or cook as usual with one rule in mind.)

1: Above all make sure when you are finished you shut off the gas. We recommend trying to relight it immediately after shutting it off to make sure no gas is still coming out.


(In almost every case the power will come back on, keep this in mind when going to bed or putting your little ones to sleep. You don’t want to get the good news at 3am and have your house light up like the 4th of July!)

1: Before heading to bed check the light switches, TV’s, Radio’s and Computer or all of the above to make sure they are off. If you can’t remember if it was on when you lost power just unplug it until morning and save some energy in the process.


Drinking water:

(If you’re up on your storage needs you should have some set aside, but for convenience sake keep a gallon or two in your fridge. Just make sure you take them out as soon as you loose power to maintain the cold and put them into a cooler to have some cold drinking water on hand.)

Useful water:

(If you can get yourself a 55 gallon drum and attach a faucet onto the base, it can be filled with tap water or collected rain water. It may not be drinkable but can be handy to carry in by bucket in case someone breaks the (Don’t flush the toilet rule) to refill the reservoir tank on the back of the toilet.)



(With young children these types of situations can be scary so try to plan ahead and talk to them about what to do when it happens. Try to also plan ahead to ease the situation by finding creative ways to maintain any routines they are used to.)

1: Get a few of the dome shaped push to turn on infomercial lights to substitute as a battery powered night light.

2: Use a MP3 player or Walkman with some simple portable speakers that can run off the built in earphone jack so they can still listen to their lullaby music if that is what they are used to. Any interruptions in a structured routine will result in a difficult time getting them to bed.

Younger children:

(The older the child the less help or comforting they will need but it is still smart to give them tools to adapt to the new circumstances.)

1: Give everyone their own flashlight, it will make them feel safe and come in handy if they need to use the bathroom. Don’t be surprised if the batteries are dead the next day, even big kids can be scared of the dark.

2: Keep a few glow sticks in the freezer; you can usually find cheap little sets at the dollar store. They can help to comfort them and save on flashlight batteries as well as turn a potentially scary night into a fun and cool night playing with glow sticks. Depending on the child’s age use good judgment or buy ones with a thick shell so they don’t break or crack and leak the fluorescent liquid, you never know if its toxic or not but if it glows it cant be that good.

Final Thoughts

Power outages can be scary but, when properly prepared and planned for can make for a night of peace and quiet. Free from the loud crazy TV, Video game, Radio and rumbling background appliance filled world we are all so used to.

It can give you a chance to sit down, read a book or take the opportunity to play an old fashion board game. Grow as a family and really begin reconnecting to those strangers we all so often take for granted (Our family).


Home Improvement

How to Make a Room Look Larger

There are a number of simple solutions that can make a room look larger than it really is. Most are extremely affordable and easy to set up. Small rooms can become dark and claustrophobic if the decor scheme is poor and various interior features are underdeveloped. By including the tips I give below, you can soon make any room look larger whether you have a small budget or not. A number of improvements that make a room look larger can also be safely implemented in rented accommodation where major adjustments to the interior walls and floors are often frowned upon.

The best way I have found to make a room look larger is the addition of mirrors. In a small room, whether a living room, bedroom or bathroom, a series of mirrors will provide the visual effect of more space and light. One of the best places to fix a mirror is opposite the entry way to a room. This will give the illusion of a larger room when you or a visitor enter the interior space. The simple mirror effect makes a room look larger and can be achieved with mirrors big or small, cheap or expensive. Just a couple are needed to really bring about the desired look and create an added sense of depth to a room.

For people who own their own home and can gain planning permission, one great way to make a room look larger is by creating a new window. Large picture windows allow in extra light and provide a visual range outside to the garden, a scenic view or just onto the front road. Depending on privacy and costs, this implementation will make a room look larger and also brighter which is especially apt for the winter months.

Cut-throughs also provide an interior architecture option when it comes to making a room look bigger. If you have a dinning room next to the kitchen or living room, you can knock down part of the wall to make two rooms into one larger space. This is what I have personally done in many homes I have lived in and the effect is tremendous for making a room look larger. That said, one must insure that the wall is not vital in holding up the house. Check with a qualified designer or builder before going through with this.

Furniture and how it is arranged is an important aspect of making any type of room look larger. It is usually the case that in a living room, the table or sofa becomes the center of attention. This can be modified whereby the room is broken into smaller gathering spaces which involve accent or coffee tables being highlighted by small rugs which in a way define the new spaces. Instead of having large items of furniture creating weight in a room, the more smaller items spaced in groups will make the room look larger.

Finally, another way to make a room look larger is through the use of wall murals or photographic prints. These are a popular choice with the advancement of printing technology and can be customised so they fill an entire wall. For example, you can have a scene of cornfields on a summers day taking up an entire wall which will give an optical illusion of making the room look larger than it really is. Different colors of paint will also make an interior brighter or more energetic which again creates the feeling of more space.

There are many more ways to make a room look larger than it really is and these can be explored in more detail by browsing Interior Design magazines, television programs and perusing style websites online.

Edward Beaman-Hodgkiss is a professional Interior Designer with a passion for sharing advice on decorating rooms and spaces. He puts his knowledge and experience to good use on his website Home Interior Design Themes which is a goldmine for people seeking tips and inspiration when decorating their homes.


Home Improvement

Dinning Room Table For Christmas

A great way to get that perfect centerpiece is to have a plan. Think of the colors that should be incorporated, favorite characters, and accessories. Think about the theme of the house; will it be similar or unique? Having a plan is the best way to get what is wanted and keeping the cost down.

Colors are an important part of any decor. The most popular colors for Christmas are green, white, red, gold and silver. Pastel colors can be added to achieve a softer feel. Light purples, blues and greens give off the feeling of calm, piece and love. Think about the colors that give off the right feeling.

Now pick a favorite character. Santas and snowmen are always popular. Ms. Claus is another popular one and gives off the essence of caring and giving. A tip here is to use a smaller figure, if this is to be used as a centerpiece for the dining table. Nobody wants to have to look over or around the centerpiece while talking to someone on the other side of the table.

Accessories can be anything from hurricanes to pinecones. Hurricanes are great because of the candle that they can hold. Pinecones are always in Christmas decor and a little fake snow makes them feel like Christmas. Ribbons are a nice addition to the centerpiece while they can be wrapped around or tied in a bow.

Last but not least are the napkins. A really interesting style is to use two different colors of napkins and make a star like shape. Start by laying one down parallel with the table and then turn the next one forty five degrees in either direction. Another great idea is to take the two colors and tie them together in a bow or other shapes.


Home Improvement

5 Tips For Modern Dinning Room Interior Styles

dinningThe dining room is perhaps the most important room in the house today. It is were we gather as a family to spend some quality time together in our fast and stressful lifestyles. It is were we invite our friends and family to join us for dinner. Naturally when you are thinking about decorating your dining room, you will want to feature your personal touch, but at the same time keep the room friendly and comfortable for guests to enjoy. Below you will find 5 tips for decorating the dining room and how you can turn your living room into your most popular place to be.

1. Know your personal style
Some of us prefer simple and functional furniture that serve its purpose but doesn’t stand out. Others prefer lavish and cluttered styles with bespoke furniture. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, so keep your dining room consistent with the rest of your house in terms of style.

2. Colour use:
After general style, colours are the second most important design factor. The colours of your dining room should match your dining furniture.. If you have a large dark wooden table it is not advisable to have light colours on the wall. Likewise if the rest of your furniture is bright, stay away from dark colours on the wall. In general you will want to avoid mixing too many colours at once in your dining room. Bright and loud colours have their place in a modern or contemporary dining area. Remember the dining room is for enjoying good food and conversation and too many loud colours may be a distraction. The colour red is associated with stimulating the appetite, as such strawberry or tomato, therefore these colours will help you, your family and friends enjoy their food!

3. Space
Space considerations are on of the more advanced concepts. From Feng Shui to traditional British style, space is something to pay attention to. Does your room feel open and free or cluttered and narrow? There is no real right or wrong when it comes to use of space, but consider having less furniture in a small room to give it a larger appearance and having more furniture in a large room to keep it from appearing open and barren are effective design concepts.

4. Arrangement
It is not enough only to be aware of the size of your room and act accordingly. First you should consider the general space available and how much furniture you need, then you need to choose what furniture should go where and at what angles. This is a difficult task and one that needs careful thought. There are many different philosophies on the subject. Some like to keep a very symmetrical style, while others prefer an organic free flowing style. Experiment with different setups and gauge your guests reaction and their interaction. If everyone is standing instead of sitting down, you may want to change things around!

5. Compliment your pieces
As a final touch, there are some things you can do to add the last finishing. This includes matching window dressing with the colour of your furniture. You can use beautiful curtains to highlight a specific theme in your room or compliment the colour of the dining room table. Small dinning rooms look great with natural wood blinds which compliment the colour of the table.