Lighting plays a big role in how interior spaces look and feel. Make sure your home is beautifully lit by following these dos and don’ts.
Do tailor the lighting to the room. Kitchens and bathrooms require bright task lights, while bedrooms and dining rooms should have ambient lights.
Don’t exclusively install hanging lights in the dining room. Chandeliers look equally great in entranceways, bedrooms and even bathrooms. Just be sure the one you choose is the right size for the space and that it’s hung at the correct height.
Do use dimmers. Adjusting the brightness in a room is a great way to either add ambience or have more light to see.
Don’t forget to think about your lightbulbs. Task lighting should be bright and stark, while ambient lighting should be soft and warm.
Do use a combination of floor lamps, table lamps and overhead fixtures. Not every room needs all of these but aim to use at least two types.
Don’t forget to match your lampshades and light fixtures to the decor in the room. They should complement and enhance your design choices.
Above all, be sure to call an electrician if you’re moving light fixtures around or need to replace switches. They’ll make sure the work’s done properly, thereby reducing the risk of an electrical fire.
Dimmers don’t just add atmosphere. They also reduce energy consumption and will help your lightbulbs last longer. In addition, some LED bulbs, which are already highly energy efficient, now work with dimmers.
What to expect from your child’s kindergarten orientation
The start of kindergarten is a big event in a child’s life. To make the transition easier, many schools organize an orientation or visit the school before the year starts. Here’s what you can expect.
New students typically visit their classrooms and teachers. They’ll get a tour of the school, meet their future classmates, and participate in activities like crafts or storytime. This positive first experience will set them up for success.
• Bus service
• Daycare service
• Supply lists
The kindergarten orientation ensures all students get off to a good start. If you have specific questions or concerns about your child, it’s best to schedule a private meeting. Most schools hold orientation in the spring. You’ll be informed of the date when you register your child.
How to organize a home renovation project
Are you ready to take on a major home renovation but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to organize your tasks and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Make a list
Renovations should be done in a logical order to avoid wasting time and money. For example, you shouldn’t paint the walls before you open them up to install insulation. To ensure you have a clear idea of what’s involved and don’t miss a step, make an extensive list of all the tasks that need to be done.
Establish a schedule
Depending on the scale of your renovation, you can more or less follow these 10 steps:
1. Demolish, starting with the upper floors
2. Make structural repairs
3. Install electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC ducts
4. Clean and upgrade the exterior
5. Add or replace insulation
6. Replace the windows
7. Close up the walls, ceilings, and floors
8. Paint the ceilings and walls
9. Install the flooring
10. Clean up and furnish
If you plan to live in the house while it’s being renovated, remember to update only one bathroom at a time. This way you’ll ensure you always have one that can be used.
If you can’t afford to complete all of your renovations right away, determine the cost of each project, and identify your top priorities. You can either do one room at a time or start with small tasks throughout the house while you save up the money.
Additionally, be sure to schedule your timeline around seasonal weather that could affect your renovation projects. For example, it’s best to avoid upgrading the exterior during winter or painting the interior in the summer.
For optimal results, consider hiring a contractor who can ensure the work gets done to code.
7 signs your home’s insulation needs to be replaced
Insulation is essential for keeping your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry all year long. Here are seven signs it’s time to replace yours.
1. Sounds travel
The insulation in your walls, floors, and ceilings should muffle all but the loudest noises in your home. If you can hear ambient sounds like the clicking of a keyboard or the dripping of a tap from another room, the insulation isn’t doing its job.
2. High energy bills
3. Uneven temperatures
The temperature in your home should be consistent from room to room. If you have areas that are cooler or warmer than others, it’s an indication that there’s a problem with the insulation.
4. Cold surfaces
Walls, floors, and ceilings shouldn’t be cold to the touch. If yours are, it’s a sign that there isn’t enough insulation.
5. Condensation and mold
If you have mold on your ceiling, condensation on your windows, or damp walls and floors, it’s a sign that there’s too much humidity in your home. This may be due to poor insulation.
6. Pest infestations
Animals and insects can get into your home through gaps in your insulation. Additionally, they’re often attracted by mold and damage caused by water infiltration.
7. Freezing and ice
It isn’t normal for pipes to freeze or for icicles to hang from the edge of your roof. Both are signs that your insulation isn’t doing its job.
While it may seem like a big undertaking, replacing your insulation is a surefire way to make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills.
4 apps that will make school easier for your child
School will be back in session soon. If you’re worried that your children won’t be able to keep up with their schoolwork, here are four apps that can help get them into the swing of things.
1. Khan Academy Kids
This app has fun characters and engaging books, videos, and games that teach reading, writing, math, and problem-solving skills.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free.
2. Pili Pop
Your children can have fun learning French or Spanish using this engaging app. Kids will learn their second or third language alongside the Pilis, curious aliens visiting Earth.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free trial.
3. Math Heroes vs. Dragons
Your kids can capture dragons by solving math problems involving addition, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Available for iOS devices. Purchase required.
This flashcard app can help kids study almost any subject. Students can create their own flashcards or use ones generated by others.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free, with in-app purchases.
With these apps, your kids are sure to be ready for the school year ahead.
Is your child ready for kindergarten?
If you’re wondering whether your child is ready for kindergarten, here’s what you should know.
Children should have certain physical, social, and cognitive skills before starting kindergarten. For instance, they should be able to:
• Wait their turn
• Put on and remove their clothes
• Go up and downstairs
• Recognize a few letters from the alphabet
• Follow directions
• Hold a pencil
• Use the washroom
There are many ways you can foster the development of these skills. You can, for example, encourage them to form connections with other children their age, progressively let them get dressed on their own, and encourage them to express their emotions in constructive and non-disruptive ways.
If you feel your child isn’t quite ready when the time comes, ask the school to put you in contact with someone who can help, such as a psychologist or special educator. They’ll be able to provide advice, evaluate your child’s needs, and devise a plan to address concerns.
Beautify your backyard
If your backyard is in need of an upgrade, here are some ways to give it a makeover.
Install outdoor lighting
Enjoy your backyard both day and night by installing smart outdoor lighting that turns itself on when the sun goes down. You can even choose a system that allows you to match the intensity and color of the lights to the situation. This way, you can create the perfect atmosphere for every evening, from quiet nights at home to festive barbecues with friends.
Incorporate natural materials
Create a natural pool
In a natural swimming pool, water is filtered using oxygenating and purifying plants rather than chlorine and other chemicals. Besides being kinder to the environment, these pools are often designed to imitate natural bodies of water and therefore blend into your yard more than traditional pools. If you don’t have room for a swimming pool, consider enhancing your outdoor space with a water feature like a fountain or small pond.
Rethink outdoor cooking
Outdoor kitchens are increasingly popular. Consider upgrading from your basic barbecue to an integrated grill with a counter and sink. Other features you may want to include are a bar, a smoker, and a wood-burning pizza oven.
To get started on your backyard makeover project, be sure to get hold of a reputable landscaping company or general contractor.