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Education Sector: Some Practical Suggestions For Interior Design

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Approaching interior design for the education sector demands a careful approach. Whereas in your own home you can let your taste guide your way and your budget set your limits, buying for a room you will not use presents very different considerations. This article offers a brief look at what you need to consider when buying for interiors in a residential education setting.

Taste
The first casualty of buying interiors that others are to live in is your own taste. When choosing the right look you need to jettison your taste, or at least as much as you can. Consider the age-group of the residents and how much time they will spend in the accommodation. Hotel room design is a good starting point, as although this will be the resident's home for a while it still retains the generic needs of a hotel room, in that the main aim is to be as neutral as possible. You cannot possibly cater to all tastes so it is better to at least offend as few as possible. If you have a child of the same age-group or a member of your wider family that is a student then ask them to take a look at some ideas of fabrics and colours to see what they like, or failing that find out what they really dislike. There are specialist companies that supply both the hotel industry and the education sector and these websites can be not only a good starting point but a cost-effective source for your needs.

Safety
There are strict fire regulations around what is called 'sleeping accommodation' when it is provided as a service. Make sure you have read the current regulations and follow the rules on fire-retardant bedding, curtains and furniture. Again, a reputable company that is set up to supply to the hotel or education sector will have all products clearly marked for their fire-retardant qualities.

Function
The key phrase here is 'hard-wearing'. Children and young adults have rarely ever bought their own bedding or curtains and this means they will not respect its cost or its care. There is no point in putting your faith in rules, except the rule that you should plan for disrespect of the room you provide. Buy products that are hard-wearing and even if the initial cost is higher this will save money in the long-term.

Also, keep in mind that the rooms you will buy for are, in part, for studying. If it is a higher education setting then the room will be a primary location for the student's reading and computer use. Colours, lighting and the placement of furniture should fit the function of a room where reading will be a daily activity. For a private boarding school environment little extras like black-out curtain linings can add something to the design of a room, demonstrating consideration for a child who might struggle to sleep away from home.

Costs
In the current economic times cost consideration is more important than ever. If you are fitting out a number of rooms then of course it is best to buy in bulk from one supplier. The more items you can source from one place the stronger you can negotiate on price. All rooms needn't be the same, though, you can theme rooms by breaking them into three or four groups so that adjoining rooms are differently accented in colours and fabric patterns. Fire retardant fabrics can be expensive when bought from the household name shops, so again look to firms that understand the budget constraints of buying for the education sector.

Buying Art For Your Home

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It often seems to me that we view works of art in a particularly unique and individual manner. You may look at a particular piece and really love it, but a friend or family member may take a real dislike to the same composition. This is, in a way, part of what makes art so fascinating.

It might also be said, however, that it does throw up a few problems. I think that one of these can be seen when you are choosing items for your own home. This can certainly be a difficult task, partly because you will usually have multiple aims in mind.

On the one hand, you'll undoubtedly be looking to select something that you like and that you believe that you will enjoy for some time to come. You certainly don't want to decorate your own home with an item that you really don't like!

But it's also easy to see how some people stumble into the issue of making really poor decisions in this area. This comes about due to thoughts about pleasing others. Instead of thinking about our own wishes, it becomes fairly easy to start considering others.

Although this may be seen as being a healthy approach to life, it's also not without its difficulties. What happens if you see a painting, for example, that you really love? Is it enough to buy it and to ensure that it is placed in a suitable position within your own home?

What happens if you have a fear of the fact that visitors to your home may not think that you have made a suitable selection? I think that there are a number of issues that are raised here. One of them is that it's always difficult to second-guess the reactions of others.

In a sense, this recalls a point that I made at the very outset of this article. If we all have different reactions to artworks, then how can you possibly predict how other individuals will react? But this is not the only issue that is to be considered.

You also need to realise that it will be impossible to please everyone who sees an individual piece. In fact, it's worth remembering that plenty of people won't like the item that you select. When it comes to art, this is very much the reality of the situation.

So where does this leave you? My own feeling here is that you should make decisions that are based on your own views. This does, at least, ensure that things are kept nice and simple.

Choosing A Shower For Your Bathroom

Monday, August 25, 2014

As the New Year approaches, many of you will be thinking about remodeling your bathroom. If you’re tired of your dated unappealing bathroom design then a complete refurbishment may be just what the doctor ordered. The shower is the focal point of any bathroom, and so adding a new one can add a real wow factor. Let us take a look at the best showers out there for you and your home.

One popular option for a bathroom shower is the corner enclosure. These showers are curved and contemporary and are the epitome of modern bathroom fashion. Choose clear glass and chrome handles that compliment the enclosure perfectly. You’ll love washing away the stresses of the day in this stylish enclosure Another positive to this option is that it will also appeal to potential buyers who are looking for a spot of contemporary style. This is an important consideration should you wish to sell your home at some point in the future.

A quadrant steam enclosure can be a more interesting option. If you’re after a little luxury from your new bathroom then a steam enclosure can be an ideal choice. These attractive cubicles are not only great for showering but they also provide a high quality steam system enabling you to enjoy a sauna in the comfort of your own bathroom! Saunas provide great health benefits and can help you to unwind and relax tired muscles at the end of a long day. A sauna in you home is another buzz factor that could sell a home.

If you need to make the most of the space available in your bathroom then a storage enclosure may be the right choice for you. Storage shower enclosures look great but their main selling point is their storage shelving units which are built into the enclosures themselves. You can easily store your shower gels, shampoos and other bits and pieces as well as your towel which will all accessible from inside the enclosure. This is a great option if your bathroom is small in size as it will limit the amount of clutter within the room and remove the need for chunky storage units. This will create much needed space within the room.

Any of these shower options for your bathroom would make great additions to your quality of life and would also help in maintaining or increasing the price of your property.

Qualifying Customers - The Key to Successful Sales For Your Service Business

Friday, August 22, 2014

Some people are natural salespeople, while others have to work at it. No matter which category you fall under, there is an abundance of material written to improve your skills in sales and selling. In addition to reading this article, a person new to selling should read other sales materials and attend sales training and seminars. The more you learn, the better a sales person you will become.

As previously noted in my previous article on Marketing Your Handyman Business, a typical sales process for a home improvement business requires the following steps.

  • Marketing
  • Qualifying
  • Selling
  • Getting Hired!

Through your marketing efforts, you are attracting people with a home repair or home improvement need. Then through qualifying, you are ensuring that your prospective customer has the money and the motivation to hire you to get his or her project done.

Qualifying means to ensure that someone will make a good customer. Not everyone who contacts you will make a good customer, so it is best to assess the prospective customer's 'qualities' before deeming them appropriate to do business with your company. Qualifying is very important, as you only have so much time and energy for selling. You want to be sure that you are selling to the most appropriate individuals. The Operations section of this guide has a discussion on "What jobs to avoid" that will further help you to qualify prospective customers.

Much of the work of selling is learning about your customers, understanding their needs, and determining whether or not they are qualified to buy what you are selling. This last step is crucial. If they are not qualified, then it doesn't matter if you can sell your services, as they do not have the ability to buy them. Each business will need to define for itself what a qualified customer means. An example of a simple approach is that a prospective customer will qualify if he has a need, a budget and a realistic time frame to get the project completed.

Simply needing or wanting a home repair or improvement is not enough. Many prospects want things they can't afford, or have unrealistic budgets. In order to determine if the customer can afford your services, make sure that he has set a budget sufficient to accomplish the proposed project.

Customers also need to have a realistic time frame for when they want the project done. A prospect who can't tell you when he wants the project completed isn't serious about starting it in the first place.

Asking open-ended questions, those that require more than a one word or yes/no reply, will help in the process of eliciting the information you need. A closed-ended question is one that typically has a one-word response. For example: Do you like this shade of green? --The likely response is either yes or no.

Try asking questions such as the ones outlined below

  • What is your end goal for this project?
  • What would you like your (bathroom, kitchen, basement, deck, bedroom... ) to look like when it is complete?
  • Have you seen other examples that you like? You may have seen something in a magazine or in a friend or neighbor's home that you like.

Here are sample questions to help you determine if your prospect has a sufficient budget:

  • What is you budget range for this project?
  • What (colors, brand, model, style, etc.) have you selected for this part of the project?
  • Are you planning on paying for this project all at once, or will you be financing it?

These sample questions can help you determine the prospect's time frame and readiness to start project:

  • Can I see your paint color samples?
  • What ideas do you really like?
  • How soon do you want this project completed?
  • What (colors, brand, model, style, etc.) have you selected for this part of the project?

The responses to these questions will give you a better understanding of your prospect's wants and needs, and the information to qualify your prospective customers.

The Advantages Of Hiring An Interior Designer In London

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We are all individuals but, when it comes to the home, we often have very similar desires. And hiring an interior designer in London can help us achieve it.

When we think of our living space, we want our surroundings to be pleasing to our tastes, practical to our needs and interesting to those who visit. It doesn't matter whether you love chintz or have a passion for minimalism, a home that is in line with our favourite trends and evocative to our senses is something that everyone desires.

However, when it comes down to it, not everyone is capable of taking the canvas of a space and turning it into our dream home. Whether it is a lack of inspiration, time or knowledge, interior design can be a challenge to the layman.

This is where the advantages of hiring an interior designer come into play. Rather than struggle with the limited resources at your fingertips, you can select an expert at a competitive rate who will transform the space you like into a home that you will love for many years to come.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a professional designer is the time involved in getting the job right.

If you are juggling a job with family and friends, along with other obligations like exercising and maintaining personal financial records, time is at a premium. Decorating tends to come in snatched bursts when you've managed to drop the kids off with Gran for a few hours and run the Saturday DIY-shop gauntlet. This can make the task stretch out for weeks, if not months; by which time the look you were aiming for is lost and you settle for simply getting the job done.

However, hiring a dedicated professional interior designer removes much of this stress. Coming up with ideas, sourcing materials and arranging for the practical tasks to be done can all be taken care of by your interior designer – leaving more time for you to get on with everyday life and look forward to relaxing in your new surroundings.

When it comes to actually generating designs, layouts and themes, most people can instantly identify that they like a particular style, but wouldn’t have a clue of how to create it for themselves.

Imagination and inspiration are as essential to home design as it is to fashion and art. Similarly, if you don't know about the latest techniques in paint or applique, or are dazed when asked the difference between voile and chiffon, you may well end up sticking to staid decorating combinations that soon look dull and dated.

Hiring an interior designer will allow you to embrace a brand new style – or see a trend you've always loved with a twist that is suited to your individual tastes.

Professional knowledge of the industry is not just beneficial when it comes to thinking up new ideas for the home – it is essential when it comes to keeping the overall costs of interior design down.

While hiring a dedicated designer may seem to some like an extravagance, it can often end up being a money-saving exercise. Those who work in the industry every day know the best contractors and cheapest suppliers who will be reliable, fair and provide excellent value for money.

An interior designer is not a costly extravagance – they are an investment in value for money that your home will greatly benefit from.

So if you're thinking about renovating your property or even just breathing new life into a bathroom or bedroom, think about calling in a professional to make the very most of what you've got.

Look Around Your Property During Your Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Project

Friday, August 15, 2014

Give your home a much-needed improvement project that saves you money today and increases your home's value tomorrow. One of the best ways to raise your property's value is to do some energy efficiency home improvement projects.

A home improvement project is best done when you keep an eye out for future property value and the way it will be affected by the project. While you can find advice telling your differently, it is prudent and wise to at least consider the way your projects today will increase your property's value. When you start to consider the future price tag you will likely educate yourself more and choose the best material.

Making your home more energy efficient is future thinking and a positive for property values. You will be saving money each month on energy bills as well as increasing the overall value to your property. Here are some tips when focusing your next home improvement project on cutting energy costs.

1. Look up. Heat escapes through the roof during the winter when you are trying to warm the home. Installation is often sub-par and can easily be improved without costing a ton of money. When the home is built you may not have the best insulation installed, opting instead to spend you money elsewhere. Now is the time to give it an upgrade. Start by improving the installation, but don't stop there. You can also consider roofing your home again, replacing the old shingles for new ones. Over time they can become worn out and can contribute to high costs for your energy bills.

2. Look around. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, also known as the HVAC system, is all around you. The vents and air ducts all around the home comprise a large and somewhat complex system of air movement that is used to warm or cool your home to make it comfortable to live in. By replacing or repairing your HVAC system, you will save an average of 20% on each energy bill. You can get in touch with your nearest home improvement store for advice in this area, as it is a complex and relatively difficult project to complete. You will likely need to hire contractors out to work on your HVAC system.

3. Look outside. By planting bushes and trees around your home, you are quickly and easily increasing the natural insulation your home experiences. It will keep your home cooler during those hot summers and help keep warmth in during the winter. It also benefits the environment. Saving energy helps the environment on its own, as you are using less fossil fuels and doing your part to protect natural resources. By adding trees and plants, you are again helping the environment by increasing the presence of oxygen-producing organisms and making the yard more aesthetically pleasing.

Remember that cutting energy costs is not only beneficial to each and every monthly energy bill in the near future. Cutting energy costs through home improvement projects will also increase your home's market value that could benefit you years down the road.

Home Building Coach - Ten Reasons You Should Hire a Home Building Coach For Your Remodel Or New Home

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stop ... before you go too far with your home improvement plans. Use caution before you build. To have the best success, you need a professional on your side who is working for you. You need an experienced home building coach.

You're probably familiar with the concept of a buyers agent when it comes to purchasing a home. It's even more important to have this type of representation when you plan to build or remodel. The stakes are just as high or higher. You want what you want in your home. You want to control your costs. You want to understand the process and know how to solve problems. Most of all, you want a great experience!

Here are the Dream Home Creation "Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Building Coach"

1) Getting to the Starting Gate:
One of the most difficult challenges for most people who want to build or remodel themselves is knowing how to start and whom to trust. A good home building coach can be the key to launching your project. They give you confidence and procedures that propel you forward.

2) Financing Resources and Qualification:
While financing options change all the time, having an industry professional guide you can be a solution through the maze. As this article is written, the financial industry is in the process of change. Watch for future articles and visit Dream Home Creation and other websites for updates. Whatever solutions are forthcoming, a quality home building coach can advise you.

3) Building Professional Resources:
This advantage alone is worth hiring a coach. Throughout the entire process of building, you'll need the services of countless professionals in coordinating labor, buying materials, designing solutions, and arranging deliveries and a whole host of other things. Your coach is your best source to access the best people and companies.

4) Preparing Home Plans & Blueprints:
Naturally, when you want to create your dream home there will be floor plans and blueprints. You can use architects, residential designers, interior designers, floor plan books, online sources and many other professionals. It is my experience that having a coach can help you fine tune your search as well as pick the best professionals to help you get exactly what you want in your home.

5) Budgeting and Costing out Project:
Before any project is started, and before any financing can be secured, you'll have to accurately cost out your project. Building from scratch or doing a remodel, costing out a project is very involved and a professional coach should be able to do this with you. People find this to be a huge relief.

6) Submitting Plans to Authorities:
Many have complained that they don't know the requirements for submitting plans to their local building departments. It is a complicated process for sure. Between your coach, the architect and the information the authorities will help you with, you'll be in good shape. The coach will be a real stress reducer and time saver.

7) Ongoing Management of Project:
Not only is the coach going to give you a process to get started but she or he will have the entire project scoped out and presented in a manageable format. Then, as the project moves forward, you'll be able to manage all the processes easily using a process management system each day. Your success depends on a good process management system.

8) Trouble Shooting:
Every single project is subjected to problems, challenges, and situations that need special attention by someone whose "been there, done that". As an owner builder, this is the kind of help you'll rely on. Troubles can be minimized. Troubles can be avoided!

9) Keeping You On Time and On Budget:
This needs little explanation. Keeping on time and budget speaks for itself. The knowledge and foresight of a good coach will keep you on the straight and narrow.

10) Saving Money:
If you avoid making one major mistake by using a coach you have saved money! Mistakes can be hugely expensive. More than most realize. Lost time, lost money, and aggravation mount up fast when things go wrong. So, the use of a coach is not a cost at all.

I have other articles that will give you more information. Keep up your research to help you make the most of your building project!

 

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