Author Archives: The Beautiful Struggler

Updates That Bring Your Old Home To The 21st Century

Old homes can be gorgeous. They can be storied, they can be detailed, they can bring features that a lot of us covet but simply don’t find in newer builds. They can also be entirely unsuited for modern living. Whether the home is thirty years old or a hundred years old, it’s not going to be built with all the convenience and comfort of a 21st century home. So, it’s time to take a look at how you bring that home into the present with you, without destroying what makes it work.


Give it a wash

If it’s a home that hasn’t had an owner in a while or simply didn’t get all that much care from those who lived in it past, then the exterior is likely to look battered and old. But much of what seems ingrained on the surface might not be that difficult to get rid of, after all. A power washer can clear a lot of dirt, dust, grime, and even moss from the exterior of the home. Paint can help you gloss over much of it. For damage that’s a little tougher to get rid of, you may want to even consider some cladding for the walls.

Cover up those blemishes

There are other blemishes that are much harder to cover up, as well. In older homes, there may be rather large interruptions to the exterior aesthetic, such as huge air conditioning vents, utility closets and so on. When you can’t get rid of them or update them, you may instead think of crafting the environment to better hide them. Landscaping teams like USA Lawns Inc. can help you hedge off the problem areas or raise the ground to better cover them. Many older homes get these upgrades piecemeal over time without the owners thinking about it can disrupt the entire look of the home. Even when you’re forced to live with them, you don’t have to be forced to look at them too.

Patch it up

There’s a very good chance that the home is going to have more air leaks and gaps that the average home, as well. When it comes to winter, you’re going to feel it right down to your bones. Take a closer look at the source of any air leaks. You can caulk those that grow around the doors or the windows, but your best bet is to look up. Teams like Wildwood Roofing & Construction may be a necessary ally if your home’s roof hasn’t been updated in some time. Most older roofs may be out of date by the time you move in, which means tiles can crack, come apart, and fall out entirely more easily, exposing the interior of the home to the elements. Not only is that uncomfortable in the cold, but it also creates a serious risk of damp and mold spreading throughout the house.

Make it energy friendly

Once the outside is all patched up, you should think about patching the inside, too. There’s no denying that older homes are much less likely to have proper insulation. You may be able to get some state assistance for paying for the insulation that your home lacks, as well. There are other changes you can make to ensure that the home is easier to heat, easier to cool, and more energy efficient, too. Take a closer look at the water heater, too, and have someone come out to service it.

Focus on the key rooms

Let’s talk about the practicalities of living in an older home, now, too. How do you actually use the space? We have come a long way in bathroom and kitchen renovations, so those may be the first places to think of changing. A full remodel might be necessary. For the kitchen, updating the layout and using more of the vertical space can make it a lot more convenient to work from one end of the room to the other. In the bathroom, consider switching out the tub for a walk-in shower to open up a lot more space. You should take a closer look at whether the bathroom is leak-proof, too.

Work with the older features

If you intentionally bought an older home, there’s a good chance you did it because you love some of the more historical features that you would probably not find anywhere else. You don’t have to get rid of these features to make the room more modern, you might very well be able to work with them. For instance, even if it’s no longer functional, a fireplace can make a great focal point for any living room. Use the shelves to house some treasured ornaments, use the wall above as a place to feature a mirror or a piece of art. You can even use old, non-functional fireplace hearths as a place to hold a houseplant to brighten it up. Call a little more attention to the older features of the home that you love most.

But not all of them

That said, there are plenty of older features in the home that are an eyesore that you shouldn’t be concerned about covering up or replacing entirely. If there’s awkward ceiling trim, painting the whole ceiling one block color can make it blend in a little more easily. There is also the popcorn ceiling look that was ubiquitous for a couple decades that people almost unilaterally hate, now. Teams like Armstrong Ceilings can help you replace them or simply cover them up with much sleeker wooden paneling that is nowhere near as busy and may also fit in perfectly with the hardwood floors that many older homes contain.

Update without replacing

Some features might be beautiful, but they’re no longer practical to use, so many people think of replacing them anyway. The windows of the older home are often a victim of this. The truth is that it may not be entirely necessary to replace them. In fact, you can make a lot of improvements and updates to older windows that can bring them up-to-par with their modern equivalents. Window inserts can make them not more energy efficient and better at keeping the cold out. They are also a lot cheaper than brand new windows. There’s also the fact that older wood windows actually tend to be a lot stronger and more durable than new wood windows, so if you’re hoping to update but to keep that wooden aesthetic, you might actually be worsening the effectiveness of your windows.

Open it up

Space is a concern for a lot of new homeowners in older homes. Historic home design wasn’t quite as open and included a lot of awkward, smaller spaces that we no longer use quite as easily. If you feel like your rooms are undersized and not utilizing the actual floor space that the home has to offer, why not consider knocking in a wall and connecting two or more of the rooms? Of course, this takes a lot of consideration and you should get an expert out to help figure out if it’s even safe to do so. Load bearing walls, in particular, require some care so figure out which of them are the most structural important ones. Once you have that figured out, however, it can make the home much more convenient and friendly to larger families with lots of foot traffic.

Incorporate strange spaces

There are some awkward spaces that might not necessarily be suitable for opening up by knocking down a wall, too. Some older homes have little wood storage alcoves and several of them have space under the stairs that goes unused. You can open these up, too, but by incorporating bespoke storage furniture such as built-in shelves and cabinetry, instead. Have new storage spaces designed to the very specifications of the space you’re trying to fill up. It’s a lot more effective than trying to fit in store-bought options, instead.

Get more space out of it

Older homes may also have much larger spaces that weren’t previously incorporated as part of the home. Both attics and basements tend to be larger in old homes. If you want to increase living space, add a utility room, or simply improve the value of the house, then making better use of these may be the way to do it. Finishing an attic or a basement takes time and investment. Especially in the basement, where you have to consider extra factors such as damp and airflow. However, once converted, they can add a lot of versatility and value to the home, so consider making a project of it.

How much you change, adapt, or preserve the older faults and features of the home depends entirely on preference. If you don’t have a taste for the oddities of the past, you can dramatically change it all. But hopefully, the tips above show a few of the ways those who love those characteristics a way to keep them without having to live in the past, too.


Magnificent Home Improvements For Every Room In Your House

I’ve read a lot of articles about home improvements, and I’ve written a fair share myself too! What interests me is that most home improvement ideas focus on one room in the home. Normally, it’s something big like remodeling a bathroom or bedroom, etc. Now, this will only improve one area of your home so you might be a bit iffy about going through with it. Similarly, a lot of massive home improvements cost a lot of money and are very intrusive as you have builders coming in and out of your house for weeks. Again, this can put people off these ideas, leaving you with seemingly no way of improving your home.

Well, I want you to stop thinking of home improvements as colossal tasks that cost a lot of money. Instead of saving up to remodel one room in your home, why don’t you spend your cash on many little home improvements for every single room instead? For me, this is a great idea as your whole home can enjoy the benefits, with every room getting a new lease of life.

Want to know some ideas? Okay, here are some magnificent home improvements for all your rooms:


Living Room: A Contemporary Fireplace

I’ll begin my list of ideas in your living room – the place where your family will probably spend the most time together. It’s normally the main room of your house, so there are some pretty big things you can do here. A lot of simple ideas are great, such as buying new furniture, putting down some new carpet, or changing the drapes. Personally, my favorite idea is to install a contemporary fireplace. This is a beautiful thing that becomes a focal point of your living room. Guests will be amazed by it, and it acts as an additional heater too. A lot of homes are built with fireplaces in the living room anyway, so it’s just a case of getting a modern one installed. There are quite literally tons of fireplace designs out there for you to have a look at. Sites like HomeBNC have loads of cool ideas to take a look at if you’re interested. Now, I know what you’re thinking; what if you don’t have a real fireplace in your living room. Does this mean you can’t attempt this idea at all? Nope, you can get a fake fireplace installed if you want. These look like modern fireplaces, but they’re fully electric instead of having space for a real fire. So, there’s no need for a chimney, meaning anyone can install one!

Dining Room: Extendable Dining Room Table

Dining rooms are quite a weird place because they only really serve one purpose. The sole reason you go into your dining room is to eat dinner as a family. Some people might not even have a dining room and could eat in the kitchen. Or, they have an open-plan setting where the dining area is almost part of the living room. Regardless, there is one simple home improvement you can make here; upgrade your dining room table! You’ve probably had yours for years, and it’s getting a little bit creaky and out of fashion. Not only that, but the chairs are starting to wear down too, so you may as well replace the lot. I won’t zero in on a particular style here as it depends on what the rest of your room looks like. Some people love wooden dining room tables, others want metal ones, and some even like glass. My suggestion is this; get an extendable one. An extendable dining room table will provide you with extra space when you need it, but fold away neatly when you don’t. This saves space and makes the whole room look a lot bigger.

Kitchen: Quartz Countertops

Moving into your kitchen and there are a million and one different things you could do to improve it. However, my idea is to replace your countertops with something new and fresh. Get quartz countertops installed, then stand back and marvel at how gorgeous your kitchen now looks. You don’t realize how important the countertops are to the overall design of your kitchen until you change them. Now, you’ll see how old and dirty the other ones are! Why a quartz one? Two reasons. One; it’s the modern trend right now, everyone is installing quartz counters because they’re so exceedingly beautiful. Two; they’re very strong and durable, meaning they last an extremely long time. You won’t struggle to find a supplier, loads of companies like World Stone Group are selling quartz nowadays. It used to be hard to find a good supplier, but now that this material has become much more popular, it’s a lot easier to get your hands on. There are plenty of different designs and styles to choose from, pick one that will liven up your kitchen!


Bedroom: Ambient Lighting

Naturally, you may have multiple bedrooms in your home. There’s the master one where you reside, then the other bedrooms for children, and possibly a guest one too. Obviously, it’s hard to choose home improvements for the other rooms because you don’t really use them, and kids bedrooms are designed to their tastes. So, this suggestion is for your bedroom. My idea is to get ambient lighting installed in your bedroom. You’ll find loads of options, but I particularly like the look of the Philips LightStrip. Basically, this is a strip you can attach to your walls or ceiling, and turn it on. It will glow different colors depending on what mood you want to set and creates amazing lighting in your bedroom. Trust me, a simple change to the way your room is lit will improve it dramatically. Watching movies in bed just got a lot more atmospheric, lying in bed relaxing with a book just became more peaceful, and date night just got a lot more romantic.

Bathroom: Heated Floor/Toilet Seat

As we continue our journey around your house, we reach the bathroom. Some say this is the most sacred room in the house, a place where you can relax in the bath for hours – or just sit on the toilet reading a book. This is probably the most popular room when it comes to remodeling jobs. Loads of people spend masses of money redesigning their bathroom because there are simply so many things you can do. However, we’re all about relatively small ideas that make a big impact. So, instead of doing anything crazy and completely changing the design of your bathroom, we’ll focus on making it a little bit more cozy and comfortable. Yes, heated flooring is such a wonderful addition to every bathroom. It makes the whole place warmer, which sets the mood if you’re trying to relax in the bath. Not only that, but what’s the worst thing about stepping out of the bath/shower? Cold feet! Your warm feet touch the cold tiles, and it sends a massive wave of coldness throughout your body. With a heated floor, you no longer get this problem! Seeing as you need to install the heating mechanisms under the flooring, you could also decide to change the floor tiles in your bathroom if you want to jazz things up.

Those of you with a keen eye will notice I’ve written heated floor/toilet seat as my idea for the bathroom. Why? Because some people don’t have their toilet in their bathroom. If you do, then this sounds incredibly weird to you! But, some have their toilet in a standalone room, so, I thought I’d give a mini suggestion for that room too. A heated toilet seat is exactly what you think it is, and provide maximum comfort while you get the job done.

(Bonus) Spare Room: Turn It Into Whatever You Want!

I thought I’d end things with a little bonus idea for a spare room – if you have one. Not everyone has the luxury of a spare room, but you can kind of apply this idea to your attic, basement, or even your garage. Essentially, improve this room that you don’t use by turning it into something you will use! I know, this sounds like a big renovation project, but it’s not. Get a cheap desk and an office chair, and you’ve got a home office instead of a spare room. Buy a bookcase, fill it with books, get some comfy beanbags, and you have a library in your home. My point is, multiple ideas require very little effort, hardly any money, yet completely improve this room.

Wow, that seemed like a massive article to me, but if you’ve made it this far then thank you very much for reading! Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas that will help you improve your home from top to bottom. Sometimes, it can feel like a waste of money to splash the cash on a big remodeling job just to change one room in your house. Instead, think about my ideas, and you can improve every single room.

Seasonal Home Repairs To Look At Right Now!

As winter is starting to fade away, and the warmer spring weather starts to creep in, there can be a few repairs, inside and outside of the home, that all homeowners or landlords need to be ready for. Opening windows, airing out the home, and making your garden look pretty seem to always be pretty high up on the to-do list for a homeowner. But what many people forget about is that now is a good time to check the home for other things and signs of wear and tear, so that it doesn’t lead to greater damage in the future. The winter weather can be harsh on our homes, and can leave it needed some tender loving care. So here are some of the projects to be thinking about this spring.


The Roof

Over winter, and at all times really, the roof can take a lot of beating. From snow, frost, wind, and rain, it can eventually lead to some damage. The rain can get into any cracks that could have built up over time, leading to leaks in the home, or damaged tiles if it was then cold enough to freeze the water over winter. When was the last time that you checked your roof? If you haven’t recently, then now is the time. Then, if you need to call a roof repair service in to fix it, you can do so quickly, before any more damage is done. Don’t put it off; a small roof problem can be quick and inexpensive to fix. A big roof repair problem can be rather costly!

Your Home’s Siding

The siding on your home not only helps it to look good, but also serves as a layer of protection for your home. And like the roof, it can take a pretty good beating over the winter months. If there are any cracks developing, then it can lead to leaks and flooding in the home in the worst case, as well as mold in the home and dampness on the walls. So walk around your home and inspect the siding. If there are cracks or holes, then look to get them repaired as soon as you can. Small cracks can be easily fixed yourself, but anything larger may need a professional.

Check the Basement

If you are lucky enough to have the basement as an extra space in the home, then you’ll want to make sure that it is taken care of so it can be a useable space. Because it is in the ground, at least partially in most cases, you need to check on the condition of it, as mold and water damage can happen quite quickly if it is just left alone. If there are any leaks at the moment, where could they be coming from? Are clogged drains or gutters leading to the problem? That can be a pretty common occurrence after winter.

Once you’ve made a few checks around the house, you’ll be preventing further damage which can prove to be costly. So make sure seasonal checks like these become part of your routine.

Mind-Bogglingly Brilliant Beauty Hacks You Need In Your Life Right Now

Women all over the world have their own beauty regime that they go through pretty much every day. We wake up at the same time, and we carefully go through every step in our specific process. I think it’s fair to say that most of us end up doing similar things, meaning our routines don’t really differ too much. I could spend ages talking about all the parts that make your beauty routine come to life, but instead, I want to think about certain things hardly anyone is doing.


Yes, welcome to my article that’s packed full of little-known beauty tips and hacks that you need in your life right now. They’ll blow your mind when you try them, and they just might help you add a little extra to your looks. Take a look at these ideas here:


Body Contour

We’re no strangers to a bit of contour in our beauty routine. Plenty of us use contour on our face to bring out our cheekbones and jawlines. It’s a staple in many beauty regimes, with a lot of women claiming they can’t leave the house without it. I find contour to be a fantastic solution if you just naturally don’t have a very defined face. It helps bring more lines to it, so you don’t just feel like a round ball on a body!

Speaking of contour, did you know you don’t have to only use it on your face? That’s right, a very popular trick these days is to use it on your body. There are loads of different places and body parts that can be accentuated with some contouring. Your arms are a popular choice, as a slight bit of contour in the right places can make them appear more toned and defined. This is fantastic news as the hot weather is closing in, meaning sleeveless tops are back! But, I’ve also heard of it being used on your chest area, to help make your breasts seem more defined if you’re wearing a low-cut top. Again, a great way to tackle an area of your body that’s often a cause of confidence issues!

Facial Yoga & Massages

I’ve slipped this idea in here because I think it can save a lot of you loads of money. What’s the main concern for everyone during a beauty routine? Your face. We want to do everything we can to make our face look its best, and get rid of blemishes and wrinkles. Wrinkles are easily the biggest cause for concern, along with bags under the eyes. We often see both very vividly when we wake up after a rough night or sleep. So, we apply different creams and solutions religiously, to try and banish the wrinkles and dark circles. It sometimes works, but it costs a lot of money at the same time.

Instead, why don’t you cure both these issues for free? All you have to do is give yourself a face massage, and practice facial yoga. The massage element is great for your dark circles. Give a little massage using your fingers, and you slowly boost circulation in that area. This helps the darkness fade away over time. Facial yoga is actually a real thing before any of you question me! It’s like normal yoga, but….for your face…obviously. The aim is to do various facial exercises to gradually help tighten your skin and banish things like forehead lines and visible wrinkles. Two great things to add to your routine and both cost no money at all!

Overnight Neck Lift

Be honest, how many of you actually pay attention to your neck during your beauty regime? Hardly anyone does, but you’ll be amazed at how different your entire look will be if you have the perfect neck. Immediately, this sounds really stupid; how can you have a good or bad neck for goodness sake?! But, when you think about it, some people have loose skin on their neck that makes them self-conscious, others have wrinkles, and it actually does play a role in how you look and feel.

Normally, your neck loses its perkiness due to age, but poor posture also plays a role, which is why a lot of younger people are seeing the turkey neck effect these days. Typically, the only solution is a neck lift. But, you don’t have to go under the knife anymore, as there are things like the SiO NeckLift that can be done at home. Essentially, things like this are strips that you place on your neck before you sleep. They help tighten the skin, get rid of wrinkles, and make your neck firm once more. So, you wake up and look like a new person. This is a great little hack for anyone that’s self-conscious about their neck and can no longer hide it with a scarf due to winter being over.

Coconut Oil Conditioner

I’m sure many of you have heard about the power of coconut oil by now. It’s one of the go-to natural ingredients in the beauty industry and is fantastic for your hair. How many of you have woken up with really frizzy hair, or hair that just seems dry? No matter how well you do your makeup, you feel like your hair lets you down.

Don’t worry, all you have to do is add some coconut oil to your hair before you go out. Melt it down so you can apply it, and then leave it in with a shower cap on for around half an hour. Wash it out, let your hair dry, and your mind will be blown. Your hair will immediately feel softer, be less frizzy, and have a lovely glow to it. This brings your entire look together, making you feel a lot better about yourself.

I can almost guarantee you’re not using all of these ideas in your regular routine! If you feel like any of them will help with a particular problem you have, then give them a try. They’re easy to slip into your routine, and don’t require much additional effort either.

The Secrets Revealed: The Top Things Guys Notice First


Let’s face it: ladies, we all want to look good. Whether you spend hours grooming and styling yourself or are okay with a quick blow-dry and a dash of lipstick, you want to know that you look your best. Even on those days when you don’t want to As much as we’d like to think that physical attractiveness is just a small portion of what makes us great, it still counts for a lot. As hard as it is to admit, men are attracted by our physical attributes first. If you’ve ever wondered what men see or notice first, wonder no more – here are the secrets revealed: the top things guys notice first.

Your smile and laugh

When we meet someone for the first time, we automatically smile (unless you’re a complete fan of Resting B**** Face). The good thing is, your smile is the first thing guys notice, and it better be good. If you’ve got a great smile, don’t hesitate to highlight it with some awesome lipstick or gloss. When you smile, you can instantly attract someone – and then it’s just up to your fabulous personality to reel them in.

Your laugh is another aspect about you that guys notice first, too. If your laugh sounds like the tinkling of bells, then by all means, laugh as much as you can. If your laugh is like the screech of a banshee, maybe it’s better to lie low and just smile or giggle instead.

Your feet and your hands

You may not want to believe it, but a lot of guys do have a thing for feet. It doesn’t mean they have a foot fetish, though – it just means that they appreciate nice, well-kept feet. If your feet are dry and your nails aren’t properly taken care of, this can turn a guy off big time. The same is true for your hands – and, of course, your fingernails. Pay attention to your fingernails and don’t just make sure they’re clean –  If you don’t have time or the money to go to the salon try a set of press on nails.

Your eyes and face

Any decent guy would look into your eyes when you’re talking. But your eyes say a lot about you, and if you’ve got beautiful eyes, there’s no harm in accentuating them even more with the right amount of mascara and eye shadow. Of course, your face will be noticed, too, so it really pays to take care of your skin … exfoliation works wonders for that healthy glow, and make sure to hydrate your skin with skin care products such as masks and creams as often as you can.


For The Love Of Your Home Service Suppliers

Many of us fail to spare even a thought to the service providers who cater to our homes. Be they electricity companies or internet suppliers; we don’t care as long as they do their job. In fact, many of us feel so little regard that we’re willing to leave the moment a better deal comes along.

It’s easy to see why. With monthly bills setting many of us back, saving money is a priority. Yet, have you ever considered your relationship with companies like these could be important? More than that, it could help to save you money and get you the best services. So, instead of treating these suppliers as conveniences, focus on building better relationships. Why? Read on to find out.


Loyalty reaps rewards

It’s tempting to switch and change providers as and when new rates are released. After all, you want the best deal for your money, don’t you? In truth, though, swapping whenever you can may not be the best way to get it. Instead, it could serve you better to build loyalty with one company. To do that, you need to be on their books for a good few years. When you finally have that time under your belt, you’ll be in a much better position to bargain and get some good rates. In some instances, a company may even lock the price you pay to keep you coming. That’s not a step they would bother taking for someone who’s only been on their books for three months. As such, though another company may be cheaper on paper, you’d do yourself out of pocket by changing. Try sticking with one service and see how it serves you. It’s possible you could even get loyalty rewards after a set amount of time.

Ongoing communication can help

Good relationships with supplying companies also ensure you keep lines of communication open. In case you hadn’t realized, that’s important stuff. This way, you can call them when you have an issue, or even ask for deferral on a bill. Bear in mind that, to ensure such open communication, you want to look out for companies renowned for it. For instance, if you’re after an internet provider, it’s worth taking note that only at Optimum did customers rate the service #1 in 2017. That’s got to be a sign of good communication, right? And, it’s worth looking out for similar ratings for suppliers of electricity and gas. Take your time here, and you can be sure you’re onto a winner.

Building respect gets you the best service

Another thing to bear in mind is that respect can ensure you the best service possible. If you’re expecting a company to optimize your home, respect is essential from both sides. You need to respect them as a paying customer, of course. But, you also need them to develop a level of respect. Otherwise, they’re well within their rights to suspend service. And, you can be sure only you would struggle from that.


Add A Bit Of Spring To Your Interior Decoration

While the weather may not be playing ball and catching up the actual date, Spring is definitely on the cards and it is time to stop hibernating away in our home and enjoy the fresh air, and eventually the sun and warmer days. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be thinking about our interiors and you can add a touch of spring to your home to help lift the mood. I thought I would share with you some of the ways you can add some spring to your interior decoration.


Change some of the bigger pieces of furniture

One of the first things you could think about would be some of the bigger pieces of furniture you have in your home. Especially when it comes to sofas and other storage options like coffee or console tables. This is when websites like SunPan could give you some great inspiration for the type of furniture you might want in your home. Often a refresh of some of the items in your home can make it feel like you have completely redecorate your home with only a few small changes.

Add some spring like accessories

Maybe you like the idea of adding some accessories to your home when it comes to spring. A new trend that people are embracing are reefs to your doors. We do it a christmas time, but actually, you can add reefs to your door at any time of the year. Maybe to identify spring, your favourite flowers perhaps, or even just adding a lovely element of curb appeal to your door and home. Other ways you can do it would be fresh spring flowers in vases around your home and even different accessories like cushions and candles that have a fresher scent when lit. The options are endless.

Change the colour scheme

You could also think about the colour scheme that you have in your home. Maybe you want to freshen things up by adding a new colour to the walls. Pastel shades and whiter more cooler tones are great for spring. If you don’t have the guts to change your whole room, you could consider doing a feature wall in a living area or bedroom. Finally, why not change some of the pictures you have in frames? Put aside some of the winter snaps and fill them with holiday and sunshine days to give you that boost for what is to come.

Clear out the clutter

Finally, why not use spring as a chance to clear things up in your home. We all get fresh motivation to do a spring clean, but you could also clear out the clutter for good. Maybe you might like the idea of adding new storage solutions to your home so that you can clear down the sides and the tables. Pinterest has some great ideas on what you can do. If you don’t want to tackle the clutter all at once, just spend five minutes each day clearing things in your home. The difference it could make after a week and even a month will be amazing.

I hope that this has given you some inspiration to add a touch of spring to your home interior decoration.