Top 5 Patio Décor Must-Haves

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When it’s springtime in the Susquehanna Valley, homeowners everywhere start increasing their living spaces by maximizing outdoor hotspots such as decks, porches and patios. While it’s fine to throw a chair on your patio and call it a day, why not spruce up this outside real estate with some décor? You don’t have to spend tons of money to create a place to relax and dine — you just have to put some of these clever ideas to work:

  1. Devise a theme for the patio.

Your patio is a modest space, so choose a simple theme such as a monochromatic palette with a pop of color or a brighter theme with tons of patterns. Having a theme in mind will help you decide how to decorate, because you’ll avoid adding anything that doesn’t fit with the theme. Consider it a guideline to keep you focused and give the patio a pulled-together look.

  1. Offer a variety of seating arrangements.

Why stick with one kind of seat when there are so many to choose from? You can offer conversational loveseats, standard outdoor chairs, reclining chairs and even a hammock! Each seat should be comfortable in its own right, and it should allow you to maximize the enjoyment of sitting on the patio and taking in the sunset. Don’t forget to add some outdoor-fabric pillows to complete the cozy space!

  1. Provide some shade.

Some patios are automatically shaded depending on whether your Central PA home window company installed replacement windows with awnings, or your patio area is under a porch that juts out. However, if you don’t have any shade, you owe it to everyone to offer some. You can always purchase an umbrella to use alone or as part of a table. If the patio is surrounded by trees, you may even have some built-in shade that captures some coolness.

  1. Light it up.

You might use your patio at all times of the day, so include some lights. Some families hang up outdoor-style Christmas lights for a lovely, twinkling look. Other options include hanging lanterns as well as stand-alone lights. Solar-powered garden lights may be perfectly suited for your patio — just make sure they provide enough light. If you decorate with candles, follow all safety guidelines and ensure they are kept away from any flammable materials.

  1. Accessorize the space.

If you’re treating your patio like a room, remember to accessorize it just as you would a kitchen, living room, dining room or bedroom. Visit any home improvement, garden or craft store and you’ll find hundreds of decorative items. From wall clocks to ground ornamanets, you can get deep discounts on the accessories that will make your patio the talk – and gathering place – of the neighborhood!

No matter what, make sure you have fun creating the right patio for your needs. After all, you can always turn it into something completely different for next year! That’s the beauty of having a changeable outdoor living space.

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Upgrading Your Home – Save vs. Splurge

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You’ve decided that you’re going to upgrade your home over the coming months. Congratulations! But you’re still weighing your options and your budget. Should you save or splurge on your home improvement jobs?

Obviously, what you plan to do to improve the value, comfort and function of your property is entirely up to you. But remember that some of the so-called cheap home improvements may not provide long-term savings. In any case, here are some simple ways to modify any projects to fit your budget.

  1. Update the Kitchen

Is your kitchen reminiscent of an Ozzie and Harriet episode from the 1950s? It’s time for an update, but you don’t have to spend all your cash to make it modern:

  • Improving the kitchen for less: Paint the cabinets a clean, bright color. Add new window treatments, purchase new countertops, buy a wheeled island for added prep and storage space, replace smaller appliances, and change all the hardware.
  • Improving the kitchen for more: Switch to a different type of flooring. Buy brand new larger appliances, buy new cabinets, add a mosaic tile backsplash, and add another window. You could even add an eat-in kitchen or a fully-functional island.
  1. Update the Bathroom

The bathroom is the most used space in any house, and it’s also one of the first that people want to remodel. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can make some changes that will allow you to feel pampered every time you use your bathroom:

  • Improving the bathroom for less: Repaint all the walls, and repaint the tub to cover scratches. Consider buying a new budget-priced toilet, new faucets, new towels and rugs, and an energy-efficient shower head
  • Improving the bathroom for more: Add a new tub or shower, or hire a professional to do a total remodel of the bathroom layout. You can buy a high/low flush toilet, add updated lighting, add a second sink and redo all the flooring.
  1. Turn the Basement Into a Livable Space

If your basement has a decent floor, has appropriate walls, is free of mold and is dry in all seasons, you’ll be able to transform it into a livable space. Here are our suggestions for save-a-lot improvements and spend-a-little-more improvements:

  • Basement overhaul for less: Move furniture from other rooms into the basement. Paint all the walls, or purchase a larger carpet to cover the majority of your basement’s floor. Hang photos and artwork for a finishing touch.
  • Basement overhaul for more: Buy all new furniture, add more wall or “divider” walls, add new lighting, and wire the basement for surround-sound. You can also invest in hardwood flooring or wall-to-wall carpeting, or completely remodel the ceiling.

No matter what your financial budget, make sure that you also budget for the time necessary to complete the project! No one wants to live with a half-finished home remodel job. Some projects can be completed in a weekend, while others require a time commitment. Be patient if the job takes a little more time than you’d like — the results will be worth it!

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Home Improvement Myths Debunked!

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While some home improvement myths do have a smidgen of truth, most of them are simply off-the-mark. If you’ve fallen for these misconceptions, don’t feel bad. We’ve all been there!

Myth #1: You can’t paint a bathtub.

First of all, you can absolutely paint a bathtub. However, you can’t paint a bathtub with the wrong type of paint, or using sloppy brushwork. In order to properly paint a bathtub, you have to use special bathtub paint. These paints are meant to cover up scratches and nicks. Follow the directions, and don’t cut any corners.

Myth #2: DIY always saves you money.

While we completely understand the desire to save money and do things yourself, not all home improvement projects are best done by you, your family and your friends. Think about this: Many home improvement jobs require specific tools that you’ll have to buy or rent if you don’t own them. Plus, your work won’t be guaranteed if you mess up. Therefore, we highly suggest that you write down an expected expense sheet for your next remodeling project to ensure that going the DIY route will actually save you money, instead of costing more out-of-pocket.

Myth #3: Replacing your windows will cost an arm and a leg.

Many people ask us: “Are replacement windows worth the cost?” When they do, we tell them that the assumed “cost” is actually much less expensive than most people expect, especially when the cost is amortized and the energy savings are tallied. When you invest in replacement windows, you do so with a long-term view of adding value in mind.

Myth #4: You should always go with hardwood or laminate flooring because buyers hate carpet.

We’re not sure when carpet got such a bad reputation! Today, we hear from many homeowners that they would never add carpeting to their homes. Hardwood floors and heavier-grade laminates are attractive, too, but there’s nothing wrong with carpeted rooms. The key is to purchase carpet that will wear well, and be easy to maintain over time.

Myth #5: Going green will break the budget.

Not every “green” project is going to be costly. For instance, many people would love to make better use of the southern exposure on their homes by adding windows where there are none. They may worry that adding replacement windows will be too expensive, but what they don’t consider is that those windows will allow the sunlight to flood rooms for the lifetime of the home. This will lower energy costs every single year, meaning the project will eventually start paying for itself.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every home improvement project has a negative aspect to it. In general, if you want to do something to make your house your dream home, go for it! Just make sure you do your due diligence and thoughtful planning!

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Budding Home Trends of 2015

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Every season, people talk about fashion trends — but what about home décor trends? It turns out that what’s in-style for clothes is similar to home décor trends. This year is no exception. For some easy home improvement ideas to get your house out of the dark ages and into the limelight, read on. We promise that you’ll get plenty of compliments from visitors who will instantly see that you know what’s hot for 2015.

Ditch the Matching Furnishings

Look around your living room, bedrooms and family room, and tell the truth: Does the furniture all seem to match? While this was once a huge trend in decorating rooms, it’s been thrown out the door in favor of furnishings that differ from each other. Try buying throw pillows in designs and fabrics that stand out from the general color scheme of your room. Play with bold hues, and don’t be afraid of some texture. Instead of furniture that all looks the same and coordinates perfectly, add an interesting dynamic to your room.

Go for Classic Window Treatments

We used to see plenty of replacement home windows that were highlighted by window treatments that were anything but classical. In fact, many were all over the board with different lengths and fabric styles. Today, window treatments are going back to traditional designs. It may be a good idea to look for items such as roman shades, or curtains in appropriate lengths for the size of your replacement windows.

Rethink Your Views on Wallpaper

One home improvement idea that has started to become popular again is wallpaper! Even though wallpaper is associated with the 1970s and 1980s, it’s becoming trendy again. The trick is to only paper one wall as an accent or focus on wallpapering one room, such as a formal dining area. You won’t get overwhelmed by the amount of wallpaper, and it’ll be just the right amount to add some character to your room. Another place to add wallpaper can be a downstairs powder room featuring a toilet and sink, but not a shower — the humidity is bad for wallpaper.

Play With Your Walls

When was the last time you switched up the decorative items and pictures on your walls? If it’s been longer than you can remember, it’s time to take everything down and put them back in interesting patterns. Don’t immediately assume that you must have tons of artwork on the wall. Sometimes, less is definitely more. Besides, if you can’t decide on what photos you want to display, you can always remove family photos every season and replace them with other favorites.

Jump on the 2015 home trends, and see just how up-to-date your home can look and feel!

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How to Add Value to Your Home

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You may be ready to sell your home this year, or it could be the house you expect to stay in for at least several more decades. Regardless, it’s still important to add value to it. After all, adding value to your real estate can help you eventually get top dollar from a buyer, refinance it for a higher appraised amount, or keep the value in relative proportion to the real estate market, no matter what happens.

So what can you do over the next few months to add value to your home? There are several options, and each depends on many factors — including the architecture of your structure, your budget and your personal preferences. It’s safe to say that even if you only tackle one of these projects this summer, you’ll be on your way to adding value to your house.

Where to Start

  • Increase your home’s storage capacity. Many homes in the central PA area were built more than 50 years ago. In older homes, it isn’t unusual to see rooms with tiny closets, attics with exposed beams and basements with dirt floors. This leads to small storage space in a lot of these homes. You can improve your home’s storage by adding build-ins, such as a walk-in closet in a dry basement or attic space, or even a built-in storage bench in a family room. Everyone loves extra storage space, especially the spaces your guests can’t see.
  • Replace your windows and doors. Have your windows or doors ever been replaced? In many homes throughout Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill and the general region, windows and doors are original to the house. Though this might seem attractive from a historical perspective, it’s highly inefficient and wasteful. By adding replacement home windows, storm doors and patio doors, you can truly boost the value of your home. Not only will the home be easier to heat and cool, but the windows will also look cohesive and function as expected.
  • Replace the flooring. Most houses could use a flooring refresher in at least one or two rooms! We’re talking about carpeting, tile, stone, laminate, hard wood, and other finishes. Unless your flooring is completely up-to-date and doesn’t have telltale scuff marks, stains and chips, a new floor will make your home look more sparkling than ever! In the case of a house with decent wood floors, it may be enough to simply have a professional refinish them so they gleam and shine.

Of course, there are other ways to add value to your home. But if you’re ready to start with a Harrisburg window replacement company, Renewal by Anderson of Central PA can help you!

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Why Invest in Custom Windows?

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You deserve to feel like you’re walking into the house of your dreams every time you step through the front door of your home. Yet many Central PA homeowners feel just the opposite about the place they live. Some of their common complaints include:

  •  The house seems dark and uninviting.
  •  The windows are like sieves, leaking hot air in the winter and letting out cool air in the summer.
  •  There’s no character to the house.
  •  It’s tough to clean the windows in the house.
  •  The floors and furnishings near the windows have become faded thanks to destructive sunlight.

Ironically, a Mechanicsburg custom window company can solve many of these problems by giving you the opportunity to differentiate your home from every other one on the block.

What Is the Value in Custom Windows?

Custom windows are just as they sound – they are custom-created to fit your particular needs and spaces. This means they may be unusually shaped or sized. They may also be an amalgamation of several types of common window styles. Even if you don’t currently have custom windows, you can work with a Mechanicsburg custom window company to determine the best place to put your custom window to take advantage of natural lighting and architectural design.

Custom windows can also be up to 100% energy-efficient depending upon whether they open or not. This means no nasty cold surprises when you walk by them in January, or a blast of heat from them in July. In fact, custom windows pay for themselves over time, making them a good investment for the frugal homeowner.

Many homeowners enjoy the fact that custom windows maintain the integrity of older homes. The average age of a home in Harrisburg is about 50 years. Though new construction has dotted the landscape, many buyers are drawn to older properties with historic appeal and old-fashioned character. Custom windows can be created to mimic the exact look of the windows they are replacing. Thus, the curb appeal is never compromised, but the benefits to the homeowner are still maintained.

Why Get Custom Windows if I’m Selling?

If you’re planning to put your house on the market this year, custom windows might be an asset to the successful sale of your home. Realtors appreciate being able to tell clients that homes have been upgraded with custom windows, and buyers may be more likely to bid higher if they know the property has been recently renovated.

In the end, custom windows can be modern or possess the charm of the past. Unique to you and your home, they’re anything but run-of-the-mill. Not only will they set apart your property, but they’ll also turn your home into a remarkable, energy-efficient showpiece.

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Old House, New Problems

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Take a walk or drive through Harrisburg’s historic district and you’ll see tons of buildings that were constructed in the 1800s and early 1900s. These homes boast character and ambiance that many buyers find irresistible. However, during renovation, it often becomes necessary to replace windows with newer versions.

The reason buildings upgrade their windows usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

 The windows are cracked or otherwise damaged.

 The windows are not energy-efficient.

 The windows don’t open, or open only after serious amounts of tugging.

 The windows have been glued shut.

 The windows are virtually impossible to clean.

 The windows are single pane.

Of course, the trick is to make sure any Harrisburg replacement windows that are added to a historic home, row home or townhouse match the architectural style of the building. If you’re trying to match the style of an old building with your new windows, it’s important to follow a clear action plan.

The Action Plan

First, in the case of a remodel of a historic building, you must consider the finished product. For example, if a bow or bay window is going to be added to the front “parlor” area, the space has to be evaluated and different types of windows need to be considered. Because the windows won’t be exactly the same as the old-style windows, it’s essential to get a fit and appearance as close to the original. Each window needs to be evaluated in this way, which sounds like a painstaking process, but it will be important to the final product.

Next, the functions of your windows have to be considered. Let’s say a home in the Harrisburg district is to be retrofitted with ductwork to allow for both gas heat and air conditioning. In this case, the homeowner might not have to open every window to allow ventilation into the space as a form of natural air conditioning. This can lead to a choice of picture windows, as picture windows do not open.

Finally, any current windows that cannot be easily replaced, such as stained glass pieces, need to be evaluated. As a Harrisburg replacement windows company, we often discuss how to integrate unique glasswork into designs. If there’s a way we can keep your beautiful stained glass, we’ll do it! This will help you enjoy the old features without compromising your comfort or spending too much.

The overarching goal is for your old home to perform efficiently and have an aesthetic appeal. There’s no reason to think that upgrading a former mansion needs to change its ambiance — adding replacement windows just makes it a more livable area for new occupants to enjoy!

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The Best Windows for Bathrooms

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Each room in your house has its own particular purpose, but no room gets the constant traffic that your bathroom sees. The bathroom — whether it’s a small powder room or an expansive master bath with an open-concept tile-and-glass shower — is a mainstay for every person who lives in or pays a visit to your residence. Because your bathroom should also be a private, comfortable area with excellent ventilation, it’s important to investigate the best windows for bathrooms when you’re going to order replacement windows.

If you’re determining which home window styles are best for your Harrisburg home, ask yourself these few questions:

  • Can the window be opened if needed? Even if you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, you may want to open your window periodically, such as when there are fumes from heavy-duty cleaners. Double hung and casement varieties allow you to open them — picture windows do not.
  • Is the window accessible for regular cleaning? All the traffic that goes in and out of the bathroom causes the windows to require consistent cleaning to maintain their sparkle. However, if the window is located above the toilet, it may not be extremely easy to clean. If this is the case, it may be wise to consider changing the location of the window in the bathroom. Your Harrisburg home windows will be reachable to anyone, and the layout of the bathroom will be more convenient and modern, too.
  • Does the window need to be frosted? Window treatments such as blinds and heavier curtains can be used for privacy in bathrooms, but some homeowners in the central PA area want an additional element of security. This can come in the form of frosted or colored glass. The window can still be opened when needed, but when it’s closed, it becomes impossible for outsiders to see inside.
  • Does the window have an unusual shape? If you don’t want to change the unique shape of the window in your bathroom, that isn’t a problem. Custom windows can be created to perfectly fit the style of your house while adding money in your pocket through energy efficiency.
  • Does the area around the window need to be updated? Many times, homeowners get replacement windows in their bathrooms as part of a renovation. Make sure that you let your window installation company know your plans for the rest of the bathroom. That way, you’ll get the window that matches your new design elements and needs.

Every room deserves the right windows, and the bathroom is no exception. With some forethought, any homeowner can pick replacement windows that will look amazing and perform throughout the year. No more dingy bathroom windows, and no more cracks that allow cold air to infiltrate a warm space!

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3 Simple Steps to Prep Your Lawn for Spring

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Your lawn took a beating this winter. From the ice to the winds that scattered debris across your yard, it probably doesn’t look like the cover of a home and garden magazine. The good news is that it can be lush, beautiful and attractive again! You just need to give it a little TLC as a responsible central Pennsylvania homeowner.

While all lawns will grow in some way when the warm weather and spring rains approach, you want to control the growth of yours so it doesn’t look like a jungle. It’s just part of your Camp Hill, Harrisburg, Hershey or Mechanicsburg home improvement to-do list for the months of April through June — and you can cross it off your list in a few easy steps.

1. Clean and Aerate the Lawn

First, start removing all the leaves, twigs and other items that will only get in the way of fertile growth. Bag them or, where applicable, add them to your compost pile. After your lawn is completely bare of debris, it can be aerated. Aerating the soil involves poking holes into the earth when it’s moist — but don’t worry, there are special tools available to make the job easier.

All the air that goes into your lawn helps loosen up soil and encourages any plant life to grow more productively. Aeration is ideal if your lawn has patches of dirt that are incredibly dry and feel spongy.

2. Seed Your Lawn Properly

Once your lawn is aerated, you can start to plant seeds unless you’re certain that your grass is going to grow evenly in size, shape and color. You’ll want to investigate the right grass seeds for the type of soil you have, as well as how much shade and sun the grass will get. Go to your nearest Harrisburg or Mechanicsburg home improvement store for advice. Make sure you seed your lawn properly. Too much and the lawn won’t grow, too little and it will look sparse.

3. Plant Flora and Gardens at the Right Time

 As part of your lawn care, you may want to plant flower beds, a veggie garden or other flora. If you aren’t accustomed to planting trees, shrubs, etc., you’ll need to investigate the best time of year to put the seed into the ground. Some plants may grow healthier if they are started indoors and then moved outdoors later. To make your life easier, you can put together a one-page chart that outlines each plant, when you’re supposed to plant it, and where you intend to plant it.

With just a few steps and a bit of planning, your Central PA lawn will be the showcase of the neighborhood! Plus, it will stand up to the wear and tear of all the upcoming backyard barbeques, kids’ parties and events.

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6 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

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Many of us would love to make our home more eco-friendly, but we’re just not sure how to begin. Plus, an eco-friendly house often comes with the reputation of expensive bills. While it’s true that you can break a budget if you radically overhaul your home, you certainly don’t have to spend more dollars than you’re comfortable spending.

In fact, there are several easy and cost-effective techniques to live your daily life in an environmentally conscious way:

1. Use green cleaning products. It’s springtime, so what better time of year to switch all your cleaning products to greener ones? You can buy products at the store, or even make your own out of surprisingly cheap ingredients. You’ll feel much better when you know that you’re not sending toxic materials down the drain.

2. Cut down on your waste. There are many methods to cut down on waste. Instead of simply throwing all waste products into the garbage so they wind up in the landfill, start sorting your trash and see whether anything can be recycled or even composted. This will reduce the waste you’re producing as a household and help the environment flourish.

3. Start walking or riding your bike when possible. Have to make a trip down the street? Rather than jumping in your car, ride your bike or use the opportunity to exercise your legs. You’ll save money on gas over time, and you’ll be doing something good for both you AND the environment.

4. Replace your inefficient windows with newer window models. Replacement home windows can dramatically cut down on your energy bills, which means you’re using up far less fuel every season to heat or cool your home.

5. Buy recycled products when available. When you have the chance to buy an item that’s made from recycled products, consider it a viable option compared to buying a product that has been made from non-green materials. This can include everything from furniture to napkins to books.

6. Visit antique stores, second-hand shops, yard sales and auctions. Why not give an old treasure new life? If you want to redecorate this year, see how many things you can find that have been discarded by others. You may just discover treasures waiting for you that have more character and charm than anything you could buy at a big box retailer.

As you start to focus on becoming more eco-friendly in your everyday habits, remind yourself that any change you make will help. You don’t have to radically transform your lifestyle in order to have a positive impact. Simple steps are the perfect beginning to a greener home and healthier lifestyle!

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