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House sense, great ideas for lighting, optimizing space, decorating for winter

Autumn brings with it shorter days and colder nights which can add up to increased electric costs. Finding a way to save money, and, keep your home warm and well lit will no doubt be a priority with most homeowners. One way to save is to replace incandescent and CFL light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED bulbs are considered direct replacements for the 175-year-old incandescent bulb and the more modern, environmentally unfriendly, CFL bulb.

Here are a few reasons why LED bulbs are better.

1. Energy Efficiency. One 11.5-watt LED bulb emits as much light as a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. That means five LED bulbs still use less electricity than a single incandescent lamp.

2. Replacement. Incandescent bulbs typically have a life of no more than 1,000 hours, while LED bulbs may have 40,000 hours of life.
That is 40 times more.

3. Instant Start. CFL bulbs have a warm-up period each time you turn them on. LED bulbs turn on at full brightness.

4. Dimmable. LED products are fully dimmable and are compatable with more than 100 different dimmer switches. CFL bulbs may be dimmable but still have a flicker tendency.

5. Disposal. It is safe to place LED bulbs in the garbage, after they burn out. CFL bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled through using the correct facilities.

6. Heat. LED bulbs emit very little heat. CFLs and incandescent bulbs waste 80 to 90 per cent of their energy in heat. LED bulbs typically waste no more than 50 percent of their energy on heat and are far cooler to the touch.

Although your home reflects your personal style, trends help trigger your creativity and provide the opportunity to shake things up a little. Here are a few hot home trends:

1. Shower Spa – Seek a serene, spa-like shower environment with a curb-less design for a spacious perfect and open shower experience.

2. Open It Up – Open plan kitchens are expanding even further with glass front cabinets and open shelving units to give the feel of even more space.

3. Smart Sensors – Using Environmentally – friendly Smart Thermostats save energy by automatically adjusting the temperature based on your daily routine.

4. Back to Nature – Add value and comfort by blending indoor and outdoor living space. All-weather furniture and outdoor fireplaces are top picks.

5. U-Sockets – The smallest upgrade can make the biggest difference! U-sockets are wall plugs with two built-in USB ports that can be used to power devices such as tablets and smartphones.

The average home is shrinking now that our urban centres are getting so dense. But this should not get in the way of enjoying your small home, condo or cottage. Here are some tricks to optimize all available space.

1. Use a light, neutral palette on the walls to give your home a larger feel. Amplify natural light in your space with lighter colors. Use a second color from the same palette to break up an open space into more distinct areas.

2. Play with brighter colors in the details to avoid a bland or clinical feel. Use colorful accent pillows or artwork to add some more punch.

3. Avoid clutter to help a room appear more spacious. Keep everything tucked away while it is not in use to make your space less congested.

4. Protect it from the sun. For carpet in a sunny area, close the drapes to prevent fading.

4. Make multi-functioning furniture choices. A headboard could double as a bookcase. Furniture that has built-in storage is a plus – one more space to tuck things away.

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