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Improvement Home

Green Technology for Your Home P

erhaps no decade has witnessed more rapid technological advancements

than the opening decade of the 21st century. At the turn of the century, cellular phones had still yet to catch on universally, and few households had high-defini- tion televisions. Ten years later, cell phones are so prevalent even many school-aged children have them, and rare is the household that has not embraced HDTV. And technology has advanced in other areas as well. Among the more notable advancements is the increase in eco-friendly tech- nologies. Homeowners hoping to make their homes more environ- mentally friendly have a host of options at their beck and call that enable them to do just that. No matter which area of the home needs to be addressed, chances are homeowners can find ways to improve their homes in an eco- friendly way.

Carpeting Cost-conscious homeown-

Area News Group

Hudson - Litchfield News

April 29, 2011 Page 12

Over 20 Years Experience

ers often love how eco-friendly carpeting options are typically lower in price. Recyclable carpets require few, if any, toxic materi- als to manufacture. What’s more, homeowners who enjoy changing their home’s decor from time to time will find eco-friendly carpet tiles are easy to install and subse- quently replace when the itch to change a home’s interior arises.

Building Materials When building a dream home,

homeowners also have a host of green building materials at their disposals. Be it mold-resistant drywall made from recycled paper or eco-friendly siding options, homeowners building their dream home or adding on to an existing home can choose eco-friendly building materials for both the in- terior and exterior of their homes.

Flooring An increasing percentage of

homeowners prefer wood flooring over carpeting. Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly flooring options that use recycled and reli- able wood from old buildings. In addition, homeowners can choose eco-friendly options like cork, rubber or even bamboo for their home’s flooring. But eco-friendly flooring is not

necessarily limited to wood floor- ing. Recyclable linoleum flooring is also available, and these new products are typically far less toxic than the linoleum floors of yesteryear.

Home Office Working from home has steadily

grown in popularity as technology has made it easier for employees to get their work done without having to head into the office. For homeowners who want to add a home office to their homes, it’s easy to make that home office

When building a home, homeowners can choose from a host of eco-friendly building materials that are good for the environment and often good for a homeowner’s bottom line

environmentally friendly. Lighting fixtures are often a

primary concern when designing a home office, in which men and women want to mirror the well-lit environment they’re accustomed to at traditional office buildings. To illuminate the room in an effective and eco-friendly way, individuals can install LED lighting fixtures. Such fixtures have a long life

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expectancy and use far less energy than their incandescent counter- parts. Another way to go green at the

home office without spending much money is to make room for some plants in the office. Plants will absorb toxins in the air and also improve the indoor air qual- ity, which many office workers cite as a problem in traditional offices

that don’t place too great an em- phasis on indoor air quality. When going green, it’s easy to as-

sume technology will be detrimen- tal to the environment. However, advancements in eco-friendly technology have made it easier for homeowners to build their dream homes in eco-friendly ways.

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t’s the time of year when thoughts turn toward refeathering the nest. With more people choosing to stay in their houses, the desire to make “home” more desir-

able is stronger than ever. Most people are forgoing major renovation projects due to the economy, according to a poll of top builders and developers taken by the National Association of the Remodeling In- dustry (NARI) for CBS However, that doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied with status quo. There is a new trend among homeowners

to opt for a room refresh in lieu of a major renovation. Smaller projects such as updat- ing flooring and wall color make a differ- ence and won’t break the budget. Small changes can translate into big style,

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according to Erinn Valencich, L.A.-based interior designer and blogger for HGTV’s “Design Happens.” “If the bones of a room are good, you don’t need to renovate. You can create a big impact simply by updat- ing a few key elements in the space,” says Valencich. “The application of a few styling tips, like adding colorful pillows or rearrang- ing accessories, can start to transform a room.” She suggests trading

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secondary furniture pieces between rooms to get a fresher vibe without investing in new furniture. Shop secondhand furniture stores and junk shops for unusual pieces that will add a little something extra to the setting. Start with the floor When Valencich approaches a room

refresh, she often begins with the floor. “Most people may not realize how much a floor adds to

the ambiance of a space. A dull or scuffed floor can make a room look tired,” says Valencich. Many people try hiding worn floors by layering in rugs, but

Valencich warns that too many rugs become clutter. Rather than purchasing area rugs to solve the problem, she suggests putting those dollars into a new floor. “A floor can become a real hero in a room refresh,” says

Valencich. “It can help in addressing challenges within a space.” For example: * A small, dark room will feel more spacious with a lighter

floor and either a soft or bright wall color. * Light floors can also create a dramatic impact when

paired with deeper toned walls. * For a more intimate look, select a darker floor. * Rich, dark floor colors also create a nice balance with

bolder walls. When adding floors to a space, Valencich prefers hard

surfaces such as wood or laminate for their depth of tone and natural feel. She says that laminate is often overlooked as a solution, but its durability and ease of installation make it a solid choice. “Laminate floors have come a long way since they were

first introduced. In fact, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between premium laminate such as Quick-Step and hard- wood floors,” says Valencich. There is a wide range of styles available in laminate, from

satin furniture finish to hand-sculpted, from painted oak to highly textured surfaces like Quick-Step’s Rustic Cottage Oak. “I like the look of the warm, smoky gray cottage oak floor.

Its highly textured grain looks and feels like distressed barn board. It works well in both a traditional decor or as a nice contrast to sleek modern lines,” says Valencich. Another alternative is the look of exotic wood. If you prefer

the elegant graining and unique color of rare African and Brazilian species, laminate is definitely the way to go. If you are considering purchasing a new floor, quickstep.

com offers a floor configurator that allows you to choose both wall color and floor styles to see how they work together. To make floor selection even easier, Valencich has curated her own collection of Quick-Step “Designer’s Choice” floors, which can be viewed at


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