Feel At Home Faster After You Move

Feel At Home Faster After You Move

By Neda Dabestani-Ryba Prudential Carruthers REALTORS

Moving to a new community can be a great adventure, if you go with the right attitude and a sound strategy for settling-in. Incorporate these tips into an action plan, and you’ll stay focused, organized and proactive—just what’s needed to put roots down fast. Before You Go Complete a change of address form with the post office, which can be done online at the United States Postal Services website, usps.com. You’ll also want to send your new address to any publications you subscribe to, as it can take up to eight weeks for the change to become effective. Contact the Visitor’s Bureau for materials about your new town, which should include a map. Identify important routes, such as those between your home and your office or your child’s school. Make initial contact with childcare facilities. Depending on the area you move to, you may need to put your name on a waiting list. If possible, enroll your children in school. Firm plans will reduce the stress. Pack a box with essentials for your first few nights, such as prescription medicine, toiletries, a telephone, clothing, towels, toilet paper, and bed linen. You’ll also want to make arrangements for to have utilities transferred to your name or turned on. In addition, you will want to set up appointments to have services such as telephone, cable and high-speed Internet connected. Upon Arrival For safety and peace of mind, change the locks. You never know who has a copy of the house key. Locate emergency services – police and fire stations and the closest hospital. Hang drapes or curtains to give you some privacy. Select one room, perhaps the family room, as a place of refuge. Make it a cozy space, free of unpacked boxes, empty cartons or anything else move-related. Stock the fridge with prepared entrees and the makings for no-fuss meals. The First Week Check with the post office to see if they are holding mail for you. Finish sending out change of address to credit card companies, clubs, associations, friends and family. File away all documents related to the move. You’ll need them for verification of moving expenses at tax time. Call your waste removal company or department of sanitation for a trash collection schedule. Open a bank account and arrange for a safe deposit box, if needed. Obtain a local driver’s license and transfer the vehicle registration. Register to vote. Call the local Board of Elections for information. Take a tour of your neighborhood to become familiar with your new surroundings. Learn the routes to work, school, grocers, etc. Help Your Children Adjust Maintain family routines. Kids will appreciate the continuity of family life. Involve the kids. Allow them to select new furnishings or decorate their rooms. Take your children to the local playground. If you move during the summer, it’s likely they’ll make friends there, which should ease the transition to the new school. Try to be home when the children return from their first day at school. Kids feel reassured when a parent is there to hear about their day. Watch for signs of adjustment problems. These can manifest as trouble making friends, academic difficulties, and irritability or depression. Get Involved in the Community Spend time outdoors. Neighbors may greet you and come by for sidewalk chats. Walk your dog in an area where you see other dog owners congregating. Schedule an after-work coffee or dessert hour. Invite neighbors to drop by. Choose a place to worship and get involved; consider doing volunteer work. Select professional service providers such as doctor, dentist and veterinarian. Find out if your community has a Newcomers Club. Your local library is a good place to start. Join a club or take up activities you enjoyed before the move. Take a job-related class to develop new professional contacts and update skills. Don’t hesitate to contact your real estate professional for more ideas or information about your new community. By re-establishing daily patterns and developing ties soon after arrival, your new environment will begin to feel like home.

About the author: Neda Dabestani-Ryba is a licensed Realtor in Maryland. She is a member of the President’s Circle of Top Real Estate Professionals. She can be reached at (800) 536-3806 or visit her website for more information: http://neda.dabestani.pcragent.com/ Prudential Carruthers REALTORS is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

7 Tips To Note When You Decorate Your Home


That bright color might look great in a tiny swatch but garish on an entire wall. Use a free color visualizing tool to help you visualize how the wall would look in your chosen color, before you spend money on the paints.
If you choose a bright color, consider confining it to a single wall with neutral colors, on the rest of the walls to balance the look.
Light colors make a room look larger while dark colors make a room cosier.
To make the ceiling look higher, try a very pale color or white to make it recede. You could try painting the ceiling sky blue so it looks like you are looking up to the never ending sky when you look up towards the ceiling.
Wood gives the room a warmer, homelier, back to nature feel. A room with wooden wallpaper, wood floors, and ceiling, lit with warm lights gives you a comforting, cosy atmosphere.
Get your basic color scheme right first. The color of the floor, walls and ceiling should all complement one another. You could use the exact same color on the walls and ceiling for an unbroken, harmonious look in a room, to form the background before you add the furnishings or furniture. Visualize how the elements go together, you could sketch out the entire look on paper, or use color my home to put together the walls, floor, ceiling and furnishings to see how the colors go with one another. To use, choose the color or wallpaper for the wall. Next, choose the floor color. Then choose the ceiling color. Finally pick the furnishings. These are compared against the wall color or the floor color.
Dark colors are easier to maintain as dirt does not show up so easily. Consider a darker color for sofa sets, tables and other heavily used furniture, especially if you have little kids or pets in your home. On the other hand, if you have a long haired white cat that sheds a lot of hair, you might want want more white furniture as white hair contrasts with dark furniture. Consider your household when planning your color scheme.

Corporate and Promotional Gifts and Gourmet Food Baskets

December 30, 2005…Atlanta, Georgia – Giftboxedbaskets.com has now launched its full line of handmade gift and gourmet food baskets. Consumer demand for affordable and attractive baskets has made this online retailer the one to watch! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and Mother’s Day not too far behind, these are great selections for any occasion.

Collectibles, unique gifts, home and office d•�cor, and executive gifts, are just a sampling of the wonderful gift ideas you’ll find on the Giftboxedbaskets.com website. In addition shoppers can now send virtual greeting cards as well as get up-to-the-minute news on today’s news in business and technology. This will make shopping an informative experience!

Giftboxedbaskets.com provides a high quality, one stop shopping for consumers and businesses alike. “Without a doubt this shopping made easier and fun! 365 days a year is at your fingertips”, explains its owner Annette Brown.

Complementing its wide selection of gift baskets is its affiliation with some world’s best online retailers that have been tops in their industry. Its customer service is unparalleled and “shopper safe” technology is second to none. In addition, Giftboxedbaskets.com offers its “guests” newsletters on the gift basket industry as well information on its new products and services.

About Giftboxedbaskets.com: Giftboxedbaskets.com, an Atlanta, Georgia-based company, which targets both corporate and consumer gift-givers by offering a wide selection of handmade gifts designed to fit any budget. From gift baskets and chocolates to executive gifts, Giftboxedbaskets.com offers some of the most unique gift options available anywhere.

Signing With Your Baby

A conversation between my 18-month-old son and I is one that a passerby isn’t likely to forget.

There have been countless meals at restaurants where my family has been the subject of curious glances, stares and even questions from perfect strangers.

And best of all, he can tell my husband and me that he needs a drink of milk, is scared of the thunder or wants down from his high chair, all without making a sound.

This seeming miracle of communication was made possible by American Sign Language, the primary means of communication used for hearing impaired individuals. With the help of Dr. Joseph Garcia’s book and video Sign With Your Baby, I was able to integrate sign language into my son’s life and use it as a means of communication, starting when he was 11 months old.

Through my 18 months of sign language experience, I’ve learned exactly what works and what may not. Here are a few hints to get parents started signing with their infants:

1. Choose a sign (or signs) to begin with. Many parents choose milk, more, eat, drink or a favorite toy.

2. Show your child the sign (or signs) during an activity (for example, during nursing, if you choose to begin with milk, or before dinner, if you choose to begin with eat).

3. Use the sign(s) before or during the activity, and show your baby the sign every time you do the activity.

4. Use your chosen sign(s) until your baby begins to sign back to you, then choose another sign and start the process over again. The more signs your baby knows, the easier it will be for him or her to pick them up.

Some parents have started signing from birth, but the parents I’ve talked to have reported success from six or seven months. It usually takes some time before a child begins to sign back to you. You will probably notice that he or she recognizes and understands the sign before attempting to sign it. For example, I started signing when my son was 11 months old and he first signed back to me five weeks later.

There are many resources online and sign language dictionaries in the local library, as well as books specific to this subject.

The key to success is to be consistent, show a smile, applaud your child’s efforts and be patient. Someday, you will be attracting attention at the mall, too! And you will know so much more about what is going on in your baby’s head, and your bond will be that much closer.

Good luck!

About the author: Monica Beyer is the mother of two sons and has been signing with her younger son for over 1 year. Visit her website at http://www.signingbaby.com or email her at monica@signingbaby.com

10 Easy but Essential Steps for Home Selling Success

They say that the whole process of selling up, buying new and moving on is one of the most stressful series of events any of us goes through in a lifetime: and yet with careful planning, attention to detail and a clear focus, the whole process can be relatively stress free.

While there will always be factors outside the control of any home seller, those factors that fall within their control sphere can proceed fluidly and smoothly when they take the time to plan and think one step ahead.

By following these 10 easy but essential steps I can guarantee you home selling success!

1. Get free valuations and priceless advice.

Real estate agents will give you a home valuation for free because ultimately they hope you’ll engage their services when it comes to selling your home. Therefore use the experience of a handful of local and trusted agents who are renowned for their selling success and invite them to come and value your home. Then, ask them their opinion on what if anything can be done to raise the value of your property to the maximum.

Real estate agents spend their entire professional lives examining properties, they know what attracts a buyer, what turns a buyer away and what can and should be done to a property to enable the seller to get maximum returns from his property – request advice based on the benefit of their experience. Most real estate agents will be happy to give you any tips they feel are applicable to your home because if you can increase the value of it, they can raise the price of it and if they are asked to represent you they will ultimately make more from the sale! It is a symbiotic process!

This whole first step will arm you with two priceless facts – firstly you will know how much money you can work with when budgeting and planning for your next home. Secondly you will have a fair idea of what action you should and can take to ensure you get the maximum price for your home thus allowing you to begin planning the work that needs to be done.

2. Speak to your current mortgage lender.

You need to contact your current mortgage lender and ask them what penalties and fees you will incur for early repayment. Inform them that you are intending to sell your home and they will give you an up to date statement of the amount remaining and exactly how much selling up is going to cost you in real terms.

3. Work out total selling, buying and moving costs.

To assist you with this step ask one of your valuation real estate agents to give you a break down of all the local fees, taxes and costs you will likely incur when selling and buying. These will most likely include the real estate agent’s fees, a lawyer’s fees, surveyor’s costs, potential gain taxation and also consider factoring in the percentage of any annual taxes or charges on your home that you will have to pay.

Add to these expenses the costs you will incur when buying a new home and remember to include any deposit, mortgage arrangement fees, survey costs and insurances.

And last but not least, get a rough quotation for removal costs which are easy to gauge based on the size of your home and the distance you are likely to move.

4. Work out your budget.

By taking the original valuation sum given to you by the real estate agent and then deducting all of the totals from step 3 you will (hopefully) be left with a positive number! This is your clear profit, this is what you can then use towards your new home.

At this stage, if you have additional sums saved and you wish to add them to the above to increase your purchasing power you should do so. You will be left with an amount you can use as a down payment on your new home.

5. Get a loan agreed in theory.

Now you have to approach a mortgage lender and work with him to determine exactly how much you can comfortably afford to borrow. He will take into account many factors but these will include the amount you have as a down payment and the amount you earn. Ultimately he will arm you with a budget with which you can now work when searching for your new home.

6. Begin searching for your new house.

Now you have a budget to work with you can begin the exciting process of searching for a new home. It may seem dull to have to get all the financial facts and figures in place before heading off to find that dream house, but by doing all the ground work first you will be less likely to fall in love with an unsuitable, unaffordable home. You will not have set yourself up for a fall; you will once again have set yourself up for success.

7. Give your home a makeover!

Take the advice given to you by the real estate agents and get to work with the repairs, renovations and heavy work needed to bring your house up to the top of the market.

8. Find the best real estate agent.

Having already met and worked with real estate agents for the valuation of your home get back in touch with your preferred agent and ask them to revalue and then market your home. If you are in doubt about which agent to choose speak to any friends, family and colleagues in your local area who have recently bought, sold or rented property through an agent and ask for personal recommendations. You need to feel comfortable with the agent you choose to represent you, you need to make sure they will sell your house as quickly, efficiently, honestly and effectively as possible and that they are trust worthy to be left to show viewers around your home.

Once you choose your agent go through their entire marketing strategy for your home and make sure you are comfortable with their approach and that they are going to do everything required of them to assist you. Furthermore, ask them to revalue your home based on the work you have done to it and any market movements that have occurred in the interim.

9. Remember – first impressions count!

Now the time has come for buyers to begin viewing your home. You have to go over every single aspect of your home with a very critical eye and consider what the potential purchaser will make of every aspect. Their first impression of your home will be as they look at it from the sidewalk, ensure the outside of your home is as clean, tidy and well presented as possible and then walk through every room and the garden and look at it with fresh eyes. What will a buyer’s eye be drawn to, the beautiful proportions of the room or the dirty window and vase of dead flowers?

Because first impressions count so very much take the time to consider every aspect of your home and then make time to clean, polish and present your home in the very best light possible.

10. Be as flexible as possible.

If you can be quick to react to a viewing request and flexible when it comes to a contract completion date you will be doing everything within your power to enable your buyer. By remaining on top of the upkeep of your home you should be able to say ‘yes’ to a viewing request at the drop of a hat. And if you remain on top of your home search and are at least mentally prepared to move out swiftly – even if this means moving into rental accommodation for a short period – you will be doing absolutely everything within your power for home selling success.

Signing With Your Baby

Some parents may be hesitant to begin signing with their baby even after hearing all of the wonderful benefits that come from signing with your baby. After all, sign language takes years to learn, doesn’t it? Not at all! Learning to sign with your baby is as easy as reading a recipe.

Teaching sign language isn’t a time-consuming chore. Rather, it can be worked into your life as a natural part of communication with your child as well as the rest of your family. Think of it as an extension of speech, and you talk to your baby every day.

You can start as early as six months of age. Remember, though, that babies can take weeks or even months before making their first sign.

No prior knowledge of sign language is required. Many parents learn right along with their children, and it is even possible to make up signs that make sense to you and your baby, rather than worrying about finding and using the “correct” sign.

There are many resources available through the internet as well as your local library. There are also books available that deal specifically with this topic.

Simply choose a sign to begin with and use it when you have your baby’s complete attention. For example, use the sign for “milk” before nursing or giving a bottle. Use it consistently, and soon your baby will begin to imitate you.

Most importantly, have fun! Encourage others to join in. Make it a family affair. Make it a game, rather than a burden.

Remember these helpful hints and soon you will be a pro at signing.

About the author: Monica Beyer is the mother of two sons and has been signing with her younger son for over 1 year. Visit her website at http://www.signingbaby.com or email her at monica@signingbaby.com

Save time by following this simple work from home tip.

Have you ever heard the saying “Kill 2 birds with one stone”? A somewhat violent way of putting things in today’s society. But that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Here’s how..

I try to update my blog as often as I can, every 2 days in most cases. Today is the day I’ve marked off on my calendar to update it. Do you use a calendar to plan your schedule? It’s a great way to keep on top of things. Usually when I write and article or blog entry it’s on my computer. Today is a bit different though, it’s back to pen and paper. I’m a huge soccer fan and today (as I write this) there’s a semi final Champion’s League game live on TV. Any soccer fans will agree that a semi final CL game is not only very exciting it also produces some real drama. The two teams meeting today are PSV and AC Milan, two of the biggest club teams from Holland and Italy respectively.

Instead of missing the game to work on this article, I simply made a small change that is allowing me to watch the game live on TV (I hate watching taped sports, since I always find out the score before I get a chance to hit the play button on the vcr) and write a draft of the article. All I did was replace the keyboard for a note pad and pen. I guess you can say that I’m killing 2 birds with one stone.

A small change in my routine and I’m working and enjoying a great game of soccer at the same time.

Here’s another way I do 2 things at the same time, that saves me a considerable amount of time..

Two of the most time consuming things I do is package orders for shipping, since I have to go through the orders, package them. Address them and complete the necessary shipping documents (especially if it’s an overseas delivery – custom forms). And the second being, burning the audio CDs that are part of the training program that we market. Each package contains 3 cds and I do between 5-10 packages at a time. Not only is this time consuming, it slows down my computer considerably. To the point where it’s almost impossible to do anything else. To save time, I try to burn the cds while I package orders to be shipped. This way I get work done while my computer is occupied.

Cds get burnt and my packages are readied for shipping.

Can you think of things you can do at the same time that can save you time? I’m sure you can find at least 2 things that you can do together to save you some time.

The game ended with AC Milan winning, but full credit to PSV for the determination they showed though they had to play in front of over 65,000 hostile Milan fans, and being under constant Milan pressure in the first half. On this day through they lost, through the determination they showed I’m sure they’ve won over several new fans.

All the best.

Dangers of Windmills Report #6 Birds of Prey

There is a proposed wind power site located in Herkimer County New York. This is adjacent to a 160 acre property that is currently being used as a tree resource by James R Hirst of East Penn Gardens, a supplier to Highland Hill Farm. This wind project called Top Notch, is proposed by PPM Atlantic Renewable a foreign owned wind power company. This company proposes to place about 56 wind turbines in the area near to the Hirst woodlot.
The turbines, hundreds of feet in the air will forever change the environment of the Top Notch area. Highland Hill Farm and East Penn Gardens Both will fight this project to the limit of their resources. According to James R. Hirst the ecology of his woodlot will be effected in many serious and detrimental ways. The natural bird and bat populations will be at risk, the air flows to and from the woodlot will change. As a result James estimates that the mean temperature change of his property will be up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. This will of course influence evaporation rates for the woodlot and surrounding wetlands. Changing the temperature of the vicinity will effect the native trout streams. There are known endangered species living in the East Penn woodlots and wetlands. These species will be at risk of having their habitat being changed. James Hirst believes that this native and natural ecology of the woodlot will be at risk if the wind turbines are installed. Along with the changes to the East Penn woodlot and wetlands James reports that there will be shadow and windmill flicker problems as well as noise problems from 16 wind turbines that will be installed near and around his property on 3 sides. Bear in mind that birds are one of the best methods of controling insect populations. Birds eat insects, mice, and rats. Mice and rats carry the Lyme Tick. Insects harm and kill millions of people worldwide. It is no wonder that in countries like China where birds are not protected, has become the breeding grounds for many of the world most feared virsus such as bird flu and influenza viruses. Therefore killing birds and bat helps in the sread of diseases to man.
Highland Hill Farm is located in solid clay. We therefore like plants that grow well in dense, heavy, rather impermeable, NOT well-drained soils. One of the best growing arborvitae cultivars, the Green Giant, is a hybred of the Western Redcedar Tree. This arborvitae is our favorite tree to help block the effect operation of unsightly windmills. This is a great choice for the areas effected by windmills being installed by PPM Atlantic Renewable. Here is why: It is deer resistant, ez to plant, fast growing, and will help block the flow of air that must be available to operate windmills. Low or reduced air flow blocks the operation of windmills reducing noise and flicker of the mills. In addition wind mills that are not operating can not kill birds.

The hardiness zone the Green Giant Arborvita tolerates is from zone 5 to zone 8. That’s where extreme cold temperatures get down to a temperate level of about 15 or 20 degrees in the winter (Zone 8), but also as low as a frigid level of 15 or 20 degrees BELOW zero (zone 5). Green giants are evergreens, being cedars. Their rapid growth rates can in ideal conditions reach 3 feet per year. Site requirements for the Green Giant Arborvita are sun to partial shade, moist well drained soil preferred (but still does well in clay), and protection from wind, at lest when young. These conditions are generally found near wind mills.

The Green Giant is a beautiful tree. It has an aesthetically fine form. It’s conical, being narrow to broadly pyramidal, reaching from 50 feet to 80 feet in height in southeastern Pennsylvania. This tree can reach 120 feet in some locations. The width at the base of the cone is usually about 15 feet to 20 feet. The leaves are rich green making graceful foliage. This makes it a great choice for windmill mitagation.

Green Giants make a superb privacy screen. Since this tree grows fast and tall, it is sould be your first choice in plant mitagation selection. Not only visually, but there height can interfer with windmills catching the free flow of air by upsetting the wind patterns. It only takes a small decrease in wind velocity to stop some windmills as they do require a minimum operational windspeed to turn on. Small decreases in wind velocity on sites can render windmills unprofitable. They keep their foliage color year ’round, great for brightening bleak gray winter days with snow on the ground. Being evergreen, they will block windmills all year round. The cinnamon bright red bark when young turn rich russet brown with time crating a strong contrast with the needle leaves while helping to hide windmills.

Green Giants’ flowers, their fruit are pretty little light brown half-inch female cones. (Just so you know, Green giants are females, so its okay to call the cones pretty.) The Green Giant is also a wonderful shade tree, casting a dark, dense shade. The wood is strong too, once the tree is beyond its youth.

This is an arborvita that should outlive even your grandchildren and for sure the windmills. There are Green Giants out west documented to be over 300 years old. Just don’t plant these too close to the ocean, or roads in areas where there’s a lot of salt used for snow removal. If you get over 100 inches of snowfall and more per year, no roadside Arborvita planting where salt is used, PLEASE. The greatest soldier of ancient Greece in the Trojan war had his one little weak spot, what proved to be a fatal flaw, and the “Achilles Heel” for Green Giant Arborvitae is hypersensitivity to salt.
If a windfarm comes to your area, you will need the fast growing Green Giant. You will want to protect your property from these Eagle chopping, bird and bat killing machines. Another major problem of windmills is a problem called shadow flicker. “Shadow flicker” – the effect of the sun shining at a low angle through the moving blades, which means they might have to be shut off at sunset and sunrise if built near houses or if a house is built near a windmill. This is an effect that wind farm operators try not to talk about. Public officials who want the tax dollars that are extracted from windmills fail to address this issue because less hours of operation means less tax dollars will be available. Public officials can take away your rights with a pen like a packman, a bit at a time. You may not get any compensation to boot. You can call them and tell them that their job is to protect your rights not take them away. Please help us save our farms value. They don’t expect to be called. That is why you must do it. They remember the personal calls. Read this call to action and Help Us.
We just found out that there is a large wind mill farm being placed near our son’s property in Herkimer County NY. He will probably lose future uses of his property. There will be what is called a 1250′ setback requirement that means there will be no new devolopment within that zone. His properety will be in that zone. We have no problem with the windmills on the neighbors property, just don’t take away our property rights because of the neighbors use of his property. This amounts to a taking without compensation. I would call this legislative conmdenation. It can happen to you. Bit by bit our public officials use zoning to suit their needs, not to protect ours. If one should not build with 1250′ of a wind mill why is a wind mill allowed to be built allowed to be located with 1250′ of an existing house? The answer is simple, the public officials don’t care about the citizens, they only care about their private agenda.
Please call all the following officals and tell them to stop supporting this project:
Number of Members: Claudine Grande Phone: 315-866-6886

Mildred S Wheeler Phone: 315-866-3209

Dolores D Walawender Phone: 315-866-0137

Jean E Maneen -Phone: 315-894-2034

Gary G Jackson -Phone: 315-894-2579

Leonard Hendrix – Phone: 315-894-3211

Robert Hyde – Phone: 315-866-1898

John L Brezinski – Phone: 315-732-6397

Peter F Manno – Phone: 315-894-5454

Raymond Smith – Phone: 315-429-9433
If these publisc officials are not told how you feel they will do it to others. Please call all of these officials today!!

Here are their Email addresses:

Dolores D Walawender – District 3 (dee525@twcny.rr.com) Jean E Maneen – District 4 (missjeanie@aol.com) Gary G Jackson – District 5 (jacksong@twcny.rr.com) Leonard Hendrix – District 6 (diggerhend@aol.com)

Please Tell Them not to support this taking…Most concerns are centered on destruction of the vistas and a decrease in property values that will occur if the turbines are built. As farmers we cherish the beauty of our land and detest its destruction. Thanks, Bill Hirst

Choosing A New Floor

Is it time to give that tired kitchen floor a face lift? Are you looking for just the right finishing touch for your new living room? The floor you choose can brighten a dark room, make a small one appear larger, or set the mood and tone for the rest of your decorating. There are so many flooring options available on the market these days that you’re biggest problem will be deciding which floor you like best! Here are a few suggestions to ease your decision process.

With all those choices available, how do you decide what type of floor fits your lifestyle and design sense the best? There are a number of factors to consider, including the mood you want to set, the style and colors of your furnishings, and what the room will be used for. The perfect floor for your work-in kitchen may be too dark for your bright and airy living room, and the floor that you love for your living room could be too formal or too delicate for your back patio. Rest assured though, that there is a perfect choice for every room in your home.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Floor

How much traffic will the floor get?

The amount and type of traffic that your room will see should be one of the largest deciding factors in the kind of floor that you choose. A family room floor with a ping-pong table and busy, active life needs a floor that will stand up to lots of foot traffic and the occasional spill. In addition, you want a floor that won’t show wear, will be comfortable underfoot, and easy to care for. Vinyl floor tiles or linoleum might be your best choice there, though a good, durable wood laminate floor might do well, as well.

What’s the moisture level? Is the floor likely to get wet or is the room naturally ‘damp’?

Some floors just aren’t suited for damp areas. A basement playroom with a high moisture content, or a bathroom are seldom candidates for a solid wood floor, though there are some choices in wood laminates that might work if finished properly. Instead, you might choose slate or ceramic tiles with area rugs for the bathroom for a dramatic look that wipes up well and keeps its gloss for years.

What’s your personal style? What mood do you want in your room?

Want a luxurious feel? A thick pile rug over polished wood is a classic, elegant look that is pure luxury. A floor to accent a spare, modern style? Stone or slate, polished to a high sheen is a beautiful backdrop for leather and steel furniture and ascetic lines. A wooden parquet floor can be a dramatic focal point in an open foyer, or can lend a touch of Continental elegance to a formal living room. Wooden floors can hit any mood from rustic to royal, and the choices of color, pattern and style in vinyl or ceramic tiles can fit any active room in your home.

5 Steps to Protecting Your Hardwood Floor From Disaster

Common knowledge states that hardwood floors are a great investment for a homeowner. They add a certain charm and character to a home that can’t be replicated by laminates, carpeting, or any other type of flooring. However, the investment does not stop with the decision to purchase hardwoods. To retain the value, the hardwood must be properly cared for and maintained. Fortunately, with a few simple, easy, inexpensive steps, your hardwood flooring will always remain in perfect shape.

1. Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

2. Do not use a Wet Swiffer. A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

3. Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.

4. Use floor mats in spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching.

5. Use felt pads when moving furniture. Or better yet, lift the furniture off the ground instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If felt pads must be used, please make sure that they are free of any debris. Even if a tiny little object like a staple is under that pad when heavy furniture is set upon it, your floor could receive some serious gouges.

These steps will help ensure that your home retains its value by protecting your hardwood floors against major damage.

Accidents do happen, however, no matter how careful you are. If your floor becomes damaged, contact the manufacturer or the installer for advice.