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Small Home Upgrades Offer Big Returns

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Home Office Design with Productivity in Mind

It’s a common piece of advice from effective home-based workers that you should start each day as if you were going to work in an office outside your home. (Translation: take a shower and don’t work in your pajamas.) The philosophy behind this tidbit is easy to understand.

The same axiom can apply to your home office. Is it tucked in a dark corner of the spare bedroom? Is your desk beside a bed covered in old toys? Is your filing cabinet stuffed in the closet under clothes? If your home office doesn’t feel professional and uplifting, how productive and happy can you be spending eight or more hours a day there?

Decorating your home office isn’t an art, but following some basic principles of office design can help create an organized, effective and productivity-enhancing space.

Choose a wall color that facilitates focus.

Even if your home office will be in the guest room that you just painted last year, it may be a good idea to repaint. Not only does a fresh coat of paint make a room feel energized and new, repainting gives you the opportunity to put a color on the wall that’s office-appropriate.

mydreamshavewings.blogspot.com

mydreamshavewings.blogspot.com

In an interview by Chris Bailey of the blog “A Life of Productivity,” color psychologist and author Angela Wright suggests that your home office color scheme needs to match the type of work you do because different colors create different effects. For example, Wright says, blue might be stimulating if you do a lot of mental work in your home office. Additionally, yellow could encourage creativity, and green might be soothing if your work is particularly stressful and balance is important.

Luxuriate in light.

“You are stuck in your office – albeit at home – all day, working and slaving away, staring at the same wall and some bland office furniture you got at a garage sale,” writes Herman Chan in Home Business Magazine. “Spending all those hours in the same spot, it would behoove you to splurge on one luxury piece.” Chan suggests an inspiring piece of furniture, but you can also create a luxe effect – with only a modest “splurge” – by decorating with lighting elements such as a skylight.

Add a solar-powered fresh air skylight and an energy-efficient solar-powered blind to your home office and the products, as well as the installation, can be eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit as a green home improvement.

iloveblinds.com

iloveblinds.com

If your home office happens to be located in a renovated attic space, roof windows, which are very much like skylights but are in-reach, can offer natural light and fresh air plus access to the roof for debris removal, maintenance or for emergency access.

Organize with attractive storage.

If your idea of home office storage includes the cardboard boxes you used to transport files from the last job you had outside your home, it’s time to revisit your organizational plan. A cluttered, disorganized home office can cause you to misplace important documents and can make you feel overwhelmed.

As more people have begun working from home, office furniture manufacturers have branched out from the sterile-looking metal storage units ubiquitous in workplaces across the country. Today, it’s easy to find attractive storage options that fit with virtually any home office decor.

abowlfulloflemons.net

abowlfulloflemons.net

If you just can’t find a file cabinet that speaks to your soul, why not try some alternative storage options? Move that beautiful sideboard you inherited from grandma – that just never fit anywhere else in your house – into your home office and use it for filing. Not in love with any of the desk options available at your local office store? Hit an antique shop and find an antique desk or even a dining table that you adore. Remember to keep furnishings and storage solutions size-appropriate for the room so your home office doesn’t feel crowded.

Working from home offers many advantages, including the opportunity to decorate your home office the way you want. By following some basic steps and incorporating your own personality, you can create a home office where you’ll be productive and happy throughout the work day.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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Lighting that Saves You Money

lightYour electricity bill can be a big blow to your finances. In order to save you some monthly green, and help lower your footprint, here are some secrets to choosing the best lighting for your home.

Solar Power Lights

Installing solar powered lights is a good way to save some cash. The lights use sunlight for power and charge during the day. Since they don’t require wiring, the lights can go anywhere on your property. Some solar powered lights also come with motion detectors.

Dimmer Switches

A burning light bulb uses a certain amount of electricity, which is measured in watts. By lowering the wattage with a special switch, consumers can manage the bulb’s electrical consumption. Dimmers come with a dial or a slide bar, which allows homeowners to adjust the wattage and thus the amount of illumination. Just how much energy dimmer switches save depends on many factors, including how much and how long a person dims the light, and the type of light bulbs in the fixture. Dimmers save the most money in rooms where wattage is high, such as the bathroom, kitchen and dining room.

Turn the (Non-Fluorescent) Lights Off

Almost everybody was brought up with the belief that you can save money by simply turning the lights off when not in use. Fluorescent bulbs are a bit more complicated. According the U.S. Department of Energy, if you’re leaving a room for more than 15 minutes, turn out the lights. If not, keep the lights on. Why? Fluorescent lights are more expensive, and like other bulbs, switching them on and off limits their life. It’s better to eat the additional energy cost than to continually buy new fluorescent bulbs.

Buy Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Three of the most common energy-efficient light bulbs are halogen incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs. You can find these in most hardware and home improvement stores.

  • Halogen Incandescents have a capsule inside that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. They are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, and they can be used with dimmers. Halogen incandescent bulbs meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard, but there are now many more efficient options to meet your lighting needs.
  • Compact flourescent lamps (CFLs) are simply curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lights you may already have in a kitchen or garage. Because they use less electricity than traditional incandescents, typical CFLs can pay for themselves in less than nine months, and then start saving you money each month.
  • The light emitting diode (LED) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs in white light, general illumination applications are one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing technologies.

These are just a handful of simple strategies that homeowners may be able do themselves to save money. There are many other lighting installation options to choose from that can save you money including motion detectors, recessed lighting and skylights.

Source: www.4overelectric.com

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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