5 Reasons Why Open-Plan Living Is Better

If you’re considering making the switch to an open-plan living arrangement, you’re certainly not alone. More and more people
particularly millennialsare eschewing traditional homes in favour of open-plan layouts that emphasise community and collaboration.

Here are just a few of the reasons why people are opting for open-plan living (often with the help of GIA Custom Design & Construction).

1. More Natural Light

In traditional homes, rooms are typically divided by solid walls that block out natural light. This can create a dark, dreary environment that doesn’t exactly promote positive energy or good vibes. Open-plan living arrangements, on the other hand, allow natural light to flow freely throughout the space, creating a bright and airy atmosphere.

2. Greater Sense of Community

In traditional homes, each room is isolated from the others, which can make it difficult to connect with family and friends. Open-plan living arrangements encourage togetherness and provide ample opportunity for social interaction. Whether you’re cooking dinner in the kitchen or relaxing in the living room, you’ll always be within earshot of your loved ones.

3. More Flexibility

Open-plan living arrangements are incredibly versatile and can be easily adapted to changing needs and preferences. For example, if you want to change up the furniture layout, it’s a simple matter of moving things around until you find a configuration that works for you. Traditional homes, on the other hand, are much more rigid and inflexible. Want to knock down a wall? You’re probably going to need a professional (and a permit).

4. Improved Acoustics

In traditional homes, each room has its own distinct acoustics that can make it difficult to carry on a conversation from one room to the next. Open-plan living arrangements eliminate this problem by providing a single, consistent acoustic environment throughout the space. This makes it easy to hold conversations without having to shout or use hand gestureseven when you’re across the room from each other.

5. Increased Opportunities for Entertainment

Open-plan living areas provide plenty of space for entertainment activities like watching movies, playing games, and hosting parties. And since they include multiple seating areas, there’s no need to crowd around one small television or sacrifice comfort for people who want to sit on the floor. Traditional homes, on the other hand, often have smaller rooms that can make it difficult to accommodate large groups of people comfortably.

6. Improved Airflow

Another benefit of open-plan living is improved airflow. This is because there are fewer walls blocking the flow of air. This can be especially beneficial in the summer months when it’s hot outside and you want to keep your home cool.

7. A Sense of Spaciousness

Open-plan living also creates a sense of spaciousness, because there are fewer walls dividing up the space. This can make your home feel more inviting and welcoming.

8. Easier to Keep Clean

Last but not least, open-plan living is easier to keep clean because there are fewer nooks and crannies for dust and dirt to accumulate in. This means that you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your home.

Open plan = better

Open-plan living is becoming increasingly popular among millennials who appreciate its many benefits over traditional home designs. From improved acoustics and increased flexibility to greater sense of community and more natural light, there are plenty of reasons why open-plan living is betterjust take a look for yourself!

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4 Pest Control Tips to Get Rid of Bugs Around Your Backyard


As part of a relaxing day outside in your yard, you start to enjoy your view only to notice that something is buzzing around your bean plants and flowers. As you get closer to investigate, you find that pesky bugs are invading your precious backyard paradise.

Rather than get upset, instead, aim at these insects and pests as your next target in thwarting your next new game of mini golf! Getting rid of bugs around your backyard doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Instead, learn how to take down these enemies effectively and apply these pest control tips.

Don’t let these insects disrupt your life. Use these tips to rid your backyard of bugs.

1. Pest Control Tips: Remove the Attractants

This means getting rid of anything that might be attracting them to your yard in the first place. Some common attractants include food scraps, standing water, and piles of leaves or grass. Once you’ve removed these attractants, you can then start to focus on getting rid of the bugs themselves.

It also includes a variety of methods, including using insecticidal soap, traps, or even just manually removing them. In addition, you can inspect the perimeter of your home and repair any cracks or holes. These simple pest control methods will help you get rid of bugs around your backyard and keep them from coming back.

2. Do Things that Attract Birds

Place bird feeders and bird baths around your yard, and make sure to clean them regularly. Keep your lawn mowed and free of debris. By doing these things, you’ll create an environment that’s inhospitable to bugs and attractive to birds.

Birds are natural predators of many bugs, so having them around will help keep the bug population down. With a little help from our feathered friends, you can enjoy a bug-free backyard all season long!

3. You Must Have Bug-Repellent Plants

Some great options include marigolds, citronella, lavender, and peppermint. If you have a lot of trees and plants, regular trimming and cleaning up can also help reduce bugs. You can also use certain essential oils in a diffuser to get rid of bugs away.

4. Always Groom Your Yard

Keep your grass cut short, and remove any dead leaves or debris that could be providing shelter for pests. Regularly inspect your yard for telltale signs of pests, such as damaged plants or disturbing soil. If you find any evidence, take action immediately to eradicate them before they have a chance to take over your yard.

Be sure to also regularly check your home’s foundation, windows, and doors for any cracks or gaps that could be allowing pests inside. If you need a service that provides the best lawn care and pest control advice, Heartland Turf & Landscape can offer you these things.

Keep Your Backyard Bug-Free

In conclusion, these pest control tips will help you get rid of bugs so you can enjoy your outdoor space again. Ensure to follow the instructions carefully and take the necessary precautions to keep your family and pets safe.

After following these tips, you should have no problem getting rid of any pests that might be lurking around your backyard. Keep an eye out for any new pests and to call a professional if the problem persists.

If you found this article about bug control and backyard safety helpful, check out some of the other great articles on our site!

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Smooth Start: 5 Steps to Take When Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate Investment

The stakes are high when investing in commercial real estate. When getting started, you really want to make sure you go through everything with a fine-tooth comb. This may seem like an uphill battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five steps to get your commercial property investment portfolio off the ground:

1. Join Forces with Property Professionals

Doing this on your own can be risky and tricky. That’s why you’re better off with people that know the ins and outs of commercial property.

A broker, an attorney, and a contractor are the crack team you need to ensure you do things right. This is a big project, so the more knowledgeable people you have on your side, the better.

You need a broker with experience in the kind of property you’re investing in. You need a lawyer to go over sales and purchase agreements while checking if the property has any legal issues attached to it.

A commercial real estate contractor will give you accurate pricing and protection against liability. A property management company with a commercial record will assist with professional marketing, higher occupancy, and solid accounting and reporting.

2. Associate with the Greats 

Though a lawyer, broker, and contractor can help you with most aspects of your commercial real estate venture, you shouldn’t stop at just hiring a qualified team. It’s also essential to develop relationships that will help improve your business. At the end of the day, opportunities are what you need, and you could use a lot of help in this regard.

You may even find more investors if that’s the type of arrangement you’re attracted to. From developers to architects and engineers, a whole host of professionals could be of service to you.

3. Learn, Learn, Learn

Having the right team and being in the right circles doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Learning more about the investing process will do you a lot of good. From YouTube to books and even podcasts, there are countless educational resources for you to explore.

There are even real estate investment groups you can join, which might offer you a great networking opportunity. You may even wish to work towards becoming a Certified Commercial Investment Member to gain deep insight into the industry.

4. Implement What You Know

No matter how much work you put into educating yourself, it’ll be meaningless if you don’t apply what you know. Regularly underwriting deals will teach you to separate the good ones from the bad ones.

A lot of money goes into this type of thing, so if you can master the skill, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. You underwrite, you make an offer, and then you do it again soon after. 

Your return will be greater, and you’ll be empowered by the ability to make deals on your own. It isn’t nearly as hard as it seems. Yes, people go to school for it, and the occupation is professionally recognized, but there’s even software you can use these days.

5. Have an Action Plan

You’ll have to figure out what kind of property you’re investing in. You may be interested in going the retail route, or perhaps industrial real estate is more to your liking. From multifamily set-ups to office space and even the hospitality industry, your options are endless. So, think about your objectives and preferences, and decide which niche is most suitable. 

Follow the tips above, and you’ll have a sturdy foundation from which to launch your venture into the world of commercial real estate investment

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Everything You Need To Run Your Own House Cleaning Business


Are you interested in starting your own cleaning business?

This is a growing industry so running your own business in this area can be profitable. Even if you are interested in starting a smaller, more affordable business, house cleaning is still a great way to start.

But after taking the first step, most don’t know what to do next. Here are the steps to follow to start your own successful house cleaning business.

Set up a Budget

You will need to set up a budget for your new house cleaning business. This will include costs for supplies, equipment, advertising, and any other business expenses.

Be sure to track your expenses carefully so that you can stay within your budget. Keep in mind that you will also need to pay yourself a salary, so be sure to factor that into your budget as well.

Set Your Cleaning Rates

You can make good money running your own house cleaning business. But to be successful, you need to set your cleaning rates correctly.

Too high and you’ll price yourself out of the market. Too low and you’ll be working for pennies. The key is to find a happy medium that meets the needs of both you and your clients.

Register Your Business

Before you start cleaning houses, you need to register your business.

Registering your business is important because it protects you and your business from legal liabilities. It also allows you to open a business bank account and apply for business licenses and permits.

To register your business, you will need to choose a business structure and select a business name. You will also need to get a business license and tax identification number.

Once you have all of the necessary paperwork, you can start advertising your cleaning business and looking for customers.

Purchase Cleaning Equipment

Successful cleaning services depend on having the right equipment. This includes everything from basic cleaning supplies to more specialized equipment like pressure washers and floor machines.

If you’re just starting, it’s important to purchase the right equipment to get the job done right. Doling so will make your business look professional. 

As your business grows, you can invest in more expensive equipment to make your job easier and increase your efficiency.

Market Your House Cleaning Business

To get the word out about your house cleaning business, start by creating a list of your ideal clients. Then, reach out to your personal and professional networks and let them know you’re in business.

Utilize social media, local print, online directories, and word-of-mouth to get the word out. Also, consider offering a discount for new clients or referrals. 

Finally, don’t forget to ask satisfied clients for reviews and testimonials that you can use on your website and marketing materials.

Check out some detail cleaning services to learn more. 


Plan the Way To Your Success

If you’re ready to start your own house cleaning business, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. With a little planning and preparation, you can succeed. With hard work and dedication, you can make your house cleaning business a success.

Interested in learning more about running your own business? Then why not check out more of our articles? We have plenty of useful guides that can show you the ropes.

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Going Green: 3 Ways You Can Make a Change


Do you want to experience a real difference in the world and make it a better place for yourself, your family, and all of humankind?

Waste and pollution cause terrible harm to humans and the planet. If we don’t fix it, the damage will impact our future. Reaching out for greener living comes from realizing that we are all connected and our actions have repercussions.

You only have one beautiful planet to call home, and it’s time that we start treating it like the precious resource it is.

These three tips for going green can make sure you’re part of the solution.

1. Reduce

Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the best things you can do for the environment. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but here are three easy ways to get started:

Use Less Energy

Turn off lights when you leave a room, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and unplug electronics when you’re not using them.

Use Less Water

Turn the faucet off while you’re brushing your teeth, water your plants during the cooler hours of the day, and fix any leaks in your home. Also, reduce your water consumption by investing in a water-saving shower head and fixing any leaks in your home. 

Minimize The Use of Electricity

You are minimizing the use of electricity by taking advantage of solar energy and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Find out more information from Blue Raven Solar.

By doing these, you can help reduce climate change and its impact on the environment. 

2. Reuse

Start reusing more things. Something as simple as bringing a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go can make a big difference. You can also start bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store.

If everyone started doing these small things, it would have a big impact on the environment.

3. Recycle

Many people don’t realize how important recycling is. We are always told to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but recycling is often the one that people forget about. Recycling is so important because it helps reduce pollution and conserves resources. Here are a few items that can be recycled:

Paper Products

This includes things like newspapers, magazines, office paper, and cardboard.

Plastic, Glass, and Metal.

This includes things like soda cans, food containers, and Styrofoam.


This includes things like computers, cell phones, and TVs.

Recycling is easy and it’s so important for the environment. If everyone does this, we could make a huge difference. So start recycling today!

Saving Earth By Going Green

Making small changes in your everyday routine can have a large impact. We all need to do our part to help the environment. Let’s all do our part by going green. Start making a difference today and help leave a better world for future generations.

For more articles on making a difference through simple, green habits check out our blog.

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How to cut your costs as a landlord

Contrary to what some of your tenants might believe, cutting costs is an essential element of a landlord’s work.

With tax regulations less than favourable and property prices rising, life as a landlord has come incredibly expensive.

However, there are legit ways to cut your costs – without compromising on your tenant’s living conditions (a big no-go area, as any experienced landlord will testify).

Through today’s post, we will now take a look at some of these ways to show how you can supercharge your property business.

Can you do the day-to-day management yourself?

One of the most significant costs associated with being a landlord is the use of a lettings or property management agent.

Whilst these professionals can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle, their fees can quickly add up – especially if you have a large portfolio of properties. In today’s market, you’ll be looking at paying at least 10% of your rent per month, if not more. Many agents also advertise their percentage charge, but add VAT to the small print – meaning that the costs are even higher for some landlords out there.

Consequently, it’s definitely worth considering whether you could manage your properties yourself.

Of course, this isn’t always possible – especially if you live far away from your portfolio. Let’s not forget that you’ll need to be on call 24/7, which for some landlords, isn’t practical nor desirable.

Are short-term fixes really cost effective?

When a problem occurs in one of your rental properties, your natural inclination might be to call out a tradesman to fix it as soon as possible.

After all, the last thing you want is for your tenant to be living in an unsafe or uncomfortable property.

However, over time, quick fixes can sometimes cost you a lot more. Papering over the cracks can result in much more expensive problems – and it’s here where you need to assess the long-term impact of any fixes that you do decide to make. Ask yourself if the issue in question needs a longer-term solution before making a rushed decision.

Do you need to insure every element of your property?

When it comes to property insurance, it can be very tempting to insure every element of your property – from the building itself to the contents inside.

However, unless you’re offering your property furnished, you’ll generally need just a standard landlords insurance policy. It is then up to the tenant to insure their own belongings within the property.

Could you get a better deal on your mortgage?

If you’re a buy-to-let landlord with a portfolio of properties, it’s highly likely that you’re paying a lot of money in mortgage interest.

With rates starting to rise, now could be a good time to review your mortgage deal to see if you could get a better rate elsewhere.

It’s also worth considering whether you could remortgage to release some equity from your property. This could give you a much-needed cash injection to help grow your portfolio.

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HTML vs Plain Text Email: What Are the Differences?


Email has been around forever in internet terms, and while many have claimed over the years that ‘email is dead’, it’s in fantastic health. Indeed, people and machines send over 333 billion emails each day, meaning over 3.5 million every second.

One debate that continues to rage involves HTML vs plain text email.

Plain text emails are bland, but you know they’ll work. Meanwhile, HTML emails enable graphics, links, and other functionality, but you can never be quite sure how they’ll appear across different devices.

What are the two email types, how do they differ, and which is better? Let’s find out.

What Is an HTML Email?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it’s the same code used by many websites. Emails created in this way can appear like any web page you can think of, complete with graphics, links, and other interactive features.

Unfortunately, email was never conceived with these features in mind. Even Gmail used to strip HTML elements out of email messages.

Mobile devices caused further problems. Their popularity soared before responsive design took off, ensuring that emails could adapt for different screen sizes and software.

Even today, many email clients, especially in the professional world, will strip active elements from emails to reduce security risks. So now, as it always has been, you’re never quite sure how your carefully crafted email layout will display to all readers.

What Is a Plain Text Email?

Somewhat appropriately, plain text email could not be simpler. If you’ve ever used Notepad, you know what to expect. These emails are text-based without any enhancements.

They’re great for information, but not ideal for marketing, not least because you can’t lead anyone to a landing page.

Crucially, you can be more certain of email deliverability – more in this article.

There’s nothing in a plain text email to attract the attention of spam filters and antivirus software. These emails aren’t dangerous as they’re incapable of causing trouble!

HTML vs Plain Text Email for Designers

How much does design and branding matter in your business? If you’re the kind of company that thrives on visuals and you’re known for epic videos and social posts, do you want to sacrifice that in your email communications?


Plain text emails reduce tracking capabilities. Alongside the absence of links and pictures, they also lack inherent analytics functionality.

Most email providers use images to track open rates and other stats. Without this information, it can be difficult to optimize campaigns as you don’t have as much to go on.

All is not lost, as plain text users can at least follow bounce, deliverability, and unsubscribe rates as they’re not reliant on the content of the email itself.

Discover More Great Marketing Tips on Our Blog

Email marketing is here to stay, and as effective now as it has ever been. The debate around HTML vs plain text email is sure to continue, and much of it comes down to what works best for both your brand and your audience.

Even if you opt for HTML emails, you may find less is more. We’ve got dozens of articles around optimizing email campaigns, from getting the layout right to boosting open rates and much more here on the blog. So, take a look around to find out how to take your email campaigns to a whole new level!

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5 Eloquent Home Office Room Ideas That Burst With Inspiration



A massive 4.3 million US people work from home at least 50% of the time, and if you’re one of this crowd, you may find it’s easier to focus if you have a terrific home office.

But what are the home office room ideas that can help you create your ideal space? You could be spending a lot of time in this area, and you’ll want to make it as pleasant as possible to help you be more productive.

You’ll be delighted to hear there are numerous excellent ways to design a stunning home office that you’ll look forward to going into.

Keep reading to learn more about 5 great home office tips.

1. Use Natural Light Sources

If you have windows or skylights, you can make these a core part of our home office design to ensure you get as much illumination as possible into your room. Think about having your desk face towards the window and ensure you don’t place any cabinets or other furniture in positions that would reduce the amount of light in your office.

If any areas of your room are still dark, you can use small lights to brighten them up.

2. Put Up Wall Art

There is a virtually endless list of wall art home office ideas and you could put up motivational pictures, personal photos, or even craft pieces that you have made.

Remember to place your art in areas where you’ll be able to see them from your home office chair.

3. Add Your Favorite Scents

To make your work-from-home space even more inviting, you can diffuse aroma oils throughout the room. It’s possible to use oils that help you relax or oils that reinvigorate and make you feel refreshed.

If this sounds like a fantastic idea to you, you can buy this air stream here.

4. Create a Relaxation Area

When working from home it’s important to take breaks to avoid burnout, and you could place a beanbag or soft chair in one spot in your home office. You can also have speakers to play chill-out music and a small fridge to cool your water or soft drinks.

5. Optimize Your Storage Spaces

You may have a lot of home business equipment, and you won’t want it to make your office messy. Try to make the most of vertical storage spaces, and think about buying chairs that have storage room underneath the seat.

Choose Your Favorite Home Office Room Ideas

These inspiring home office room ideas can help you create the workspace of your dreams. You can benefit from maximizing the amount of natural light in the room, having calming aromas wafting through the air, and keeping your space as clutter-free as possible. It can also help to have a chill-out area and to include beautiful pictures on your walls.

You could soon find you enjoy going into your gorgeous office space to get your work done!

Before you rush off to design your home office, check out more of our helpful blog posts.

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Orbit Pillow Makes Tossing and Turning a Thing of the Past

Orbit Pillow – the pillow that prevents you from tossing and turning in your sleep – is available now on Kickstarter.

Does your partner hate it when you roll around while they’re trying to get some sleep? Maybe your dog is too afraid to sleep on the foot of the bed without getting knocked off by your tossing and turning? Orbit Pillow may just be the product you’re looking for.

Orbit Pillow is a spine support pillow nested in a bowl-like casing. The pillow rotates side to side while you sleep, making the name “Orbit Pillow” quite apt. This unique design is inspired by ships specifically designed to recenter the shifting of weight caused by rough waves. In that sense, when we sleep, the waves are our unconscious movements, and the ship is our spine. By using a maritime physics-based approach to spine support, Orbit Pillow keeps your vertebrae balanced and aligned, making sure that you’re getting the most out of your spine support pillow.

But the pillow does more than just recenter the weight of the spine. Orbit Pillow actively stops you from tossing and turning in your sleep, keeping you sleeping on your back straight with excellent sleeping posture. If you find yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep from tossing and turning, or find yourself disrupting the person next to you with your unconscious movements while you sleep, then Orbit Pillow will keep you locked in place and stable throughout the night.

Lots of us who seek out a spine support pillow live with chronic neck pain, and are desperate for a long-term solution. Fortunately, Orbit Pillow also gives your neck a really good stretch – so much so that the company recommends you gradually spend time getting used to the pillow first! This means Orbit Pillow is a great supplement for neck exercises, too. So you can use your Orbit Pillow while you’re doing pilates, for instance, for an even better stretch. How many of us can say that our pillow doubles as a piece of exercise equipment?

At the end of the day, though, don’t we all just want a pillow that’s comfortable? Orbit Pillow has you covered there, too. Orbit Pillow comes with both hard foam and memory foam, so you can customize your pillow for what’s best for your neck and sleep quality. The hard foam really gives your neck the stretch it needs. But if you want to maybe give your neck a break tonight, then the memory foam is there for you, too. Either way, you’re getting the quality of sleep you want and that you deserve.

Orbit Pillow can be purchased at a discounted price from its Kickstarter campaign that launched this April.

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Home Office Expense Deductions: Basics to Know Before Tax Season

During the pandemic, more than one-third of Americans worked from home. It’s a trend that’s likely going to continue. You can use the home office expense deduction regardless of whether you own your own home or rent an apartment.

When doing your home office taxes, consider things like solar panels, the amount of space used for your office, and working with a professional. Don’t let the fear of an audit prevent you from taking home office tax deductions!

Read below to learn about the home office expense deduction and what you can claim on your taxes.

Solar Panels and The Home Office Expense Deduction

Green energy is up 90 percent since 2000 and continues to grow. Solar energy reduces your carbon footprint and even allows you to sell energy harnessed by the sun back to the power company.

Doing home office taxes will allow you to use solar panels as tax credits, not necessarily for the home office expense deduction. The federal government uses the tax system to encourage homeowners to upgrade to green energy. You can earn 26 percent on the total installation cost.

See for yourself how solar energy can help your home office taxes, especially with solar tax credits. Home solar upgrades can save you more on your taxes. It’s essential to take advantage of these benefits!

Home Office Space

For your home office to qualify for home office deductions, you must use your space specifically for your business. For example, it can’t double as a bedroom or playroom. Your home office is where you bill customers, make phone calls, or run the administrative portion of your business.

You can use either the simplified option or the actual expense deduction. The simplified option doesn’t allow for actual deductions. You can deduct mortgage interest, repairs, and utility expenses when using actual expense deductions.

When thinking about how to deduct home office expenses, it’s best to put a list together to figure out what’s more beneficial.

Work With a Qualified Professional

When you work with a qualified professional, they can guide you through the benefits and pitfalls of how to deduct home office expenses. Every business is different, and each comes with a unique set of circumstances and rules.

Finding a qualified professional to help with remote work deductions assures you an expert will handle the paperwork. They know the law and will advise you on what is best.

Sometimes, handling home office tax deductions and remote work deductions is confusing and time-consuming.

Learning About the Home Office Expense Deduction

There are many things to know about the home office expense deduction. You can qualify for solar tax credits and use the space in your home for a home office deduction. It’s also helpful to work with a tax professional to get sound advice.

Working from home means you can save money on your taxes! Don’t let Uncle Sam more than he needs at tax time!

If you found this information helpful, read more tips and advice on our website.

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