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6 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Man Cave



6 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Man Cave
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Have you always dreamed about having a cool man cave where you can host game nights, play poker or video games with buddies or just relax alone and watch a good movie? If yes, then it’s time to turn your dream into reality and treat yourself to the mother of all dens! Don’t know where to start? Here are a few items to put into your ultimate man cave.

Comfy seating

If your man cave lacks comfort, you might as well not even go down there! For an ultimate man cave experience, you want a good sofa and a perfect recliner. This will ensure all your buddies have a cozy place to sit, plus they are perfect for an afternoon power nap! You won’t have to worry about waking up with a stiff neck or finishing a game with a busted back. So, your number one must-have man cave item is definitely some good seating!


If you love a good game or exciting action movies, or just want to play your video games like a boss, what you need is a large TV! This is an absolute must in every man cave, no matter what your passions are. And, don’t cheap out either! The feeling of your favorite team winning is much better on a large, flat screen.


If you want your man cave to be truly independent of the main living area, you need to provide it with some refreshment—watching sports and playing video games is both hungry and thirsty work! So, don’t forget to put a fridge in your man cave for beers and snacks. However, you’ll need something extra for hosting the best Super Bowl parties or Men’s Nights! If you’re the one known as the “cook” amongst your friends, you might want to make a tiny kitchen in your man cave. The main thing you need is a practical Bosch range perfect for all sorts of cooking tasks from grilling steaks to baking pizzas! It will not take up all your space, but it will certainly get plenty of use, especially if you and your buddies are a hungry bunch. Plus, it will also come in handy when you need an extra burner or an oven during those big family reunions!

Good ol’ bar games

Sure, technology and gadgets are great, but nothing beats a good game of poker with friends or an exciting game of 8-ball. We are pretty sure that the first man cave ever had pool, darts or at least a poker table, so you simply must stay true to this tradition—don’t’ disappoint your ancestors! And, even if you’re huge on the latest gadgets, you can still spice things up with some tech. Get an automatic card dealer, pool ball polisher or a high-tech electronic dart board.

Something to keep your fit

Sure, man caves are designed for relaxation and entertainment, but if you want to stay the alpha male, you mustn’t let yourself go! Instead, get a few fitness items that will inspire you to work out and stay fit and strong. For instance, a dumbbell rack will not set you back too much and take too much space, but it will motivate you to do a few sets of bicep curls and triceps extensions during the commercials!

Personal touches

Even though men don’t like to admit that they care about decoration and design, adding a few personal touches to your man cave will not only make it super stylish, but also make it uniquely yours! So, if you’re a huge sports fan, framing some memorabilia is a great way to pay homage to your favorite team. If you’re into music, find some good records and display them. You can also leave all humbleness behind and fill the room with things you’re proud of. Mount the photo of that huge bass you caught last year, bring out your golf trophies or display your rare comic book issues or first edition books. This is a unique chance to express yourself, so make sure to take it!

Are you all fired up to make your own lair? Well, before you start smashing down walls and making room for your future den, make a good action plan with these essentials in mind, and you’ll surely end up with the alpha and omega of man caves!

Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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Home Improvement

Make Sure To Understand the Notion of Surveillance System Well To Make Use of It




Surveillance System
Make Sure To Understand the Notion of Surveillance System Well To Make Use of It
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If you want, you can always self-install a professional surveillance or security camera. If you can successfully run one cable from the camera to digital video recorder, then you can easily install CCTV security-based system on your own for sure. In case, you are making plans to avoid outsourcing and try DIY plans, then you are likely to save thousands of dollars to be sure. The only time-based work in this regard is to just run the cable from recorder to camera.

Right now, the technology has made it all quite easy and simple for anyone, willing to take advantage of the regular surveillance. The main line over here is that security camera comes at reasonable rates and will enhance security both in business and home. Some of the insurance firms might even offer you a discount for employing CCTV system. You can all quite afford to protect right against theft, vandalism falls and slips and will enhance complete employee performance with the use of the professional Surveillance System Philadelphia now.

Be sure to select the proper gear:

You need to be aware of the fact that DVR is what is used for recording some video cameras. The video is also stored right on the hard drive of the DVR. The new compression based industry standard over here got to be the H 264 compression DVR.

  • This product helps in storing 3 times longer video when compared to the older options like MPEG4 and MPEG compression DVRs.
  • I seem to be the old technology, which has lesser video storage. But the H version can always enable a higher quality of video both live and even over the internet.

Some more next steps:

You might have to look for the DVRs with remote internet viewing right from high speed based internet connection in the world and also as mobile phones such as iPhone or even phone with the current 3G network.

  • You might have to check that they get to work with the WinCE and Symbian networks too. Remote viewing is mostly free and works with the help of dynamic IP address as that is used for accessing the cameras.
  • To remote view that you have entered in the web address, you have to type the user name and the password and can view cameras as well. The dynamic form of IP addresses are stated to be free so there is no need to deal with harsh monthly fees.
  • All you need over here is your high internet speed to cover. If you want, you can even ask the chance to ask whether so many people can easily view the cameras remotely and right at the same time.

Once you are sure of the gear and the technology to use with it, things will start working out in your favor. Just be sure to check out the steps to approach and then you can move further with the DIY video surveillance system installation as well.

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Home Improvement

How to Light Up Your Home: 5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Cosy Glow



How to Light Up Your Home: 5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Cosy Glow
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People often aspire to have an amazingly decorated home and on their way towards achieving their goal, they tend to completely forget about lighting. This is a huge oversight and needs to be taken care of immediately. One of the first things people notice upon entering a room is illumination. If we enter a well-lit room, our brain won’t register anything; however, a poorly-lit environment gets an instant negative reaction no home décor can ever save. We’ve all been raised to believe that a unique source of strong light is the way to go and that anything less would spoil our eyesight. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that you can actually enjoy both cosy and high-quality lighting.

Different room, different lighting 

You would want to arrange lights in your rooms according to taste as well as purpose. Naturally, your study needs to be well-lit with desk lamps strong enough to support you when working or studying late. On the other hand, your bedroom and living room don’t need that kind of support. It’s quite natural to sort this according to use. Start with all the essentials such as nightstand lights, kitchen lighting, study and central lights for all the rooms.

The more the merrier 

Don’t be afraid to add several different lamps and lights in one room. Rooms that are supposed to be cosy, such as your living room or bedroom, should have many different sources of light. Asymmetry is very pleasing in this area, so go ahead and buy all sorts of strange-shaped lamps and bulbs and don’t worry about pairing them up. Once you scatter them across the room, they’ll fit in with the rest of the furniture and they will look absolutely amazing.


While you want decentralized lighting for relaxation, you also need to be practical. Sometimes you’ll just need to see the entire room well while not being bothered with an infinite number of switches. This is why each room in your house still needs a central light. However, you should introduce dimmer switches that will enable you to dictate the mood of the room easily whenever you like it. Of course, anything electricity-related should be handled by professionals. This issue is taken rather seriously in Australia where safety measures have been updated recently. So, if you contact a competent Sydney electrician to do your wiring, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Use natural light 

Don’t forget to use what has already been given to you – natural light. A mixture of artificial and natural light is usually not a good idea. This is why you need to pay special attention to your home’s lighting during the day. Think about your windows and the arrangement of your furniture. Reading and dining, for instance, are activities people love doing under natural light, so try to use this source of light and adjust your room arrangement thusly.

Fluorescents out 

Generally speaking, cosy and fluorescent don’t complement each other. Fluorescent lights are most often associated with offices and classrooms. They cause our eyes to tire more quickly and they can even be headache-inducing. This is something you probably don’t wish for any room in your home. So, forget about fluorescent and focus on warmer lights that are emitted through LED bulbs with lower wattage, for instance.

These are some basic rules you need to follow when illuminating your home. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s your house and it should suit your taste and your desires, so you’re the perfect person to choose and place all these sources of light and combine them into a whole. Try different things and see what you like. Don’t forget that you can use different combinations of the same light sources for various moods and effects. Most importantly, nothing is irreparable, so if you decide you no longer want a lamp or two, you can always replace them easily or simply remove them.

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All You Need To Know About Ethanol Fireplaces



Ethanol Fireplaces
All You Need To Know About Ethanol Fireplaces
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Before reaching for any more blankets, turning up the thermostat, or heading out to get more logs to plan on your traditional log-burning fireplace, it might be worthwhile to consider investing in a bio-ethanol fireplace.  The advantages of ethanol fireplaces are numerous, but in case you require some additional motivation to invest in one here are some different reasons why you should look at this type of fireplace:

#1:  A Modern Design

The addition of ethanol fireplaces to your house is one of the best ways to add some character to your home with a touch of class and not outrageous price tags.  In the majority of cases, the ethanol fireplaces on the market are so elaborate and varied, you are certain to find the ideal fireplace to suit your apartment or home.

Ethanol Fireplaces

@getty image

If you own a house with numerous decorations and character, you might choose to purchase a more minimalist but still modern ethanol fireplace.  On the other hand, if the property is quite plain and you wish to add some additional touches to make the place your own to feel “homier”, then the ethanol fireplace will more than likely do the trick.

As apartments and condominiums tend to have several restrictions on what can and cannot be done, adding a portable ethanol fireplace is an ideal way of adding character while still being cost-effective and practical.

#2:  A Great Source Of Supplemental Heat

It is a well-known fact that fireplaces are good sources of heat.  The traditional fireplace utilizes wood logs as fuel and has been used as the primary source of household heat for a very long time.  Fortunately, there is now an alternative that is less difficult to breathe in, has reduced carbon emissions being released into the air, produces less air pollution, and is a high quality form of heat generation.

How Is A Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Better Than The Traditional Log-Burning Fireplace?

The traditional log-burning fireplaces built into properties require a flue to operate.  The flue is a component assisting with fireplace ventilation and release of smoke produced when the logs are burned.  If the wood smoke is not released from the house, it can cause different dangers and risks to the property and people inside the home.  For instance, improper ventilation can cause a risk of fire, as well as increased risk of respiratory conditions from breathing in the smoke.  This is why a flue is required to prevent the risks; however, the flues tend to allow heat to escape “up the chimney”.

This being the case, you are not necessarily getting a good “return on investment” with traditional fireplaces using logs as fuel sources.  Fortunately, the bio-ethanol fireplaces are available and these items are placed in a property without the need for a ventilation system.  The ethanol fireplace is smoke-free and does not release any hard to breathe air pollutants.

#3:  An Environmentally Friendly And Clean Option

If you are searching for a clean and sustainable method of heating your house, then the bio-ethanol heater can serve as an ideal alternative.  Due to the fact that we only have one earth, we must take care of it as much as possible.  By switching from traditional log-burning fireplaces to the bio-ethanol fireplace, you are doing a great deal of good for your environment.

The reason this is beneficial for the planet is because bio-ethanol fireplaces do not emit smoke.  In fact, these fireplaces utilize ethanol as the fuel source, most well known as ethyl alcohol.  Ethanol is created using a simple process where the gas is produced from fermented plants, such as sugarcane, corn or switch grass – no carbon dioxide involved.

The carbon dioxide released as a byproduct of burning these plants is negligible.  To place it in layman’s terms, the amount of carbon dioxide released by the plants is approximately the same amount humans’ exhale when taking breaths.

#4:  The Minimal Installation Costs

One of the greatest advantages to investing in a bio-ethanol fireplace is that there are no installation costs.  The majority of the units available to purchase tend to be independent, meaning they can be placed on a table, floor or any other flat surface without having to be inserted into a wall.  It should be noted that you can purchase an ethanol fireplace to insert into a wall, but there are other options.  Overall, all you are paying for is fuel and the unit.

On the other hand, the log burning fireplace requires a costly fireplace to operate which needs to be anchored into the property with a flue constructed allowing smoke to be effectively released.  However, if you are utilizing a radiator or boiler, the unit is known to have numerous initial costs and will require a great deal of maintenance which contributes to long-term costs.

This is why bio-ethanol fireplaces are the ideal, low-cost solution.  This type of fireplace is highly durable and can last for a long time without difficulty as they are created using stainless steel.  Moreover, if the ethanol fireplace does experience trouble twenty, fifty or one hundred years down the line, you can purchase a new fireplace as the ethanol option is not attached to the home.  No cost maintenance or remodelling is required.

#5:  Simple To Use And Maintain

Once again, the bio-ethanol fireplaces are simple to use and easy to maintain.  This fireplace does not emit any damaging gasses or particles and will not leave any charcoal to clean or corrode the fireplace.  As the flames are free of emissions, there is no residue left behind; therefore, the ethanol fireplace can serve your needs for several years to come.

Heat is a necessity in the modern society.  We require heat in cold months when the temperature drops.  Instead of bundling up amidst tons of blankets trying to keep your body heat inside the bundle, why not utilize a more natural approach?  The bio-ethanol fireplace is attractive with character while keeping you heated without any damaging effects.

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Home Improvement

8 Tips to Maximize Your Property’s Return on Investment



8 Tips to Maximize Your Property’s Return on Investment
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Today, selling or renting out your property isn’t as easy as it used to be. The market is oversaturated and home ownership is out of young people’s reach because of the increasingly difficult economic situation all over the world. But don’t think it’s impossible to sell/rent for a satisfactory price and get a good return on investment! Here’s where to invest for a good payoff.

Provide the necessary amenities

Most buyers and renters are only interested in a property that is ready to move in. As soon as they notice amenities like air conditioning, central heating or household appliances missing, they will either lose interest or offer a lower price. But if you provide them with current models in pristine condition, you can expect to achieve a premium price for your property. Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness are also something buyers and renters want today.

Develop your property

If you have a large property with only one dwelling, you might want to consider building some additions. Granny flats, garages or pool houses will instantly increase the value of your real estate and command higher prices and allow more tenants. They are perfect of larger families, families with young adults that need increasing privacy and elderly who need to be close to their family.

additional outdoor room

Create a duplex

One of the best ways to sell or rent out your property quickly is to divide your single family home into a practical duplex. This type of property is quickly gaining popularity, especially in urban environments like Sydney because of its housing shortage. Plus, it doesn’t require huge expenses as long as you go with good contractors. For instance, trustworthy duplex builders in Sydney will do all the heavy lifting while you only have to choose the design and pick up the key in the end!

Make it pet-friendly

If you make an effort to create a pet-friendly property, you will instantly boost its value and attractiveness. Many people today are willing to pay more for a space that provides their pets with comfort and welcomes them without too many demands. That’s why a pet-friendly property rents and sells much faster than the competition and provides you with a huge point of difference. So, think doggie doors, fences, balcony screens and other animal-friendly additions.

dog in the backyard

Transform your outdoor space

Most of the buyers and renters of today want a home that is stylish and attractive while demanding minimal maintenance and investment on their side. Sure, huge lawns, many flower beds and big trees look amazing, but they require mowing, fertilizing and pruning. So, it’s always better to create an outdoor space with low-maintenance plants, artificial grass and plenty of decking for entertainment. These offer plenty of comfort and ask very little in return.

Small changes count

Small improvements, remodels and renovations will also ensure a good return on investment. Even tiny details like attractive decoration, new hardware, fresh flowers or deep-cleaned carpets can make your home more presentable, welcoming and attractive. These will set you back only a few hundreds of dollars at worsts but achieve great results that will make your property stand out from the competition.

two women seating outside the house

Find the right people

This is an especially important advice for all of the renters out there. When you spruce up your property, it will most likely result in quality and happy tenants. This means fewer complaints and less vacancy time that are only costing you money. Additionally, it also means no hassle of re-advertising your property and wasting time on showings. So, happy tenants equal better return on investment!

Stage it properly

Many buyers and tenants lack imagination and can’t see the real potential of the property unless it’s perfectly staged. Declutter the space, give every room a clean function, create a practical layout and make the space look airy and bright. If you’re still living in the house you want to sell or rent, remove your personal properties out of sight. Good staging is really a minimal expense that can make or break the sale, so don’t skimp on it.

Upgrading and expanding your property will certainly maximize your investment returns and earn profit quickly and efficiently. And remember, even the smallest home improvements can attract the right buyers or renters and leave you with a hefty check!

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5 Ways to Take Your Home’s Curb Appeal to the Next Level



5 Ways to Take Your Home’s Curb Appeal to the Next Level
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When decorating a home, most people focus only on the interior. However, the first impression your visitors get would always be of your exterior, which is why you should make sure it looks the best it possibly could. So, to help you bring your curb appeal to the next level, here are five suggestions you should consider.

Keep it neat

One of the easiest ways to increase your curb appeal is to keep your exterior tidy. This means that you should mow your lawn frequently, and you should trim your hedges, bushes, and trees as soon as they start looking messy. They are a wonderful addition to any yard, but only if they are kept neat. Moreover, consider pressure washing your house, fence, pathways, and garage; just make sure you know how to do it properly so you don’t peel off the paint.

washed house

Also, if there are any gardening tools lying around, find a place for them, and move your garbage cans somewhere out of sight. In short, if it’s not visually appealing, it should not be in the open.

Freshen up the paint

A new paint job can entirely transform the look of your home, and it’s one of the best ways to keep it looking fresh and modern. Mobile scaffolding can come in handy here, since safety always comes first when painting hard-to-reach places. Besides upgrading the walls of your house, you should also repaint your fence and garage doors. After all, both of those take up a lot of visual space, which is why they should look presentable.

house painted in white

Additionally, consider using your garden plants to emphasize the style of your home by matching the colors of the flowers to the main colors of your house. This would make your exterior look much more balanced, and it would show all your guests and visitors that you pay attention to the details as well.

Bring your front door to the next level

Your front door is the entrance to your home, so it’s bound to be noticed. An eye-catching front door could be just the thing you need in order to add some personality to your home. So, consider replacing your usual front door with something a bit more unique and custom-made. Of course, the paint should also be fresh and vibrant, and the doorknob should be clean and shiny. To finish it off, add a nice wreath and a welcome mat, and your front door will become a perfect representation of your entire home.


Don’t forget the small things

There are many small things that people usually ignore when it comes to decorating, but they actually get noticed quite a lot. For instance, house numbers are easy to swap, and they can make a bigger impact than you might think. You can use them to reflect your house style; use a bit more serious font for an elegant home, opt for colorful tiles for a more cheerful theme, or use aged copper for a vintage-style home.

front door

Similarly, if you replace your typical mailbox with something a bit more unusual and perhaps handmade, it is bound to draw attention. It’s another great way to show off your personality, and if you have a family, it can be a great family project as well.

Light it up

Lighting is just as important for your exterior as it is for your interior. After all, it won’t matter how beautiful your garden is if nobody is able to see it after the sunset. So, think about adding lanterns or small solar lamps along the pathways. String lights are also a great choice, as they can help you create a soothing atmosphere. They are also very versatile; you can wrap them around the trees or place them along the patio railings. Finally, if you have any focal points in your yard, make sure they can always be seen as well.

exterior by night

Making a good first impression matters regardless of whether you want to sell your home, impress your neighbors, or simply enjoy your environment. So, put some effort into keeping your yard clean, refresh the paint where necessary, pay attention to the details, and the result will make your property look like million bucks.

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