The first impression is the last impression. A doormat is meant to welcome the visitors, so it should be a combination of decent colors. A pedestrian doormat is not favorable, as it seems outdated and unwelcoming. So, make sure that you set the tone right with an attractive doormat.
2. Is your sofa talking to your chairs?
Furniture arrangement can make a lot of difference to the looks of your living room. We often make the mistake of pushing the furniture against the walls, which should be avoided for a better representation. It also saves a lot of space for other such things inside the room.
If your house has any access to the natural light, let it in. Never use curtains to stop the natural light from entering the rooms, as it makes space look a lot more open and clean. Moreover, it makes everything look beautiful and natural.
2. Replace tables with Ottomans
In order to make the best use of space, use ottomans instead of tables. They take up less space and are very useful. Choose dark-colored ottomans and give yourself the best chance to strike the perfect balance.
Home décor ideas for a big house
It is a lot easier to decorate a big house with plenty of space available for new décor items. You can play with anything and everything to make a sea change in every nook and corner of the house. Here’s all you need to setup:
1. Swing set table
One of the fancy home decoration updates for a big house includes a swing set table, which will offer the right platform to you and your family members for having fun while doing important tasks. The swing set table is getting popular in a quick span of time.
2. Fusion dining and pool table
Dining pool tables are the ultimate life hack. A dining table that turns into a pool table whenever required. The design also allows the accessories to be stored under the table. The perfect home decoration items for a big house.
Beautify different rooms with different décor ideas
Home decor ideas for bedrooms
A bedroom is an important place for every individual to relax after day-long activities and tiredness. This is why you need to get your act together while you are decorating the bedroom. It should the best place in your entire house to make you feel comfortable and secure. Here are some of the tips that may help you:
1. Best blues
Find the right blue for your bedroom with matching lamps, curtains, and pillows. A contrasting pattern can also be taken into consideration. But, a bedroom often calls for a neat look instead of fancy feelings. So, choose wisely for a better outlook.
2. A chocolaty twist
Use wallpapers and tactile cushions to form a related bedroom scheme. A carpet in a similar tone will complete the sophisticated look. For all the chocolate lovers, this will be the best ever bedroom to have.
Home decor ideas for living rooms
Living room is where the real journey starts. We have a lot of memories of spending some precious time with our family. There are many special days and times attached to this particular place, which makes it important to make the place even more beautiful.
1. Fresh air is here
Fill all the nooks and corners with small plant pots for fresh air and a greener look. Try to include at least one plant pot in every corner to make your living room airy-fairy. A dark contrast to living is a bad idea. Use light colors on walls for a lively look.
2. Use multiple mirrors
Mirror means light. Place a few small mirrors in your living rooms to bring the light inside. It adds to the charm and attracts the visitors as well. Try to use mirrors with multi-colored frames for the best look. The number of mirrors that can be placed on a single wall will depend on the length of the same.
Home décor ideas for kitchen
Kitchen decorating items often mix and match beautifully. You can make a lot of noticeable changes in your kitchen, involving the walls and shelves. Here’s how an upgrade can change your kitchen this time around:
1. Latest trends for kitchen
The latest trends in kitchen design are fashion-forward colors, focal walls, and layers. Apart from these, floating shelves are also coming in various styles that will give a new look to your kitchen.
2. The kitchen wall
A kitchen wall can be symmetrical, patterned or freestyle, depending upon your choice of creating a gallery wall. You can make it interesting by hanging plenty of decorative and useful items easily available in the market.
Seasonal home decors
Home décor can also vary on the basis of season. Different seasons put different colors in our life and set the rhythm for our special experiences. So, how can the home décor be same for multiple seasons?
Here how to create a different ambiance for different seasons:
Summer house décor
The best time to decorate your house is summers. This is when you have plenty of space to make your move. You can update the traditional things, give your fabrics a makeover or brighten the fading colors of walls or even go big with new accessories. Here are some of the pointers that will help you out:
1. Create a casual seating area
A casual seating area may just be right thing for your weekends. You can make various uses of the same, especially for entertainment purpose. Choose the right place with bright colors for a high-profile look.
2. An outdoor arena for cozy evenings
Spending your summer inside is like sleeping without a bed. What fun is summer without magical evenings outside? This time you don’t need a park to enjoy cozy evenings. You can create an outdoor arena for this purpose and enjoy your time outside, without going outside. Make sure to light up the area and add a few items for a real look.
Winter house décor
Home décor for winter may be limited, but a wise usage of things can seal the deal for you. It is all about warmth in winter, so choose your home décor updates accordingly. You can make use of the ideas below:
1. Create a winter vignette
A wooden coffee table, décorated with candles and sticks to keep things warm. Surrounded by side tables and pine cones in ceramic baskets, it is just the right place for your winter vignette.
2. A sweater wrath
Give a warm feeling to your front door with a wreath. You can make it from old sweaters and a few pine cones. It just gives that winter look to your entrance and an aura of warmth around the house. After all, winters are all about finding warmth, wherever you can.
Decorate your house without spending money
Be it a car, a phone or a house, we want to stay upgraded. But, we often find it difficult to spend on mere upgrading, if we already have it. We spend a lot of money on mobiles and cars, but we may not be required to spend any money on the upgradation of our house if we do it in a particular way. These tips and tricks will definitely help you decorate your house without spending anything:
1. A string of photographs
Take out all the old photos, postcards, and paintings, and put them together using a string. It is the most inexpensive decorating idea. You can also personalize an entire wall with this concept. This kind of wall usually looks good in a living room.
2. Rearrange the furniture
Place your furniture in the correct way to create a better matchup of things around. Use the space wisely and place a wall clock in front of the furniture. Rearranging the furniture will enhance the beauty of the room without impacting your pocket. You can also place colorful cushions on the furniture to make it more attractive.
All these tips and tricks will help you decorate your house in the best possible way. Make sure that you take every detail and every minor thing into consideration. An upgrade is all about doing away with the traditional looks and adding some more beauty and charm to the outlook of your house. So, look at the best possible combination and do away with the pedestrian look. Get started with your home decoration today!
Decorating is not an easy process, even for the most qualified experts. A great interior requires materials that are in line with space’s architecture. It requires objects that reflect the owner’s character but also pieces that are timeless and scaled proportionally. It also needs to strike the right balance between traditional and modern. But above all, it requires a story—one that will dictate every design decision that needs to be made for space. This is what interior designer Patrick Sutton in his new book, Storied Interiors.
As the son of a famed travel journalist, Sutton naturally experiences the process of interior design through storytelling. Without a compelling storyline, space can feel incoherent. By crafting a space that tells a story, Sutton is able to create interiors that are timeless and deeply personal to his clients. Creating the right story takes time—and the designer compares the early stages of a new project to dating. Ahead, he runs us through the things he’s learned through his many years of experiences and the mistakes to avoid at all costs when decorating a space.
Tell a Story
A good interior is one that tells the story of its owners through time and space. In order to create an interior that’s both timeless and meets his clients’ needs, Sutton explains it’s crucial to start by getting the story right from the start. “We do a deep dive in understanding their hopes, dreams, and aspirations and then do the same with exploring the location we are working in,” he says. “Since our work is so story-driven, we need to get that part right before we do anything.”
Understand Your Needs
“It’s like dating,” jokes Sutton. “I ask questions designed to tell me more about the client. Like, ‘What are some of your favorite trips you have taken, and why do you like them? What makes you happy? Do you cook? Who inspires you?’ Based on the answers, I get, I dig deeper into detail. Are you a light, bright happy person, or do you prefer cozy, warm and masculine spaces?” Each of these intimate questions is a way of getting to know his clients on a deeper level—beyond simply their taste in décor—to understand how they want to use the space and what makes them feel at home.
Use Personal Objects
Though many interior designers try to refrain from using clients’ existing objects and items, Sutton embraces the process—all the while ensuring that each piece will be coherent in the story he is trying to tell. “I am very upfront and honest about this subject,” he says. “I am happy to work with their objects because it makes the home more personal and about them, but I’m also clear that it’s my job to tell them if I feel it doesn’t work.”
Mix Classic With Modern
To Sutton, a timeless interior is all about the tension between modern and traditional. “I love both attitudes, so it’s always been part of my design lexicon,” he explains. “I am a big believer that good design reflects who we are as people, and having equal parts familiar and innovative seems to capture that spirit. Classic proportion never goes out of style, but inventive finishes or fixtures adds a bit of edge keeping design fresh and forward-thinking.”
Choose the Right Materials
Where renovations are concerned, the designer argues that it’s especially important to pick materials that will stand the test of time. “I prefer real, tactile natural finishes in kitchens because they will wear well over the years rather than overly precious, new products that look horrible with the first sign of wear,” he explains. “Honed marble, cerused woods, unlacquered brass, and brushed limestone floors are some of my favorites.”
Don’t Copy Others
Interior design is a deeply personal process, and one of the worst mistakes Sutton believes one can make when designing interiors is to be formulaic or trying to replicate something you’ve seen elsewhere. “If you are clear about whom you are designing for and the essence of where you are designing for them, then your approach will fit only them and their location,” he says. “That will make the work timeless. If you make it about you or what you saw some other designers do, well then, the work will be short-lived and fleeting.”
Reinforce Your Story
For Sutton, a timeless interior starts with a unique storyline where every object works to support the same vision. Similarly, a bad interior often stems from a lack of vision. “Once you are clear on the story, its relevant every detail can be drawn from that perspective,” he says. “The quality and consistency of those details will reinforce the core idea, and you will have no chance but to create an authentic design, suited just to that project. To me, those are the designs that never go out of style because they fit who and where they were designed for.”
Blog Source: MyDomaine | Follow This One Designer Tip to Ensure Your Home Will Never Go Out of Style
Every single day, millions are impacted by the burden of back pain. Living with that pain is unpleasant enough, but more than that, weak spine healthcan lower your quality of life. You can start missing out on social activities, hobbies, personal passions, and even time at work. Eventually, you might have difficulty accomplishing even the most basic tasks of routine life.
This threat carries over to your financial well-being as well, since data suggests that low back pain is one of the primary causes of employment-related disabilities. Caring for your spine health can help you manage current pain and help to reduce future issues.
Keep reading to learn top tips for good spine health, including exercises to strengthen your back, proper nutrition for spinal health, getting good rest, and appropriate ergonomics for your office chair.
Exercises For Strengthening Your Back
Staying active is crucial for having a healthy spine. Being inactive or physically unfit increases your odds of spinal pain which can affect not only your neck and back but other areas such as shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and more. Exercise is best in short bursts. You don’t have to exercise for extended periods of time to get positive spine health results.
Practice proper lifting at home and at work, using your legs and knees to pull things up instead of your upper body or back.
Specific exercises that can help your spine stay or grow strong include bridges, partial curls, cat stretches, pelvic tilts, and knee-to-chest stretches. Also, use draw-in maneuvers, lying lateral leg lifts, and supermans.
Start off with staying hydrated. This maintains fluidity in the joints and elasticity in soft tissues. Spinal disks are susceptible to inadequate hydration as well. Dehydrated spinal discs can cause you to start losing height and if it progresses can hamper your mobility. In addition, it has the potential to wear down the discs and harden the inner nucleus of the disc causing even more pain and loss of mobility.
Maintain your weight and avoid inflammation by filling your diet with plant-based proteins as much as you can. Also, get as many actual veggies as you can. Among animal products, dairy products and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, which respectively fight inflammation and strengthen your bones. Herbs and spices also help. They add taste and flavor, but they can also fix damaged tissue, like turmeric. You can also fight inflammation with ginger, basil, rosemary, and cinnamon.
Proper Rest For Your Back
Your body needs rest. Proper sleep is essential to your health and wellness. When our bodies are at rest, such as when we are sleeping, our brains produce chemicals that promote healing. Try to sleep on your side, rather than your stomach, since that puts more pressure on your spine. Side-sleeping can also help to reduce the collapse of the upper airways, which can help the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Also, be sure to turn your mattress on a regular basis and use supportive/body pillows for good neck and back alignment. You spend a third of your hours of life in bed. Make sure that your sleep is sound and restful to promote your body’s natural healing.
Good Ergonomics For Sitting In Your Office Chair
If you have a sedentary desk job involving hours and hours of sitting, you don’t have to succumb to years of spine pain. You can stay comfortable and boost your spine healthwhen sitting at work, or even at your home office, by using the right office ergonomics.
Your chair is the most essential element to your success in this endeavor to good spine health. If you’re free to pick one, choose a chair that properly supports your spinal curves. Adjust its height so you can keep your feet either flat on the floor or on a footrest. In either case, your thighs need to be parallel to the floor. The armrest should likewise be positioned so that your arms can rest on them gently so your shoulders can relax.
Anything that you need to reach for frequently from your desk, including your stapler and telephone, need to be close to your body. You want to minimize reaching as much as possible. If you can reach something comfortably while seated, stand up to get it.
Your mouse and keyboard should be on the same surface. When using either, keep straight wrists and with upper arms remaining close to your torso. Your hands should either be at the level of your elbows or slightly under them.
Your monitor should be right in front of you, at about the distance of your arm’s length. Ideally, the top of your screen will be right around your eye level.
Stretches for Spine Health at Work
If you’re at your desk for a long time, take occasional breaks to do seated lower-back rotational stretches. These relieve pain and fatigue, and they also strengthen your lower back while working your core muscles.
These exercises work best in seating without arms. Put your feet flat onto the floor and then twist at your core in a rightward direction. Maintain a tall spine and square hips. Put your hands either behind your head or just rest your left hand on your right knee in order to support your stretch.
Hold this position for at least 10 seconds before reversing in an identical fashion for just as much time to the left. Repeat this exercise from 3 up to 5 times per shift.
Concluding Spine Health Tips
Always be mindful of warning signs that present themselves. Never ignore spinal pain or problems. Nearly everyone has back pain now and then, but if it lingers or happens often, it might be indicative of more serious issues. When left untreated, spinal problems can get worse, so listen to your body and what it is saying to you. Avoid overdoing it in exercise or your job, and limit over the counter anti-inflammatory medications to mask symptoms.
Be willing to enlist chiropractic care so you can learn more about spine health and get the most effective treatments and diagnosis possible. Start your journey to a healthier life. Schedule an appointment with Evexia Family Chiropractic today.
Unless you’re a yoga instructor or physical therapist, chances are you give as much thought to your spine health as you do the fitness of your gall bladder. You know your spine is there—it even makes itself known on a regular basis—but prioritizing the need to nourish it probably falls on the same rung of importance as caring for your lymph nodes.
And yet, your spine is far more important than you might realize. Comprised of 33 individual bones stacked one on top of the other, your vertebral column—or spine—operates as the primary foundation of your entire body. Thanks to its intricate structure, as well as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, your spine allows you to stand (and sit!), twist, bend, dance, make love, swim, run, bicycle, climb—you name it. Separated into five regions—your cervical spine (or neck), your thoracic spine (mid-back), yourlumbar spine (lower back), your sacrum (the “bridge” between your hips and spinal cord), and your coccyx—your spine also protects your spinal cord, a part of your central nervous system that forms a link between your brain and the rest of your body and governs movement, behavior, even the ability to urinate.
Sound vital? That’s because it is. Damage to your spine—through injury, infection, a sedentary lifestyle, scoliosis, poor posture, disease, age, or more—can wreak havoc on your entire system, generating everything from tingling in your hands to pain and paralysis.
With that in mind, we’ve put together our six best tips on how to nurture this oh-so-critical component of your body. Read on.
1. Tone up your core
The benefits of consistent, strength-building exercises are widely touted, but did you know that paying a particular mind to your core muscles can lead to better posture, decreased back pain and a reduced risk of injury? This is because those muscles—in your abdomen, obliques, pelvic region and lower back—help take the pressure off your lumbar spine and support your entire vertebral column while also keeping you flexible. Plank is often referred to as “the definitive core exercise” as it profoundly (and quickly) strengthens these muscles (and can be done anywhere, anytime, by just about anyone) but it’s not the only option available. Swimming, leg raises and bridges are effective as well.
2. Limit sitting time
Humans were not built to endure eight to ten hours of sitting in a chair and staring at a computer screen. And yet, given the prevalence of desk jobs, most of us don’t think twice about spending the lion’s share of our life on our rump. Over time, this can have significant consequences.
Those abovementioned core muscles go underworked, to be sure, but sitting also, as WebMD reminds us, “puts huge stress on your back muscles, neck and spine.” (It’s even worse if you slouch.) Sitting can also compress your spinal cord and result in a litany of symptoms that may require “anything from supportive care to emergency surgery,” says John Hopkins Medicine. If you’re a slave to your desk—or a slave to any of your electronics, especially your T.V.—set a tomato timer and rise, stretch and move every 20-25 minutes.
3. Invest in ergonomic office furniture
If you must sit for a large part of your day, invest in ergonomic office equipment. Through innovative designs and technology, ergonomic furniture is geared specifically to supporting the spine, reducing pressure on the hips and encouraging good posture. Enhanced productivity and less pain are just two of the benefits you might find on top of a healthier spine.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Carrying extra pounds on your frame isn’t just a burden to your self-confidence and overall wellness—it can also be deleterious to your spinal health. Why? That extra weight your spine must support creates enormous strain for it, and may substantially contribute to symptoms associated with osteoporosis, osteoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease and more. In terms of excess weight, the most vulnerable part of your spine is your lumbar region—which is responsible for causing pain for 80% of adults at some point in their life.
5. Use mindfulness when you’re on your phone
“Tech neck” has a clever ring to it but there’s nothing cute about it: According to new research released in Surgery Technology International, using your smartphone—whether it’s checking out Facebook or reading an email—puts serious stress on your neck and spine and may cause poor posture (a predecessor to a slew of spinal ailments). As Shape reports, “At zero degrees—when you’re standing up straight—your neck holds the actual weight of your head (about 10 to 12 pounds). But with every degree, you tilt forward (like when you’re scrolling through Instagram or totally lost in Candy Crush), that weight increases. At 15 degrees—a slight lean—your spine is experiencing 27 pounds of force, and by 60 degrees it’s feeling a full 60 pounds. Day after day, this extra weight can lead to early wear and tear and degeneration, which could even eventually require surgery.”
Your solution? Honor the natural shape of your spine, use mindfulness to keep from slouching and tell your phone who’s boss by not bowing down to it but raising it up to your face. At the same time, spread out your screen time and pace while you’re conducting business on your phone or having a conversation.
6. Rest—and repair—well
Sleep is non-negotiable but how you sleep can make a huge difference to the health of your spine. Your bed ought to be firm enough to support your muscles and bones, but also comfortable enough to facilitate a deep slumber. At the same time, aim to sleep in a fetal position. Sleeping on your side with your legs drawn up “can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine,” the
National Institutes of Health reports. And if you need even more love than a good night’s sleep, consider a therapeutic massage, which can increase blood flow and bring healing nutrients to your spine. You don’t need to grow a backbone, after all, but you do need to champion the one you have.
Blog Source: VitaVibes | 6 Simple Ways to Care for Your Spine
Bad diet, lack of exercise, too much stress and a poor work-life balance can all contribute to medical problems in later life. One health issue that seems to have increased in recent years is the number of people who have back problems.
Much of this is down to the consequences of a more sedentary lifestyle. Many of us are stuck in office chairs hunched over computers, driving long distances in our cars and, once back home, we’re slouching in front of the TV.
Maintaining a healthy back is important. The spine forms the core around which our skeletal structure is arranged. Damage to this area of the body leads to significant pain, loss of mobility and can have a real impact on our ability to live life to the full.
Here we take a look at 10 great spine health tips that should help keep your back in tip-top condition whatever your age:
1. Seated Posture
One of the fundamental things to consider when it comes to spinal health is posture.. In truth, this is one thing people all too often ignore. How we sit is important, especially seeing as we do quite of a lot of it in the modern world.
Rather than slouching over a computer or laptop, it’s best to try and sit with a relatively straight back. The best way to do this is sit with the posterior right back in your seat. Straighten and push the shoulders back and then relax a little. This should leave you with a reasonably good posture.
Sitting in an ergonomic chair is also helpful and can make it easier to maintain a strong posture.
2. Keeping Active
Sitting for long periods is not good for the spine health. The more someone can keep themselves active, the better. Fitting a decent amount of exercise into your daily routine is good and it doesn’t have to be high impact. Getting up and having a stretch or walking around can make a big difference.
3. Choose a Supportive Bed
What we sleep on is another key factor in back health. We so often get used to a particular mattress, even if it’s not entirely good for our spine health. If someone does suffer from spinal health problems, it’s worthwhile changing the mattress and even attempting some different sleeping postures which may relieve pressure from the spine.
4. Lifting Technique
Back problems can occur from a variety of different reasons, but one common cause is a poor lifting technique. Even for moderately heavy weights, simply stooping and picking something up can put stress on the lower back and cause problems.
First of all, it’s important not to try and lift things that are too heavy in the first place. Always get help if it’s going to be a struggle. The correct lifting technique is to bend at the knees and keep the back straight.
5. Walking Posture
When walking, it’s best to avoid leaning forward or backwards. Imagine a piece of string attached to the head, pulling it upwards.
Bring the stomach in slightly and engage the core and tuck the buttocks in and tilt the hips forward a little. This should give you the perfect walking posture.
6. Avoid Neck Strain When Using Mobile Devices
These days, one way to take care of your back is to avoid neck strain when using a mobile. We’re practically married to our smartphones nowadays and constant use can play havoc on the muscles and bones around the neck.
7. Supportive Footwear
One of best spinal health tips is to start with your footwear. Uncomfortable or poor-fitting footwear can have a huge impact on how we walk and therefore our posture. Avoid things like very high heels or heavy boots and opt instead for cushioned soles that give plenty of support.
8. Balanced Diet
A well balanced diet can positively the body in numerous ways, including individuals spinal health. Poor food choices can result in excessive weight gain and even obesity. That, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on the back. Diet can also impact on what nutrients get to the spinal cord, so good choices will help maintain good spinal health well into later age.
Finally, for those who want to give their backs a real treat, the occasional massage will certainly help. It not only aids relaxation but improves blood flow and releases tension in muscles that tighten and cause discomfort.
Whether it’s a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or strained muscles, it can take some time to diagnose and treat the causes of back pain. And all the while, you’re trying to navigate health insurance, work and family life, and everyday stressors in addition to your back pain.
Here are 5 key things you can do to help achieve more comfort and pain relief.
Use a firm or medium-firm mattress. Most people benefit from having a mattress that’s firm enough to support their spine, rather than an old or soft mattress that allows the spine to sag. As long as you’re choosing a mattress to ensure the best support and sleeping position for your condition, there are many available types that can be helpful.
See Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis
Keep your spine naturally aligned. For back sleepers, try placing a pillow beneath the knees to reduce stress on the lower back. For side sleepers, try placing a pillow between the knees to keep the hips balanced.1 Some people may also benefit from a neck pillow that supports the cervical spine. Experiment with a few different types of pillows to see what you find most comfortable.
Getting good sleep is important and prepares for a new day of handling heavy spinal loads.Getting good sleep is important and prepares for a new day of handling heavy spinal loads.
2. Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles.
Your core muscles—located in your lower back and abdomen—need to be strong and supple in order to support your spine and take the pressure off your lower back.
Unfortunately, for most of us, our core muscles are rarely used enough during everyday activities. These muscles need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. Check with your doctor, physical therapist, or other health professional to learn which exercises may be appropriate for you. Many core exercises to help reduce back pain are also available on this website.
3. Your shoes need to support your spine.
Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. For example, make sure the area of the shoe that fits the back of your heel is snug, but not overly tight. A good fit prevents overpronation or supination—or too much rolling of the foot to the outside or inside.
Also, consider using shoe orthotics or inserts if you need further balance or support.
4. Enjoy the benefits of massage.
A good back massage has a number of therapeutic benefits, such as increasing blood flow, loosening tight muscles and connective tissues, and boosting feelings of relaxation. While a massage does not need to be vigorous to be soothing, some evidence suggests that a moderate-level massage offers more stress-relief benefits than a light-touch massage.
While it’s not the same as going to a massage therapist, having a massage chair in your home can be a practical and easy way to get some of the benefits of shiatsu or Swedish massage.
5. Practice good ergonomics while sitting—and limit total sitting time.
The discs in your lower spine are loaded more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a painful back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more.
Choosing the right office chair and practicing good posture while seated plays important roles in supporting the natural curves of your back.
It’s also important to do whatever you can to avoid sitting for long periods. Get up to stretch and walk around at least once an hour, try working at a standup desk intermittently during the day, or get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.
After months of house hunting, you finally found the home that works for your budget and needs. Congrats! For many, becoming a homeowner is the equivalent of achieving the American Dream. It’s also one of the largest financial investments anyone will ever make. For this reason, it’s especially important for new homeowners to start off on the right foot. From finding a reliable handyman to understanding your property taxes, here are 15 essential tips to make your first homeownership experience a success.
15 essential tips for new homeowners
Find a reliable handyman
One of the best things you can do for yourself (and for your house) is to find a reliable and trustworthy handyman to help with home projects. A good handyman should be a “jack of all trades,” who is able to help with a number of home service needs. From hanging artwork to installing light fixtures, you’ll need someone to assist with various tasks once you move in. For advice on how to find a trustworthy handyman and other service professionals, read our tips here.
Get to know your neighbors
Meeting your next-door neighbors is one of the most important things you can do once you move in. After all, you never know when you’ll need a good neighbor to grab the mail or water the plants when you’re out of town. Establishing good rapport with neighbors also goes a long way in making your day-to-day living situation more enjoyable. For advice on how to meet your neighbors, read our tips here.
Take your time with renovation projects
Want to make changes to the home? We recommend taking it one project at a time as opposed to carrying out a massive renovation all at once. This way, you’ll be able to save money and pay for projects as you go. It also helps to first live in the house to see what it is you really need and want to change. That way, you’ll be able to better prioritize renovation projects. For advice on how to budget for a renovation, read our tips here.
Keep all home warranties and manuals in a safe place
As a new homeowner, you’re going to inherit a number of appliance manuals and warranties (that is – if they’re still under warranty). Make sure to keep all of these in an organized folder, so you’ll be able to find them whenever necessary. In addition, you’ll need to pass on any new and existing warranty information and manuals to the new homeowners, if and when you sell the house.
Change the locks before you move in
Don’t wait to change the locks. We recommend hiring a locksmith, changing the locks and getting new keys before you move into the home. After all, there’s no telling who has a key to the home. Former homeowners could have given out keys to babysitters, service professionals, friends and neighbors. Just to be safe, go ahead and change the locks before moving your precious belongings inside.
Replace air filters regularly
Breathing dirty air isn’t healthy for you or your family. If the home was sitting on the market without owners living inside, then chances are good that those air filters haven’t been changed in a while. Dirt and dust accumulate in the filters over time, making your HVAC system less efficient overall. Fortunately, you should be able to find replacement filters at your local hardware store. For more advice on HVAC maintenance, read our tips here.
Paint the house before you move in
There’s nothing more inconvenient than having to paint a home while you’re living inside. Not only will the house be swarming with professional painters throughout the day, but you’ll also have to smell and breath in those less than pleasant paint fumes. To avoid this inconvenience, go ahead and schedule the painters to repaint the walls before the move takes place.
Maintain an emergency fund for unexpected home problems
As a new homeowner, you should be prepared to deal with unexpected (and expensive) problems that might arise with the home. These problems could include your AC system dying, plumbing problems, mold problems, pest problems and structural issues. Unfortunately, fixing these problems is typically costly. It’s helpful to have a safety net – or emergency fund – set up to pay for these type of home problems.
Focus on improvements that will give you the most bang for your buck
Looking to renovate the home? In addition to taking your time with home projects, it’s also a good idea to focus on improvements that will give you the most return on your investment. Examples of projects that typically yield a good return include an updated kitchen, a neutral paint job, an outdoor deck and a bathroom remodel. For more advice on the most valuable home improvements, read our tips here.
Choose your homeowners insurance provider carefully
Finding a good homeowners insurance policy is one of the most important things you can do when you own a home. This type of coverage should provide financial protection from structural damage due to natural disasters (think: a fire or tornado). In addition, having good homeowners insurance will provide you with much-needed peace of mind. For advice on homeowners insurance, read our tips here.
Do a deep clean of the home prior to moving in
It’s unlikely that the former owners had their home professionally cleaned prior to moving out. From scrubbing toilets and disinfecting bathroom surfaces to cleaning the sink and mopping the floors, there are a number of things should be cleaned before moving your furniture and belongings inside. To ensure that you start things out on the right foot (and with a clean slate), we highly recommend giving the home a deep clean prior to moving in. For advice on how to give your home a deep clean, read our tips here.
Take advantage of the tax benefits
Believe it or not, there are number of tax breaks and financial benefits that go along with owning a home. One major tax benefit of homeownership is the mortgage interest deduction, which “allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of money you’ve paid in mortgage interest during the year,” according to Nerdwallet.com. For more advice on taking advantage of the financial benefits of homeownership, read our tips here.
Perform a home energy audit
Upon moving into your new home, we recommend scheduling an energy audit as soon as possible. Offered by many utility companies, these audits assess the energy efficiency of the home. After a full assessment has been completed, the utility company will provide you with valuable advice for improving the home’s overall efficiency. Of course, it doesn’t take much to properly energy-proof your home. For advice on low-cost ways to improve energy efficiency (and save money on utility bills), read our tips here.
Plant shade trees
Speaking of energy efficiency, one of the best ways to save money on cooling bills (and improve your landscaping at the same time) is to plant shade trees along the exterior of your home. These shade trees will reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home, keeping it cooler during the summer months. Adding trees will also improve the air quality surrounding your house.
Be prepared to pay property taxes
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of property taxes when purchasing a home. Your property taxes will be determined by your county’s tax rates and the assessed value of your home. When creating an annual budget, it’s very important that you factor in these property taxes, so you don’t end up with a bill you can’t pay. For advice on calculating your property taxes, read our tips here.
Of course, one of the best things that a new homeowner can do is to hire reputable movers to get from point A to point B. Fortunately, Our extensive network of reliable movers makes it easy to book the best moving company for the job. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Best of luck and happy moving!
Digital advertising research tends to overstate the case about how and when television will die. After all, national and cable networks are populated by many of the same young, brilliant online marketers seeking to delight their customers. As digital and video marketing take on some of the characteristics TV ads, television networks are also converting ideas used by digital marketers.
Broadcast TV vs. Cable TV Advertising
So lets start by explaining some basic differences between spot television and spot cable advertising.
Broadcast Reaches More People
Broadcast TV is all your local channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc). Because everyone has access to broadcast (it comes free over the air), your ads will show to more people. This means you cannot target your advertising as well but if your goal is general brand awareness, this is a good fit.
Cable Targets by Interest
Cable is all the channels you have to pay for such as MTV, HGTV, Science Channel, ect. TV shows that air on cable can attract a very specific audience – and usually has a much smaller reach than advertising on broadcast TV. For example, there is a big difference between the interests of those who watch HGTV and those who watch MTV. If you’re trying to target a very specific demographic or group and have a limited budget, cable may be your best option.
TV Advertising Advantages
According to advertising researchers, the average consumer is exposed to three hundred to three thousand advertising messages each day. Newspapers, direct mail, branded clothing and shirt-slogans, flyers, and more may consciously or unconsciously increase the prospective buyer’s awareness of needed or desired products and services.
Consumer competition is fierce. TV advertising is one of the best ways to get the attention of potential buyers. Afterward, the advertiser may seek to foster awareness, the first step necessary to encourage prospective buyer action.
Without TV advertising, the only medium with sight, motion, and sound properties, the advertiser is limited to “flat” media. Radio ads have only sound, and print ads and billboard ads which have only sight to engage the viewer. Television is considered the dominant “mass medium”. TV advertising continues to offer the greatest potential to reach the largest number of prospective retail customers.
Much like Google’s reach within the local SEO and digital space, national broadcasters FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC reach over 120 million viewing households and almost 300 million individual viewers. TV succeeds at reaching almost everyone. Advertising Age says it reaches an astounding 95 percent of U.S. consumers.
Those businesses who can afford the cost of 30-second spots during the Super Bowl enjoyed increased brand attention at a time viewers are feeling good. When viewers like the advertiser’s commercial, they are statistically more likely to buy the advertiser’s product or service.
Of course, not all advertisers want to reach every man, woman, and child in America. By segmenting potential viewers by age, race, and gender groups, advertisers select specific programs, channels, and networks for the best potential results.
The true impact of TV advertising depends on upon the product advertised and the advertising continuity of the business. Some categories are more interesting, exciting, or entertaining than others. The advertiser’s creativity—the art of TV advertising—is also a key determinant in the message success. TV advertising and brand development have resulted in Tony the Tiger, now 65; Mr. Clean, almost 60 years old; The Pillsbury Dough Boy, also a senior citizen, has even transcended the small screen to star in movies.
Cable TV’s share of advertising spend and revenues has continued to grow over the past decade. Satellite TV has also contributed to cable penetration growth. About 75% of American households have cable. Cable audiences have actually grown as media researchers predicted their demise. Cable programming—or the focus on content, content, content—is a natural fit for marketers in search of the narrowest target audiences. Narrowcasting on special interest cable channels, including cooking, fitness, health, history, shopping, or home and garden, allows marketers to successfully niche market to an almost unlimited array of specialized audiences.
TV advertising continues to evolve, grow, and thrive. Some recent trends in TV advertising include super-abbreviated spots of 15 seconds. The spots are cheaper to make and easier for small businesses to purchase. Like a video ad that bursts onto a web page unannounced, the ultra-brief TV ad spot is so quick that viewers lack remote control reaction time. These TV ads are so brief, most viewers choose to watch and wait.
TV programming is actually more robust than ever, too. The popularity of websites that offer complete, high-res episodes of everyone’s favorite TV shows reflects their importance to viewers. Many cable providers offer subscriber access to a wide array of TV programs to stream on smartphones, computers, and other devices. These TV shows frequently come with advertising. Free TV streaming sites also trade viewer ad views for access.
Banner logo ads and flickering or scrolling superimposed ads may appear during a national sporting event. Streaming headlines on some TV stations may seem like they’re from the newsroom, but corporate advertisers and their logos are often present in these news streams.
TV Advertising Disadvantages
There is a short list of TV advertising disadvantages. The most frequently cited disadvantage of TV advertising by small businesses is its cost. TV campaigns are expensive. Additional disadvantages include ineffective market research and targeting, negative audience perceptions, and fleeting and difficult to recall advertising messages.
Costs of TV advertising, including commercial production and spot purchases, are substantial. According to small business author Marc Prosser, it costs between $5,000 to $20,000 to make a commercial in a major U.S. city. Large cities like New York and Los Angeles bear higher commercial production costs.
Some TV advertising, like a $3.5 million Super Bowl commercial in 2012, is pedigreed and pricey. Small businesses benefit by working with a local TV station invested in their success. If a TV station has the necessary equipment and studio space, it may produce the advertiser’s TV commercial at no cost if the business agrees to spot purchases over several months.
Viewers Skip Commercials
TV advertising may contain a fleeting or ephemeral message. Some messages are simply lost when viewers lose interest, get a snack, or change channels. To create greater viewer focus, some businesses decide on longer infomercials. Although some perennially successful infomercials like the Bowflex Gym or ProActiv Solution Acne Treatment manage to stimulate customer awareness and sell products, others somehow cross the information line and turn viewers off.
Some TV ads are inefficient at reaching a target audience. If the advertiser wants to reach 100,000 homeowners in a city with an offer, it’s wasteful to purchase spots on network news. Research, including ideal customer interviews and surveys, helps the advertiser make efficient media buys.
TV Advertising Best Practices
TV advertising best practices involve top-down and bottom-up media planning. Businesses must know their goals at the outset and continuously tailor and adjust the campaign to meet these goals. Media planners, as well as advertisers, must stay transparent, including remaining compliant with Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) 2.0.
The advertiser should focus on improving general advertiser recall, brand recall, message recall and overall likability.
According to Nielsen and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), combined TV commercials and digital video advertising is a powerful combination when advertisers want to achieve high levels of prospective buyer awareness, recall, and like ability.
The advertiser should avoid the temptation to create many TV commercials at the beginning of a TV advertising campaign. Producing many commercials is expensive and can dilute the advertiser’s viewer recall goals.
The advertiser must fix the media budget and agree to payment terms. The TV advertiser should make timely payments Small businesses should not expect a short-term increase in sales.
Building good will with the firm’s media agent, network sales reps, videographers, and others involved in the media campaign’s development, are as important as customers and vendors.
The development of a successful TV advertising campaign takes time. The business should use buyer personas created from interviews with ideal customers to create TV commercials.
True creativity, not parroting another successful TV ad in one’s industry, can separate your business from others. Find creativity after performing the hard research work. Know your customer first.
Remember that creative and content is “king,” but the best creative work can’t make up for focused research. Interactive TV advertising is impossible if the advertiser doesn’t know the audience.
How Much Does TV Advertising Cost
The cost of TV advertising varies greatly. There are a few primary factors that play into the cost of a TV spot, such as channel, daypart, the cost of producing the TV commercial and length of the TV spot. Each of these will also vary by whether you want to advertise on Cable, Network TV, or run a National Spot.
According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, national 30-second commercials created by an ad firm cost upwards $342,000 in 2008 and more than $354,000 in 2011.
Local TV Station Affiliate
For small businesses targeting a local market through a local TV, the affiliate can be much more cost-effective for a small business. Ad spots vary by market size but typically range from $20 to $1000.
For local businesses, buying cable TV can be cost effective – but may not reach the critical mass to drive ROI. Local Cable spots can run from $5 to $100.
What Factors Impact The Cost Of Your Commercial?
Age of viewers
Network and TV show
Broadcast vs cable
Time of day
Time of year
National or local events
Supply of ad spots
How to Measure TV Advertising
The real measure of TV advertising’s cost or effectiveness is complex. Small businesses with a desire to create successful TV ad campaigns should focus on long-term effectiveness while measuring short-term results. Interest, or buzz, on social media or increased customer inquiries, are some of the best ways to gauge the effectiveness of a TV commercial.
Analyzing and measuring TV advertising may benefit from the engagement of an experienced consultant who knows how to identify Internet buzz from chatter. Creating focus groups and research tools can also help the advertiser measure TV advertising.
TV Advertising Terms 101
When embarking on a TV advertising campaign you might hear your sales person talk about things like reach, frequency, ratings, or network penetration. Below you will find some of the more common terms to help you understand what they are talking about when referencing your campaign.
Reach is defined as the number of unduplicated people who watch a program or group of programs during a specific time period.
The frequency is defined by the number of spots you’re placing within a measured period of time that viewers will be exposed to.
There is a rule that states that a customer will need to see your advertisement 3 times before they remember it. So make sure you’re running enough ads to get your customers to remember you when they are ready to buy the products or services you offer.
Share is defined as the percent of the total households or people who are tuned into a specific program, network, or station at a specific time. Each program and TV station will command a different share of a person’s attention at different times.
TV sweeps is a defined time period that rating surveys are sent to local markets to measure program viewership. Sweeps happen 4 times a year (February, May, July, and November) and last 4 weeks each.
A few things to note:
The ratings and thus the cost of TV spots are based on these ratings – not only for the time of sweeps but for the time period between sweeps as well, when programming might not be as great.
Most TV stations run their best programming episodes during these few weeks each quarter to inflate their ratings and command higher rates during off-sweep periods.
TV viewership drops in the summer months, so most stations don’t use the numbers from their Summer Sweeps period to sell Fall TV. They will usually take an average of past Fall Program ratings combined with first quarter ratings to build their Fall rate card.
One aspect of buying TV ads is knowing your businesses demographic. The demographic is defined as the audience composition based on things such as age, sex, income, education, household size, occupation, etc.
There’s always a confusion when it comes to cable advertising. Most businesses think they will get on the major stations such as ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX – and that’s just not true. Cable television includes all the other channels. These channels usually get fewer views per channel and thus it takes buying more time slots to get the same reach as you would with a Primary Network Ad.
There are a couple benefits to buying cable advertising, they include:
The cost is usually much less per spot – although you’re not reaching as many people.
Cable TV has the ability to target user interest better due to the number of niche channels that may align with what your customers like.
Primary Network Advertising
The primary networks include ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. There are benefits and drawbacks to buying Primary Network Ads as well.
These channels and their programming usually have a much larger reach, but usually cost more to advertise on.
The shows on these stations usually command more attention on other marketing channels such as social media.
Anyone with a TV can usually get these stations for free since they are considered OTA (over the air) stations.
Unlike buying multiple cable networks, you’ll need to contact each Primary Network separately to purchase ad spots.
In many cases if you are a reseller of a major product line, the manufacturer will provide you with a small budget – usually based on how much product you buy. This budget can be used to subsidize the cost of your adverting campaigns.
There are rules and regulations that you’ll need to follow when using Co-op money. These are set by the manufacturer and usually include rules that include topics such as:
How much time their product or brand needs to be in the TV spot
Their logo size in the advertisement
What products can be included in the commercial
Dayparts or TV shows that can be advertised within
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
The cost per thousand (CPM) is the cost to reach 1000 people with your ad. It is widely used to compare the relative cost efficiency of different programs, stations, or media.
The coverage map, (or just TV station coverage) is the percentage of homes or people receiving a particular broadcast signal within a specific geographic area.
Most TV stations sell their spots utilizing two metrics; rating and daypart. The daypart is a set time period that all TV stations use to help segment and give value to their time slots.
The default dayparts are defined below (all times are eastern time):
Early Morning 5:00am-9:00am
Early Fringe 3:00pm-5:00pm
Early News 5:00pm-7:00pm
Prime Access 7:00pm-8:00pm
Prime 8:00pm-11:00pm (M-Sat) 7:00pm-11:00pm (Sunday)
Late News 11:00pm-11:30pm
Late Fringe 11:30pm-2:00am
Gross Rating Points (GRP)
Many ad agencies that buy tv spots will ask for a schedule that satisfies a defined number of Gross Rating Points (GRPs). GRPs are defined as the sum of individual TV show ratings on an advertiser’s commercial schedule, without regard to duplication.
Gross Rating Points = Rating x Frequency
For example, 5 commercials on a show with a 10 rating would produce a total of 50 GRPs.
A number of homes or individuals who will potentially see your advertisement. This may also be referred to as “total universe”.
Nielsen Media Research
Nielson is a third party firm that is involved in local and national TV audience measurement. TV station uses these ratings to help define how much TV spots will cost.
A proportion of households owning televisions or subscribing to cable.
Penetration will be consistent across Primary Network Stations within a certain market, but Network compared to Cable penetration will not be the same within a market.
A percentage of total households owning TVs who are tuned to a particular program or station at a specific time. Each rating point is equal to 1 percent of the population within the coverage area.
To help keep costs down many advertisers and traditional ad agencies will take a portion of their ad spend and do a Run-Of Schedule campaign.
An ROS campaign simply means that the ads can fall in any daypart and on any show. It gives the TV station the flexibility to run your ads when there are open time slots that haven’t been sold – most ROS campaigns fall into overnight TV spots that cost next-to-nothing.
TV Advertising Rules
There are a few rules that are associated with putting your small business advertisement on your local station – but in most cases, you won’t need to worry about them. This gives your business creative flexibility to try and entice viewers to buy your products or visit your local brick and mortar store.
Volume in Ads
Due to the declining viewership for both cable and network TV, the advertising community thought it would be a good idea to try and force users to pay attention to the ads. One tactic they tried was to raise the volume of TV commercials to a level much louder than the program that was being watched. This tactic actually backfired, causing viewers to mute their TV or change the channel during commercial breaks.
This tactic was made illegal in 2010 when Congress passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM).
The CALM act states that the average volume of commercials during a program must be the same as the average volume of the program itself.
The Federal Communications Commission has established numerous rules for televised advertisements featuring political candidates. This rule had two parts:
This meant that TV stations needed to keep rates consistent, and could not offer deals, free spots, or lower prices to small businesses during political races. If they did offer any discounts, they must also give the candidates these prices as well.
The second part of this rule is more for the voting community and states that all ads must:
Clarify for viewers what group purchased the commercial time
Clarify whether the advertisement is part of the candidate’s campaign efforts
Clarify if another political action group paid for the TV spot
The FCC recognized that children are especially susceptible to advertisers’ messages, so it developed several rules and regulations on how marketers can sell their products during children’s programming. Three of the primary rules are below.
The advertiser must not use a program’s characters to advertise a product during the show.
The commercial time for children’s programming is limited to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.
Strict limitations of what types of products can occupy time within programs created for children.
While the FCC does not have any specific rules in place for alcoholic beverage commercials, each network uses its own standards and best practices for placing alcohol ads. Many have time-slot, daypart, and programming restrictions, as well as commercial content restrictions.
Blog Source: Linchpinseo | The Ultimate Guide To TV Advertising Basics For Small Businesses
Kris Hartner is always on the lookout for the next big thing in running shoe technology. But when it came to promoting his Naperville Running Co. stores in Illinois, the founder and CEO went “old school” with a string of spots on local cable TV.
The commercials, which debuted in March 2018 on ESPN and HGTV, sparked an uptick in sales that month, he said. “Due to [bad] weather business should have been down, but we were up 20% and we know it was due to the ads [because] we had people come in who didn’t know our stores, which was great,” said Hartner.
Like Naperville Running, independent retailers and brands around the country are increasingly discovering (or rediscovering) the power of local TV advertising, a cost-effective and targeted marketing tool that continues to hold its own against the growing popularity of social media.
According to a Q3 2018 report from Nielsen, television remains the most popular media choice among U.S. adults age 18 and over. On average, they spent 3 hours and 44 minutes per day watching live TV, plus another 30 minutes watching time-shifted TV.
Here, media experts and retailers from around the country share how to get the most out of this “old tech.”
In order for ads to be impactful, though, retailers must be strategic.
“There are lots of places you can spend your money — billboards, radio,” said Jim Sajdak, president and CEO of Stan’s Fit For Your Feet, a fashion-comfort chain in Wisconsin. “You have to choose your arsenal. Direct mail talks to our existing customers, while TV talks to existing ones and those we’re trying to acquire.”
Bruce Mittman, owner of Mittcom, an advertising agency based in Needham, Mass., advised that companies first must understand their store’s demographics and plan accordingly. “Today, TV advertising is more program-oriented than station-oriented,” he said. “You have to find out what programs are truly making an impact against the demographic you’re trying to reach.”
Mittman suggested targeting news and sports programs since they’re live and tend to be less DVRd.
However, Paul Karaz, owner of Paul Karaz Shoes in Fayetteville, N.Y., who’s advertised on TV for 30 years, takes a less calculated approach. “I’ve found trying to pick a station that matches your customer profile is close to impossible,” he said. Instead, he relies on his instinct, opting for the Hallmark Channel during the holiday season.
The Price is Right
Although small businesses probably can’t afford a spot during the Super Bowl, local TV commercials can be surprisingly cost-effective. According to experts, ads in large markets such as Chicago could run about $3,000 for a 30-second spot; however, a similar ad in Madison, Wis., could cost just $200.
The retailer has managed to snag some significant deals. This year, Levy said the company will air 25,000 to 30,000 spots, up from 18,000 in 2018. “It’s all about how you negotiate,” he advised.
Advertising industry insider Darren Magarro, president of marketing firm DSM based in Mahwah, N.J., agreed that TV ads can come cheap. For instance, he said a 30-second spot on Fox News in New Jersey’s Bergen County West between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. can cost as little as $10.50, while the more densely populated Bergen County East region can cost $18 for the same spot.
Retailers can even home in on an area by zip code in order to avoid waste, according to Josh Goldman, director of video investment for JL Media based in Union, N.J. “You’re not buying an entire market — that would cost a lot of money,” he said.
For stores preparing an advertising budget, Mittman suggested allocating between 5% and 7% of gross sales, with 3% as a good starting point. “It’s about what retailers can affordably do to reach the most customers, as well as sustain over time,” he said. “You don’t want to buy an ad a week. You want to make a commitment. It’s about consistency.”
Going Into Production
Getting a favorable deal on ad space is just one part of the advertising budget, though. Retailers must also figure in the cost of producing an ad.
Morgan’s Shoes in Madison, Wis., reached out to Peak Creative, a local advertising and marketing agency, for its campaign, which aired on network affiliates. Since the store had a tight budget, co-owner Steve Knuteson worked with the retailer’s vendors to pick up part of the tab. The store reached out to Birkenstock, Ecco, Naot and Ugg, which all agreed to participate in individual commercials highlighting their brands.
Naperville Running Co. also took a similar approach: Vendors such as Superfeet and Hoka One One sponsored its ads in exchange for a subtle reference to their brands. “They had some money to spend and wanted to invest in 30-second spots,” said Hartner. “Superfeet wanted to try something with us since we were one of the first stores to carry their Fitstation [personalized fit technology].”
Paul Karaz Shoes taps his local cable provider to help produce spots. “If you buy enough time, stations will [often] make the commercials for you — it’s included in your buy,” said Karaz, noting that it’s more affordable than hiring outside agencies, which in the past have charged him $25,000 for a 30-second spot.
Recently, Karaz has begun appearing in the store’s spots — a move he said upped the store’s profile. “The network liked my personality,” he said. “I did my shtick about the shoes and they created a 30-second spot. If you’re on TV, you’re a rock star. It validates you. Meanwhile, you can be in the newspaper every day and people just turn the pages.”
How can retailers measure if ads are working? According to Levy, he simply surveys shoppers who come into the store. “We’ll ask customers on the fitting stool how they heard about us,” he said.
Sajdak opts to run his ads around store promotions to gauge their effectiveness. “We’ll be able to see how the pairage came through and if there’s an uptick around the spots,” he said.
Overall, retailers suggested choosing the best strategy for their type of business and their consumers.
Explained Knuteson, “There’s not a cookie-cutter approach to advertising — no one size fits all. [Retailers] have to do their homework, understand the customer and what their habits are, then decide what media selection they can take advantage of.”
Building a home doesn’t have to be a grueling process, though. Going into the process with your eyes open and a firm plan can save you heartache along the way. Here are our top 10 tips for a pain-free home construction process.
1. Get your plan in place
Planning is the most important part of the construction process. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Winchester Mystery House? This San Francisco area mansion was built over a period of 38 years by an eccentric widow who thought if she stopped construction on the house, she’d fall prey to vengeful spirits. The house is a labyrinth of stairs that dead-end into ceilings, hallways that grow narrower and narrower until they disappear, doors that open onto two-story drops. This is what happens when you build without a plan. It’s fascinating, but not a very welcoming abode.
Make sure you meticulously plan the details of your house. What direction will it face on the lot? What will the layout and flow of the rooms be? What kind of lighting will you use, and how many power points will you install? (tip: you always need more than you think).
There are a number of useful tools for planning out the design of your home. Sites like Floorplanner and RoomSketcher let you create mock floorplans. When in doubt, good old graph paper will work as well.
You’ll also want to start keeping track of design ideas that inspire you, and that you’d like to emulate. Think about starting a Pinterest board for each room of your house to file away examples of your favorite designs. As well as helping you plan, they’ll be a great point of reference to show your builders before construction is underway.
2. Budget more than you expect
No matter how much you think the building process is likely to cost, it’s likely going to cost more. There could be any number of items that aren’t included in the estimate your builder gives you. For instance, your builder is unlikely to include costs such as electrical and gas meters, internet & cable hookups or window coverings. Items such as landscaping and outdoor concrete, fences and gates, decking and letterboxes might also not be included in the estimate. These are known as finishing costs, and could run anywhere from 15-25% of your budget. You’ll also need to take into account site costs and zoning fees, which are the costs associated with preparing your site for construction, and you may also have to pay for planning application fees.
In addition to add-ons you might not have considered, you need to budget for unforeseen circumstances. For instance, you might want the luxury of changing your mind should any of the fittings or materials not match your expectations. You can use the table below to work out a rough budget.
3. Pick the right builder
This might be one of the most important decisions you make in the home building process. Whichever builder you choose, you’re going to be working with them for many, many months. It’s important to get the choice right at the outset to head off problems down the road.
There are several factors you should consider when choosing a builder:
Make sure your builder is adequately licensed and insured. You’ll also want to make sure the builder is a member of the National Association of Home Builders.
Check into the builder’s past work. Were previous customers satisfied? Don’t be afraid to ask the builder for references before you sign a contract. Also, check online to ensure there are no complaints against the builder you choose. Also, check up on the warranty and service they offer.
When looking into the builder’s past work, check that it suits your design style. A builder might be very accomplished at constructing a particular style of home, but if what you want is outside their area of expertise, it might be wise to look elsewhere.
As mentioned above, you’ll be working with your builder for a number of months. Make sure you’re comfortable with them. Also, make sure they communicate well. If a builder doesn’t communicate well with you, it’s likely they don’t communicate well with their contractors either.
All of this is a moot point if a builder is outside your budget.
4. Understand your agreement
Carefully read through the contract with your builder to make sure you understand its contents. Make sure you’re not taken by surprise by what the construction costs cover and what they don’t cover.
Make sure it includes a cooling off period, and that it specifies a timeframe for construction that suits your needs. Check to see that it includes detailed plans, warranty and insurance information. Also pay close attention to the payment schedule.
Finally, it’s wise to have a lawyer look over the contract before you sign. Cross out any blank spaces, and make sure any variations to the contract are well documented and mutually agreed upon.
5. Know what you’re entitled to
If you’re building your first home or an environmentally-friendly structure, you may be entitled to grants, depending on where you live. This could substantially offset the cost of your home, so you should speak with your mortgage lender or local council to explore any possible credits and rebates
6. Get your financing in order
Chances are you’ll need a construction home loan to finance the process when you’re building a property. A construction home loan is structured differently than a regular home loan in that the lender won’t release all the funds at once. Instead, the lender will decide how much you need for the project, and will then release the funds in periodic payments to your builder. These periodic payments are known as draws. They’ll be paid out at the completion of each individual stage of your construction.
Another way construction loans can differ is in the size of deposit lenders require. Because construction loans can be seen as inherently riskier, lenders might require at least a 20% deposit.
Before you seek out financing, make sure you have a detailed plan in place. Since construction home loans rely on an estimate of the assumed value of the completed house, your lender will want to have detailed construction plans that are fully costed.
7. Communicate constantly
Throughout the process, communicate with your builder and tradesmen often. Get regular updates on the progress of construction, and check in yourself. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the progress on a regular basis so you can document any problem areas.
Don’t be afraid to stick to your guns. If your builder, contractor or tradesmen tell you something can’t be done, push back if you’ve done your research. It might cost you extra, but odds are with the right amount of effort you can accomplish your vision. It’s worth putting up a fight for details that are important to you. After all, you’re the one who has to live in the completed home.
With good communication, though, you should be able to avoid arguments during the building process. If you’ve clearly laid out what you want and the details that you see as non-negotiable, construction will run much smoother.
8. Look for ways to save
Building a home is going to be an expensive process, and as we mentioned above, it’s likely you’ll end up paying more than you anticipated. That being said, there are ways you can save money. Shop around for the best prices on fittings, fixtures, and materials your builder will use. Get multiple quotes for any item needed during the construction process.
You can also save money at the start of the process by choosing a site that takes less preparation. Hauling off dirt, removing rocks or clearing brush can end up being costly. Picking a lot that needs little preparation before construction commences can minimize these costs.
9. Get an independent inspector
Each stage of your construction should be inspected by an independent consultant. This will help you rest easy knowing that all the building materials and practices used in constructing your home meet all the necessary codes and regulations.
10. Know your rights if something goes wrong
If you’ve planned your renovation well, budgeted correctly and signed on with the right builder and lender, you’ve laid the groundwork for a smooth operation. However, if the worst should happen, there are a number of channels you can go through for complaints against builders.
If your builder is a member of the NAHB, you may be able to file a complaint against them in the event that their work does not live up to expectations.