Anyone who has owned a cat or dog knows it’s next to impossible to keep floors completely clean and well-kept with furry friends running around the house. But, there are simple steps that homeowners can take to extend the life of their floors. An organic fiber rug can be laid on hardwoods to protect them from cat and dog claws. Materials such as seagrass, mountain grass, and sisal are ideal for this, and they are easy on the animal’s feet. Plus, they look very stylish in the home. Carpet lovers should try wool carpet tiles, which can be replaced one at a time. They can also be pulled up and rinsed under cold water to maintain their new look. Even regular carpet can be an option for homeowners whose pets are well-behaved and always groomed with short nails, but it does require frequent vacuuming. Vinyl is one of the most resilient and durable flooring materials. It is also extremely easy to wipe clean. Vinyl is cheap, but to maximize longevity, homeowners should avoid the cheapest options available. Linoleum has a bad rap, but today’s options are sustainable, durable, and scratch-proof, so they hold up to wear and tear from critter claws. More stylish linoleum floor choices are available now than ever before. Polyurethane finishes can cause cats and dogs to slip and slide, which encourages them to use their claws to gain traction. Oil finishes, however, offer a shiny look with minimal slickness. Waxing floors has the same effect. It’s difficult to keep floors completely free from damage when pets are in the home, but there are easy ways to maximize the life of the floor. Every cat or dog owner knows dirty floors are a small price to pay for the love of an animal. [...]

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The bathroom is the most-visited and most used room in the house — so why should it receive less design attention than the rest? Homeowners who want to invest in an easy update with a big impact should consider these reasons for a bathroom remodel. 1. Comfort Bathrooms have come a long way from the cold, hard-to-clean tubs and purely-functional sinks of past years. Now bathroom appliances are both functional and luxurious, with features like water pressure and temperature control; artful shower doors and curtains; and beautiful floor and wall tiling, as well as stone options. Updating to heated floor tiles means no more chilly toes! 2. Value Remodeling the bathroom has been shown to significantly increase an entire home's value, combining the short-term benefits of the upgrade with long-term benefits from a future sale. Remodeling the bathroom will make the room look better, function more efficiently, and bring in a quicker, more lucrative sale in the future. Getting rid of negative features like broken tile, an ugly bathtub, or low water pressure can help dramatically increase the value of a home. 3. Safety Safety should be a homeowner's number-one concern when considering whether or not their bathroom is up to date. Whether it's a wet floor, narrow doorway, or curb-less shower, older bathrooms often have many "invisible" dangers that aren't apparent until it's too late. Updating the bathroom to include modern safety features such as walk-in safety tubs, grab bars, and temperature control valves can grant homeowners with peace of mind to know that family members are secure in a safe, updated bathroom. With a few updates, drab, and out-of-style bathrooms can transform into beautiful feature rooms that are safe, efficient, and luxurious — a great investment for homeowners. [...]

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No offense to bedrooms and bathrooms, but your kitchen is possibly the most practical and necessary room in your home. Remodeling it can be a major home improvement. Springfield, MA homeowners should consider a few basic things before diving into an extensive — or costly — remodeling project. Know What You Need If it's your first remodeling rodeo, it can be easy to get caught up in flashy, trendy features. But marble countertops and LED cabinet lighting aren't for everyone. Take some time to consider how you want use your kitchen. Do you need a state-of-the-art laboratory for culinary experimentation, or do you just need basic functionality? Think about what your current kitchen lacks and build a design scheme that will make your culinary life easier. Keep Your Current Layout Kitchens are more stuck in their ways than other rooms. Ovens, garbage disposals, and other big appliances don't like to move. When you plan a new kitchen, it's a good idea to keep your basic layout unless you're ready for a massive and stressful home improvement. Springfield, MA homeowners will want to design a space that incorporates new features and appliances into their current plumbing and electrical schemes. You can still transform your space with an island, bar seating, innovative cabinet solutions, or any number of sleek, creative redesigns. But messing with the basic skeleton is often backbreaking and expensive work. Get the Pros Involved Sure, it feels good to wield the sledgehammer yourself, but hiring a contractor can save you a lot of stress. The pros don't just have design and building experience — they can also recommend materials and brand names that suit your needs, and they know your local building and zoning codes inside and out. You might be able to handle smaller projects on your own, but a full-scale remodeling is full of stresses and demands that the untrained eye doesn’t always notice. A contractor will foresee your needs and your potential problems from the get-go, helping you to navigate them with ease. Kitchen remodeling is a fun home improvement. Springfield, MA homeowners can start toying with their culinary feng shui with these few basic concerns in mind. [...]

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