Modern Living

Modern Living

Home and real estate topics discussed in detail


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When should you leave your umbrella and go limited?

Operating through an Umbrella PAYE service being a self-employed worker is an easy and effective way to get paid. Although, this may seem the best way to get paid it could be wise to consider the idea of setting up your own limited company. Here we will explore in detail when you should consider making the transaction.

It may seem complicated, complex and time consuming to set up your own limited company but here are some reasons to start.

Becoming a director

There is a big leap from the financial responsibility from operating through an umbrella contractor to solely running your own company. You will become much more involved with your finances which can allow greater control. It would be much more motivating to work for yourself knowing it is for your own benefit and profit where you govern in and out goings.

Your contract lengths are getting longer 

Contract lengths are a major factor that comes into play when choosing how to operate. For a limited company set up it would be necessary that you hold contracts on 3-months or longer to benefit from setting up your own limited company. If you are currently in this position, it may be the right time to consider this transition.

You may even find that once you have set up your own limited company, employers take you more seriously as a solid professional in the industry.

Prices have gone up

The primary reason to switch to limited from umbrella is so you can reap the benefits of maximising your take home pay. Usually you must be over £15ph or more for it to be worth running your own limited company says one of the senior managers from Bluebird accountancy based in Welwyn Garden City

Therefore, if you are doing well with your services and can afford to put up your prices then it may be the ideal time to start considering the limited company option. Hiring an accountant is also common for contractors to do, as they will take the financial burden off your finances whilst you focus on your skills and completing contracts. They may seem expensive but they are highly knowledgeable on law and legislations they you may not be aware of, if you get any deductions wrong this will fall on your shoulders.

You can potentially have a higher take home pay

It may seem simple operating through an umbrella company as you become an employee of the umbrella company, where all NI and Tax deductions are made accordingly and you are paid via PAYE without much worry or input. To some contractors the limited company option seems more appealing due to the fact that you are able to financially get more in involved and chose how your money is distributed. It allows you to pay yourself through dividends and a salary which will usually increase your take home pay.


Long Term Goals

One of the main reasons contractors may not want to set up a limited company is if their unsure about how long they will be contracting for however, if you are looking to grow and expand your skills and company then this is a great way to achieve your long-term goals. Becoming a director of your own limited company will allow you to slowly expand and add staff to your company. You will gain knowledge in the rules and regulations of running a company and dealing with HMRC.

You want to move from the public sector to the private sector

Due to the legislation changes by HMRC in 2017, public sector workers have significantly affected by this as some agencies demand they work through an umbrella company and are not allowed to operate as a limited company says a senior accountant from PWD Builders Woodstock. Public sector workers can no longer determine their own IR35 status to either operate inside or outside IR35, meaning they lose their control and the responsibility falls onto the end client. Due to the uncertainty and high responsibility required by the end client or recruitment agency this has resulted in contractors operating via a limited company all together. It has also become a popular for contractors to move into the private sector due to this legislation change, and will result in potentially receiving more take home pay – it may be wise to consult a IR35 specialist before defining your status.

Claiming Expenses

Becoming a director of your own limited company you are able to claim expenses that can be classed as business related expenses and activities. Therefore, if you have high out goings and travel expenses for your business then it may save you a lot of money in the long run.

Get expert advise

Specialised contractor accountants and PAYE umbrella firms have experts that will provide you with a free consultation to evaluate your situation and your current circumstances. You can be assured when speaking to us you will receive impartial advice tailored to you.

The best part of all, is that you can switch from an to umbrella to limited service free of charge (vice versa). Therefore, whether you are looking to set up for the first time or switch over from umbrella to limited, specialised contractor accountancy firms are happy to discuss your options and clarify for you which option is best for you.



How To Maintain Your Carpet Flooring

There are many benefits of installing carpet flooring in your home. The soft, warm material adds comfort and increases the value. However, your home may lose value if the carpet is stained or damaged. This is why maintenance is an important part of installing carpet in your home. It is not difficult to keep your carpet clean and flawless throughout the year. Here are several tips for maintaining your carpet flooring.

Invest In Doormats

You cannot always avoid stepping in mud or dirt while outside, but you can avoid tracking them onto your carpet. Place a doormat inside and outside every entrance of your home. Wipe your feet before entering your home to ensure you do not bring dirt in with you.

Clean It Frequently

Using a doormat is not enough to keep your carpet from getting dirty. You need to vacuum the high traffic areas several times per week, and give it a deep cleaning every 18 to 24 months. It is important to make sure you are using a vacuum cleaner that is approved for carpet flooring.

Clean Spills Immediately

A drip or spill on your carpet is inevitable, but it is important to clean up the spill immediately. You want to blot a liquid stain with an approved store-brought or homemade cleaning solution. If it is solid food, carefully remove the food with a spoon before blotting the area with your cleaner. Blotting instead of wiping will keep the stain from spreading throughout your carpet.

Use Scissors To Remove Damaged Pieces

If you find a loose piece of carpet, carefully clip it with a pair of scissors. Pulling on the loose piece may damage the carpet. Use curved fingernail scissors to clip the top of burnt fibers in a small area. If the burn covers a large area, you may need to patch or replace the carpet.

Rotate Your Furniture

You can prevent a permanent indentation by rotating your furniture every few months. If you find a deep indentation in your carpet, stroke the area with the edge of a coin. It is a harmless technique that removes the indentation from your carpet.

There are several companies that offer carpet installation Flower Mound, but you do need to take the time to maintain your carpet. Maintaining your carpet ensures it stays beautiful and intact for years to come.

A Backyard Oasis

Spring is quickly approaching, and that has everyone dreaming about the great outdoors. From those first few warm days in May until the last of the summer sun in September, homeowners are dreaming about how they can spend more time outside with their family and friends. The best way to endure plenty of fun in the sun is to create a backyard oasis.

Create an Anchor

The first step in creating your summer oasis is to construct an anchor. This means that you need a central place to be the main focal point and center of entertainment. Patios provide a nice open space where you can place a table and chairs or outdoor sofas and lounges in a pattern that encourages conversation. Decks are another great option. You can find Chicago deck builders such as DAL Builders Inc. by searching online or asking friends for referrals.

A Purpose to Go Outside

Now that you have a beautiful deck or patio to anchor your space, you need to figure out what the purpose of the area will be. If you plan to host evening meals, dress the space with a grill, table, and plenty of seating for friends and family. Would you rather turn the space into a personal get-away? Use lounge chairs or swings to create a comfortable place where you can relax with a good book.

Add Some Fun

You certainly do not want your outside oasis to be boring. Use this space as an escape from daily chores and electronics by providing plenty of old-fashioned fun. Families with young children should incorporate play houses, swing sets, and sand boxes into the design. Teens love volleyball nets, corn toss games, and bocce ball. To keep the adults happy you need to keep a deck of cards on hand or simply arrange seating so that they can enjoy the antics of the younger groups.

Now that you know how to turn your backyard into a summer oasis, you can spend more time together with family and friends while enjoying the rising temperatures. Having a comfortable and fun space to retreat to at the end of the day will encourage you to go outside and take part in all of the fun summer has to offer.

5 Ways to Make Your Small Room Feel More Spacious

Not everyone can afford a 3 bedroom apartment or a spacious house with your own yard and seemingly endless living space to enjoy.

And that’s perfectly fine. I’ve lived in different places – some of them were close to 100 m2, while others were less than 30 m2. While some things definitely changed, the fundamentals of my daily stayed the same thanks to a few tricks.

Let’s face it. Moving to the financial centers of the world (or our country) forces us to squeeze into tinier rooms to make ends meet. The transition was shocking to me at first, too. I had to downsize almost thrice!

However, in the end I was surprised how easy it was to get accustomed to my new surroundings. As a propagator of living cozily, I’d like to give you a few tips on making a small room feel way bigger than it really is!

It starts with the colors

This one is no secret, but I’ve seen quite a few people get it completely wrong anyways.

The lighter color, the more spacious your room will feel. Usually I’m not into pure white walls as they’re a little too ‘bright’ for my taste. However, colors like light blue or light green are a very good way to open up any living space.

This effect will be amplified if you don’t combine too many colors. Sticking to a monochrome color strategy and only playing around with the hues of your main color will yield even better results.

Optional: think about adding some striped patterns too. Especially on small rugs/carpets scattered around the floor. Stripes also contribute to making your living arrangements appear larger than they really are!

Stack, don’t sprawl

A strategy you can clearly see in some Asian countries where apartments are notoriously small! In many Western countries, we tend to arrange things in a ‘sprawling’ order.

Instead, some countries like South Korea or Japan stack things on top of each other, much like a tower. This opens up a lot of space and interestingly enough, has always looked quite stylish to me.

Of course, don’t overdo this – ending up with gigantic towers of drawers and whatnot piled upon each other. All I’m saying is you should probably balance between these two approaches to arranging your living space.

Think about being more minimalistic

We’re consumers to the core of our souls. And that’s kind of alright.

However, I see a lot of people overcluttering their homes for the sake of…I’m not sure exactly. Hoarding is a thing and it can really turn your apartment into a chaotic realm of things you don’t really need, but they’re scattered around anyways.

Think seriously about the furniture you actually need in your room. Can you get something that will be multifunctional (a sofa bed for example) and save you a good dose of space?

Downsizing to my smaller living arrangements made me realize how many things I thought I need in my old place…But I actually could live just fine without them!

Mirrors do help

Obviously, I’m not saying you’ll need a mirror plastered on every wall.

However, having one or two mirrors – they don’t even have to be that big, will make a tremendous difference to your room. Paired with lighter colors, mirrors do wonders in opening up any space, no matter how small it is.

Just pick a good place where you won’t risk breaking it on accident, of course!

On materials and curtains

Both of these are important. Similar to colors, lighter materials will refresh your apartment and make it appear comfortably large.

I usually like leather sofas, for example. But in the case of my 30 m2 apartment not only would one take too much space, it would actually feel a bit…oppressing, I guess.

Picking the proper materials is even more important when it comes to curtains. Some people actually recommend leaving your windows uncovered as it lets light come through at all time.

Of course, this is really dependant on how your apartment is positioned and your surroundings.

Sometimes, everything around you is noisy, outside it’s too hot or other bothersome factors. That’s why people invest in sound blocking or heat blocking curtains made of thick fabric.

If that’s the case, just make sure you pick the most cheerful/light colored variation of these thicker curtain type. Otherwise you’ll severely reduce how spacious your room really feels. I really recommend you go for lighter curtains, semi-transparent even, if your living surroundings allow it.






Complimenting Your Space with Wall Art

Unless you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford a Francis Bacon or Monet, wall art will often make a poor investment, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick something that looks fantastic. In the following article, we’re going to offer some tips on choosing the perfect piece of canvas artwork for your home.

If you’re new to buying wall art, the choices available to you can be overwhelming, knowing where to start your search is half the battle. As with most purchases the internet is an obvious place to start, however, some people seem to have the misconception that approaching a preferred artist directly will result in a lower purchasing price, in reality, online galleries are often cheaper or the same amount compared to buying directly from the artist.

If you can, try and attend art school exhibitions, where you’ll be able to rub shoulders with talented young artists eager to make a dent in any student loans.

Create A Budget And Stick To It

Contemporary wall art is a particularly risky investment, as it’s near impossible to predict how famous artists work will become and whether or not it will hold or increase its value over the years. For anyone with a limited budget or who’s new to buying wall art, we would recommend original prints. Unlike giclee prints which are inkject reproductions of artwork, an original print is a hand-painted copy of an original made by the artist. Prices of original prints are quite affordable and start at around £50 – £100, they don’t have to be expensive, and they hold their value very well compared with a reproduction.

Let Your Emotions Guide You

Any good piece of wall art should evoke an emotional response, which might be a fond memory, a memorable location or just something with gives you a positive feeling. Finding that emotional connection is vital when buying wall art for your home. You must purchase something that you love, and you’ll know when you have that unique piece as it will jump out at you and have you thinking about it for days to come.

It’s incredibly important to remember that wall art can and will become the focal point of any space. It’s probably the single most important purchase you’ll make for your décor. For this reason, it’s vital that you pick something that connects with you on an emotional level, if you do this you can’t go wrong.

Think About Flow

Regarding interior design, this means choosing colours that compliment each other. You can either match a piece of wall art to your existing colour scheme, or you can pick out two to three colours from the artwork and add some coloured accents around the room that match.

Try to repeat the shapes and feel of your room in the wall art you choose. For example, if your furniture is simple, modern and sleek, select a piece of minimalist wall art featuring clean lines and angles. At its core, it’s about making sure everything works in synchronisation, that nothing sticks out and spoils to the vision of the space.

Give Consideration To Your Space

Whichever room you’re looking to incorporate wall art into it’s essential to give some thought to the atmosphere you’re creating. Some artists styles are full of noisy energy which will work quite well in a busy social environment such as a living room or kitchen. A quieter space such a bedroom or bathroom will warrant a calmer more relaxed feel to the style of art. It’s also important to think about the size of pieces, and whether they might be lost in a wall or look like, they’re spilling over.

Plan Before You Hang

It perhaps goes without saying, but try to avoid hanging painting in high locations, even if you have tall ceilings; wall art should be at eye level, not hanging above your head.

Before you go ahead and purchase wall lights to best highlight your wall art, consider that lights can interfere with the artwork, detracting from the original beauty. It might be a better option to opt for a recessed downlighter which can be angled to wash the wall art with light rather than shining directly on the piece.

Choose the type of light carefully. Warmer white light or cool white light can significantly affect the tone of a piece and the rest of the room. The light should be chosen to compliment the colours of the wall art and the room. If you have the budget to spare then a framing projector is a great option to frame a painting with light accurately.

Choosing the Right Property for You

We all have been there before as home owners: choosing that house you are going to live in for a long time. After closing the sale, changing to a different house can be tricky and expensive, so before you commit to that final choice you might want to think very carefully about what you are doing. Here are some tips that can make you feel better and more confident while choosing the right property for your needs:

1. Be honest with yourself about your needs are. Don’t feel that you have to accept a property because you have been looking for that right house for a long time, maybe a lot longer than your friends and family. If you feel that something is not right with the property you are viewing, talk about it with your spouse and discuss the concern. It is better to realise that something is wrong before signing the final agreement, even if there are many good things that drive you to that property in the first place. For example, if the property is located too close to a busy road and it bothers you, don’t just hope that you will eventually get used to the noise. Pull out before it’s too late and before you make a commitment.

2. Consider buying a house that is located close to a storage unit such as storage units Bronx. Being able to store there any items you might want can be a great opportunity to declutter your house when you need it, or maybe only temporarily get rid of some of the items you own. Being able to drive to a local storage facility can be a huge time saver that can allow you to save not only time, but also money as well. It can also make all the difference in terms of what you will want to store there or not. As long as you can drive to a storage unit on your own, it can be a good reason to go for it.

3. If you have children, make sure that the property you choose is located close to good schools, or otherwise you might feel disappointed with them when you children finally go there.

Three Things to Highlight When Selling a Timeshare

Buying a timeshare makes sense in some situations like when you’re young and have the freedom to travel before you have kids or when you retire and want to visit the same destination year after year. Once you have kids or get a little older though, you may not love your timeshare as much as you did in the past. How to get rid of timeshare is a popular search term performed by people just like you. You can sell your property in a few different ways, but you need to know what to highlight and focus on in your listing.

Resort Amenities

Start with a thorough look at all the amenities offered by the resort. Most timeshare properties are in resort that offer amenities like daily cleaning and a 24-hour front desk that never closes. Travelers will like knowing some of the benefits of staying there. You’ll also want to draw attention to some of the things that you can do at that resort like swimming in a heated swimming pool, playing a few games on lighted tennis courts or dining in one of the many restaurants and bars on the premises.


Use your listing to describe and explain the location and the reasons why someone might want to stay there. When listing a chalet on a popular ski mountain, you might talk about the amazing views of the snow and ice or the great lessons and classes that guests can sign up for nearby. Location descriptions can also include details on things nearby that are within walking distance or a short drive like historic sites, restaurants and museums. Give prospective buyers some information on how far away the nearest airport is from your timeshare too.


One feature you should focus on is the amount of available space. Those looking at vacation rentals and homes for sale want to know that the property has all the space they need for their guests. List the total number of bedrooms, the size and number of beds in each room and whether the living area has a sofa that guests can sleep on too. You can also draw attention to any large rooms in the home such as a kitchen with an eat-in dining nook or a large patio for entertaining. When you highlight the right features, you can find a buyer for your timeshare.

The Art of Shaving

A good shave leaves you feeling neat, groomed and ready for anything. It’s a way of imposing your will on the dishevelment that sleep brings and showing the world that you’re ready for it, and it can boost self confidence, and productivity. Shaving is one of the rituals you use to signal to your brain the day is beginning, like showering, and drinking coffee, and it’s a prompt to make you more alert.


A bad shave is dispiriting, irritating (mentally and to your skin) and might leave you feeling less groomed and presentable than before you started! It’s clearly worth perfecting the art of shaving, so every morning your shaving ritual leaves feeling great, and perfectly prepared for the day ahead.


The first, and perhaps most important part of the art of shaving is to make sure you have the right equipment. A good shaving brush set allows you to work up a healthy lather of shaving foam, soap or gel, and also lifts and separates the hairs on your face allowing for a closer, smoother shave.


Recently classic doubled edged razors have made a comeback. While they aren’t quite as convenient as modern cartridge razors – the standard kind you can find in all supermarkets- they offer a far more satisfying experience, and also allow you a closer shave that’s less irritating to the skin.


Using a double edged razor safely is a skill it takes some time to develop, and in the beginning it takes longer to shave with. When you’ve mastered your safety razor you’ll find it almost as fast as your old cartridge razor, but it does demand respect and taking your time in the early days is the safest way. It’s this that elevates shaving with a classic razor from a mundane, everyday routine into exercise of skill and craft that makes starting the day an art.


Practicing the skill of shaving with a classic safety razor will put you into a relaxed, but alert state of mind. Carefully shaving once with the grain of your beard (not applying pressure but allowing the blade to glide gently over your face) then enjoying a frictionless second pass against the grain for extra smoothness is a ritual that will soon become one of your favourite parts of the day: no longer just routine grooming but exercising an almost lost art.

10 Ways to Make Your Yard More Visually Appealing

The quality of your yard can affect both the visual appeal and value of your property, so it’s important to keep your yard well-maintained throughout the year. There are some surprisingly easy ways to improve the look and layout of your yard without always having to spend a fortune. Here are some of the best ways to beautify your yard.

Incorporate Concrete Fixtures

Concrete fixtures can create eye-catching focal points throughout your yard. Decorative concrete tiles will look great along certain walkways. You can also put concrete barriers around your garden and the edges of your lawn. Concrete retaining walls for flower beds also work wonders. Not only will concrete make your yard look nicer, it might create safer conditions for you to navigate around your property and prevent the soil from eroding.

Add Lights

In addition to making it easier to see around your property at night, adding some additional lights can help enhance your yard’s aesthetic appeal. Multicolored lights can create a gorgeous hue over your yard that’s reminiscent of a luxurious resort. Lights pointed in certain directions can also showcase the most attractive areas of your yard more effectively.

Use Compost for Greener Grass

Instead of throwing away grass clippings and kitchen waste, try using them for compost. Natural compost materials can make grass grow greener by providing important nutrients to the soil. These materials may also attract more worms and other organisms that will benefit your lawn’s soil.

Plant Some Perennials

Perennials are flowering plants that can live longer than two years with the proper care. These types of plants are known to withstand different environmental conditions better than other plants. Hibiscus perennials are known for their beautiful red and white blossoms. Agave, baptisia and bird-of-paradise plants are other great choices. If you need advice on which options to choose or simply don’t want to plant your own plants, you can hire some professional Toronto landscapers to assist you.

Install Columns

Classically inspired columns that resemble those found in Ancient Rome will make your yard look more sophisticated. You can find columns that are around 12 feet tall and incorporate them into different areas of your landscape. These columns will add some height to your yard and make it look even more grand. For the best effect, try installing some of these columns in your garden areas.

Add More Decorations

Along with adding columns to your yard, you can install beautiful decorations to create a more alluring setting. Using some spray-painted chicken wire to create ball decorations is one of the easiest and most creative ways to decorate your yard. Statues, wind chimes and flowerpots additionally work well in yards.

Clear Your Walkways

Getting your yard more beautiful may be as simple as clearing your walkways. Debris, fallen leaves and other messes on your walkways should be cleared regularly. You should also give your walkways a deep cleaning by using a pressure washer that you either rent or buy.

Use Outdoor Furnishings

Outdoor furniture pieces will give your home a more inviting feel. Wicker chairs, outdoor sofas and outdoor coffee tables are just a few of the items that you can add. You might even be able to install a porch swing for an added effect.

Put in Natural Wood Railing

If you have stairways or other walkways that require safety rails, using wood branches and other natural materials can create a more special ambience in your yard. Just be sure that the materials you use are still sturdy enough to prevent falls.

Keep the Critters Away

Pests are known to wreak havoc on yards, and you can keep bugs and other critters away and help your yard look its best by using some natural solutions. Pest control concoctions that are made with ingredients like garlic, cayenne pepper and onions often work in deterring pests from yards without causing them harm. Attracting birds to your yard with birdbaths and birdfeeders can also help keep pest populations in your yard under control.

Giving your yard some extra pizzazz can be done with some additional effort and ingenuity. Making the right improvements will help you make a more positive statement with your yard.

How to Find Reliable Wind and/or Storm Damage Cleanup and Restorative Services

Canadian winters can be brutal and cold. It is not uncommon to have several major storm systems throughout the colder months. It is critical to know where to turn if a storm causes property damage. This type of damage needs to be assessed quickly to lessen the overall storm damage impact on your valuable property. It is wise to contact a proven storm damage restoration company that has the experience necessary to handle these often massive storm damage jobs. Find one that offers wind, water, hail and other storm damage service options.

A storm can cause expensive damages to all types of residential or commercial properties across Canada. To prepare, research local storm damage companies to have a plan in a weather emergency. Deal only with a restoration company that is able to be on site shortly after an emergency call. When storm damage clean up is delayed, the affected structures can weaken and collapse if not taken care of promptly. Wind storms can wreck havoc on buildings, windows, doors, roofs and exterior walls. Some storm damage businesses offer preventative storm preparedness services too.

Not all storms can be predicted with any real accuracy. Some storms, like hurricanes and other weather events can be tracked by weather forecasters in advance of the strike. Homeowners can prepare by placing protective shutters over windows. Doors can be sounder structurally by using heavier bolts to maintain their structure even when stress points are under pressure. Flood prone areas can be fortified before a storm with sand bags to block the rise of streams or other water bodies. Loose shingles can blow off easily by winds from stronger storms. Replacing broken shingles or reinforcing the roof can prevent roof leaks that can allow rainwater to enter inside the home or building.

Snow storms can cause other challenges. Heavy snow atop a roof can cause it to collapse with the weight. Having roofs assessed by experts can reduce the chances of this happening. Storm drains and gutters should be maintained on a regular basis. Gutters clogged with leaves or other debris can enable rainwater to flow onto areas where massive damage can occur. There are storm damage businesses that offer to assess and upgrade properties to ward off devastating damages in the event of a storm of some strength.

Strong thunderstorms with damaging lightening can cause trees and power lines to fall. High winds can blow tree branches and other objects into fragile glass windows and across driveways or streets. It is important to ensure that any structures on a property are grounded properly electrically. This preventative measure can limit damage and save lives. In winter, ice storms can break off dead tree limbs and more. These can block roads, crush roofs and otherwise create devastating damages to properties. Keeping trees trimmed, and maintaining solid structural foundations can lessen the chances of a serious ice storm catastrophe.

Hail can be particularly brutal and demolishing. Some hail can be the size of balls that may be ruinous to whatever it strikes. The force of this hard ice can be terribly devastating, even if the hail pellets are smaller. Hail is heavy if enough piles up fast. Flat roofs can be collapsed if hail accumulates too fast. Blowing ice can be extremely dangerous. Even as ice begins to melt, the property owner should watch for falling shards of injury causing ice cycles. Hailstorms can ruin cars in just a few short minutes. Always watch the weather, and prepare for storm damage ahead of time as much as possible.

There are benefits of hiring a competent storm damage service after a property is hit. Whether the damage is due to flooding, high wind gusts, massive amounts of snow, hail or lightening, a property could need dependable and professional restoration work after the storms moves on. The sooner these experts can begin the clean up phase, the better the end results should be. Flooded basements, downed trees, extensive roof damage and torn siding can all be seen after a major storm event. Property restoration and clean up is available with a phone call or internet search.

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