Common Types of Siding for Homes

Updating your house with new siding is one of the most exciting home improvement projects. It can really transform the look and feel of any property, making it a more enjoyable place to live and relax. Here are a few materials to choose from when renewing the outside of your home.

Vinyl

Vinyl, originally introduced in the 1950s, is easily the most common type of material used today. It is popular because it is highly versatile, inexpensive, and resistant to various kinds of damage. For those on a tight budget, vinyl is oftentimes the best choice. Also, a basic cleaning is all it takes to make it look like new again.

Aluminum

Aluminum is excellent for any structure as it is extremely durable, lightweight, and resistant to severe weather and insect damage. In terms of maintenance, it does not get much easier than aluminum. All a person needs to do is clean it once or twice a year with soap and water. Aluminum is also a great insulator, which can help reduce energy usage; and it is perfect for use in any home design, from rustic to modern.

Brick

For homeowners who are interested in choosing a siding solution that is built to last a lifetime, brick may be the perfect way to go. In addition to being structurally solid, brick can withstand insect damage and is one of the most fire-resistant building materials available. It also offers a highly distinct feeling of permanence and status, which is what drives many to this material as they think about the overall atmosphere they would like to achieve with their property.

Wood

Wood is a time-honored siding choice that has been popular for countless years, and for good reason. Wood offers unlimited flexibility in terms of design. It is easy to customize with any shade of paint or stain, all without taking away from that beautifully natural look that only real wood can create. While it requires considerably more regular upkeep when compared to other common materials, this bit of extra work is considered to be well worth the effort by many.

While there are certainly other types of siding on the market, these are a few of the most popular choices among modern homeowners. What makes these options so impressive is that each type of material offers such different and exciting benefits to homeowners when it comes to design, functionality, and price.

 

5 Home Improvements That Really DO Recover Value

HGTV considers the following home-enhancements to be among top-tier choices for regaining the most pay-back. Though not exhaustive, this list includes some of the most popular home-improvements as well as some of the most enjoyable, once renovation is complete.

1. Modernized Kitchens

A state-of-the-art kitchen is a very coveted renovation for earning back most of the monetary investment. Even if you were to not gut the entire kitchen, there are certain upgrades that are zealously prized by potential buyers: granite counter-tops, hardwood or stone (not tile) floors, premium appliances, islands, and under-mount sinks.

RECOUP:

A kitchen remodel can return more than 100%.

2. New or Renewed Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are a favorite with discriminating buyers; and if your older home has original hardwood floors and they are in decent shape, you are in luck! Have them lightly sanded, stained and resealed-you would be amazed at how stunning they can appear, once again, at a fraction of the cost of new hardwood flooring. Wood floors in pristine condition add that ‘wow’ factor that can be a deal-breaker for home-buyers.

RECOUP:

Hardwood floors can bring back 2-times their cost! Conservatively, hardwood floors will bring in 100-150% return on investment.

3. Additional Square Footage

For every 1,000 square feet of actual living space that are added onto a home, the sale price can be boosted by more than 30%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Whether it is a spacious attic bedroom or a dedicated entertainment space, the ROI is quite impressive.

RECOUP:

Attic bedrooms and family/entertainment rooms can recoup between 70% and 80%.

4. Optimized Curb Appeal

If people drive by your home and are not impressed with what their eyes immediately see, chances are they may never give the inside of your home a single opportunity to strut its stuff. Curb appeal is synonymous with ‘first impression’. Make your home’s curb appeal eye-catching enough that it actually makes a statement that conveys a warm sense of ‘welcome’! That message draws people in, both, physically and psychologically.

Add beautiful beds of flowers, potted plants and trees to your property; and have them positioned in strategic locations to transform your home’s exterior from ‘frumpy’ to ‘fabulous’. Group plants by height; and layer the groupings for visual appeal. Your grassy areas should be lush and thick; and investing in a good edger to keep your property looking exquisitely manicured will impress even the most-persnickety buyers.

Curb appeal is not limited, only, to vegetation. Making sure your driveway and sidewalks are in good shape is equally important. If your concrete areas have seen better days, and if cracks or any bulging or separation is apparent, consider replacement or professional repair. If sidewalks and the driveway are in good shape and just need a facelift, staining or painting those areas with highly-durable, concrete-specific products will do wonders to add a fresh, renewed look! Also, tasteful outside lighting “paints” your home at night; and retaining walls add color and texture to wide stretches of green and give any property a very fortified appearance. Curb appeal can make the difference between a home that sells quickly at top dollar verses one that languishes for months.

RECOUP:

Clean and classy curb appeal can contribute a whopping 20% to the total property value of a home. If done right, the ROI with curb appeal can be double the initial, total expense.

5. New Windows

The energy efficiency of installing higher-end windows is an unarguable benefit. Replacement costs will be determined by the number of windows being replaced as well as the type, of course. This is one home-improvement that home-buyers place a high premium on.

RECOUP:

A return of investment of at least 79% is very realistic.

There are certain improvements that are, definitely, worth the investment when it comes to helping attract more buyers, helping you to sell your home quicker, helping you retrieve most or all of your investment, and helping to optimize your home’s true market value. It is vital, however, to not over-improve out of your particular neighborhood since reclaiming your investment will, likely, not materialize. You don’t want to fall into the trap of out-pricing your home, out of all other homes in your area, by a wide margin.

What you get back on your investment will depend on the value of your home, the value of homes in your immediate area, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making home-improvements and the quality of each project involved.

 

Modern Devices and Gadgets for Your Homes

Modern devices and gadgets are already part of our homes these days. While most gadgets are created to prove home security, there are several companies that are dedicated in coming up with other inventions that provide comfort and convenience as well. As each day advances, technology moves forward too. These inventions make you have a smarter home.

Today, there are a handful of modern devices and gadgets that are available for every home needs. One of which is the so-called smarter thermostat. Thermostats play a big role in the heating of homes especially during the winter time. Homes without a thermostat would most likely make-do with a home furnace or a chimney to be able to protect themselves from the numbing cold winter offers. A thermostat that can automatically turn on and turn off itself according to the changes in temperature would be a big help in keeping the energy costs at home in check.

Another home gadget that people must have these days is the solar blinds that can be controlled remotely too. These blinds do not only save energy, which is the main function, but also set the mode while you are at home relaxing from a long day at work.

Electric fireplaces are another appealing modern gadget that people would like to have. Why? This is not just an ordinary fireplace. This technology can add a magical touch to your home because it doesn’t only switch on, but it also transform from opaque ceramic column to a transparent one. Not only will your home looks stylish, it will be more efficient and perfect for your needs as well.

If you can’t have all the modern devices and gadgets available in the market, then perhaps having one to consider will not hurt. Wi-Fi doorbells with motion sensors is another gadget you should consider getting for your homes.. One of its amazing features is that you can actually see who is at your door even if you are not at home. No matter where you are, you can also speak to the person who is at your doorstep. This cool idea and gadget increases the security inside your homes, even if you are not there.

These are just some of the modern devices and gadgets that are available already in the market. Some consider these home devices as lavishness, but there are gadgets that are actually necessary to ensure not only comfort but also security in your own home. Most of these gadgets and technological advances were developed to provide your homes with better and more efficient options for your homes and your lives.

 

Turn Your Home Into a High-Tech Hotel Room

Every once in a while, especially during vacations, families, and friends would check in at a fancy resort or hotel. Ideally, these luxury hotel rooms would be able to fascinate you with all their high-tech gadgets, widescreen televisions, automated doors and more. Any hotel that provides this service would often be costly. Why spend a lot to go to fancy hotel rooms when you can bring that experience to your very own home? There are many ways to turn homes into high-tech hotel-like rooms and those with the budget can start by getting these items:

Smart TV’s

Smart TV’s are not uncommon in the market. In fact, visiting the nearest electronics store will display their latest smart TV’s available. Aesthetically, a large smart TV would be the ideal option to make your homes look like a luxury hotel. Almost the options across different brands are similar so you have the freedom to choose which suits you best. Some allow you to browse through the net through voice activations. Others will detect specific hand gestures to operate commands.These smart TV’s will only get better as the years pass by.

Digital Keys

Hotels either have the usual physical keys for their locks or card keys that you can swipe. However, these can be a hassle especially in the case where they get misplaced. Fancier hotels, on the other hand, use digital keys that can be accessed usually through phones. There are two ways this can work. The first is similar to the concept of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Instead of actually having the card, an app of the phone can imitate that concept so you would not need the actual card. The second way would be through Bluetooth. There are high-tech locks that will automatically open once they detect your phone’s Bluetooth ID nearby so you can just walk right in without doing much.

Voice-Activated Rooms

So once you get into your home without touching anything, the next thing you might want to do is to turn on the lights still without touching anything. How? Voice activation. It is popular in the movies and fancy hotels. With just a short speech command, anything with that is voice-enabled will do its job. It is the step towards making Jarvis, artificial intelligence (AI) assistant of Tony Stark in popular comic book and movie, Iron Man. Wynn Las Vegas just recently integrated about 5,000 of their rooms with Echo, a voice-controlled speaker, allowing guests to easily communicate with the front desk or turn appliances on by simply telling it to do so.

Automation

In line with the voice-activated rooms, automation enabled by robots or AI, just like Echo, will further provide efficiency for anyone in the room. Automation is usually defined as something that turns on and off by itself. However, it goes beyond. Automation really is about technology allowing itself to be engaged only when needed to. To an extent, getting your room automated can even save a lot of money on the electricity bills.

Wireless Charging

Having a lot of wires tangled up in the room would be tedious to untangle. It can even break and cause you to buy new ones. With wireless charging, you save up space from not needing wires and you don’t always have to be near the sockets anymore. Some tables and desks in hotels have built-in chargers that when phones are nearby, they automatically charge.

Projector TV’s inside the Bathroom

This is perfect for anyone who likes taking their time when doing their business or just enjoy taking a bath. Make that an even better experience by having TV’s projected in your very own bathroom. A cheap trick would be through the use of mirrors on the ceilings. Match this with your Smart TV and you virtually do anything with it, play music with Spotify, watch YouTube videos, browse the internet, and more as if you have never left the living room.

Versatile Bathroom Walls

More on to the bathrooms, it can even be further upgraded, even down to the walls. Usually, bathrooms anywhere would be divided by glass walls that are translucent or can be covered by blinds. With chrome-enabled bathroom walls, you would not need any of those. With a push of a button, the bathroom wall can either be made translucent, transparent or just plain matte. This way the bathroom looks even more spacious when the walls are made transparent.

 

What Makes a Home?

We all have to have a roof over our heads don’t we? Most of us are lucky that we have, but is it a house or a home?

A house provides shelter for us and our family but a home provides much more. Walking towards your house/home after working all day, is it an attractive prospect or is it just somewhere to get out of the rain and sit down? The reason I ask is that so often you get the wrong advice usually from people who benefit out of it.

I have recently moved to Swansea where there are some lovely little terraced cottages – my wife and I have bought one – with stone walls, a slated roof (someone was given bad advice and put tiles on ours!), chimneys, timber sash and casement windows, flagstone path, good quality timber door, etc., etc. But I see whole rows which have been covered in beige cement roughcast, whole streets of them, all the same.

Hardly any chimneys remain in some streets with uPVC windows and doors, concrete paths, totally devoid of their original character. A terrace near to us was stripped of its old cement render and the stonework exposed. I had high hopes of it being repointed in lime mortar and shining but, no, beige cement roughcast accompanied the uPVC windows and removal of the chimney stack so we now have a faceless roughcast box in its place.

Why does this happen?

I suppose that it’s partly an effort to modernise but does that mean that the original fabric should be forgotten or hidden as if it’s something to be ashamed of?

Original/traditional features like timber windows or chimneys are in poor condition. MAINTENANCE SAVES MONEY. It seems that very few of you can be bothered decorating your windows or doors and would rather lose that part of your homes history and character by replacing these troublesome features with plastic, which, I must add, also need replaced after about 10 years. The wooden windows you just got rid of probably lasted for the previous 100 or more… So, would it have been worth decorating or repairing them? Everything can be repaired. Chimneys may no longer be used. IF they are repaired correctly there is no reason they will give you any problems for decades or longer and it helps prevent your home from becoming just a house.

You are asking the wrong question of the wrong person. I have mentioned this before but, if you ask a double glazing salesman if you need windows – guess the answer. If you ask a builder if you need building work done, he’ll no doubt find some like removing your chimney or covering your stonework up with beige cement roughcast from the apparently never-ending supply.

The lack of importance of traditional/original features in the community. What sets out an historic town centre from a modern one, how do peoples feelings change towards them? Do you enjoy trips to an historic town with different shops and building styles or prefer 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s flat-roofed or concrete slab-fronted buildings with no soul? You probably are mixed but aesthetically, the craftsmanship of the old must win out.

The local authority has some responsibility for this by allowing or not preventing these changes. And it’s not just the aesthetic and historic value, these features have an intrinsic value and usefulness. Chimneys, even if there isn’t a useable fireplace, can provide ventilation. This is vital for human health, reduces condensation and the risk of some chest complaints, improves air quality and the movement of air in the chimney will help keep it dry.

Sash and casement windows are known as being draughty but this again is good for you and your home, maybe no so good for your heating bills though. Maybe you should expect to be wearing a jumper indoors in the winter and not flip-flops and shorts like my son used to. Old windows can be draught-proofed and double glazed units can be fitted to the same frames however double-glazing salesmen are NEVER going to offer you that option.

If you have a limited budget, as most of us have, it is cheaper to refurbish, repair, mend, decorate, fix, etc., than it is to replace, short and long-term. There is as much value and a great deal more social history in your terraced cottage than there is in the Colosseum or Buckingham Palace so, how about taking some free advice and please consider the consequences of removing something that helps make your house into a home. Or even calling for some advice or to discuss a survey.

 

Basic Maintenance for Home

Did you know that there is more to your home’s exterior than just siding and paint? Sure, you may recognize that, but it should also be noted that your roof is also a part of the exterior of your home. After all, without the roof, your home’s interior would not be protected! (shocking, isn’t it?)

So, it is quite important to see that you take care of your home’s exterior. This doesn’t have to be a part of the basic To Do list that you check off weekly, but it should definitely be a part of that quarterly list! By doing so, you have a better chance of identifying home exterior concerns and being able to stay a step ahead of them – before they become full on problems that are costly to repair (or need to replace!).

If you are new to home ownership, then determining what type of checking on the home exterior needs to be done can be stressful. So, to help out, here are the place you need to be paying special attention to:

  • Gutters – The gutters of your home control the amount of rainwater reaches your home’s exterior and protect your roofing as well as your home’s siding. Be sure they are attached correctly and are not sagging anywhere. It is also important to clean them periodically so that there is no build up of debris.
  • Paint – Take time to note if you need to touch up an area or call in a professional painting crew. The status of the paint job/siding will be one of the first thing people notice.
  • Siding – If you have vinyl siding, or one of its sister products, then you will want to clean it off periodically using a pressure sprayer.
  • Windows – Be sure these are not just clean, but open and close as they are designed to do.
  • Patio or deck – e sure that the boards are sound, and that any debris is swept off of them. Not only does this look better, but you can prevent any damage caused by critters/pests. Be especially vigilant against areas around windows and doors – were wood rot can occur. If you notice damage near these locations, be sure to get someone to check it out and determine the action to be taken.
  • Roofing/Shingles – Walk around your home and note any areas where shingles may have pulled away or are loose/missing. If you see any, repair them before they fall away and leave your home exposed to the elements of nature.

Dealing with home exterior issues doesn’t have to e stressful. Do some basic maintenance and then be sure to connect with the right companies within your community to help with those aspects that you don’t feel qualified to do yourself.

4 Simple and Affordable Home Improvement Tips

Home improvement can be a difficult task. A lot of home owners don’t know where to start when it comes to such a project. Another thing to consider is the expenses. However, you can improve your home and still stay within the budget if you just stick to these home improvement tips.

Don’t go overboard with appliances and furniture. It’s nice to have new appliances and furniture. But they can be expensive. And do you even need them? Because if they are just going to clutter your space, then they are an expensive décor. Make an inventory on what you actually need, then, with much discernment, decide to buy something new.

Convert some unused spaces. Whether it’s a vacant room or a small corner, it can contribute to improving your home. And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be a storage space. You can use the space for a small office. Entertainment center. Bar. Or even a play area for your kids. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s dynamic.

Add some plants. Home improvement does not necessarily mean taking down something or renovating. It can also mean adding something that is significant enough to make an undeniable difference. Try adding a plant to an empty or seemingly boring space, especially if it’s near a natural light source. While accessories or décor will do, there’s nothing like a living thing to liven up the space. It’s also good for the home environment since plants can purify the air. A decorative plant is great for the living room. Small potted plants and hanging plants can be nice near a window sill. For the kitchen and dining area, small potted herbs or plants with edible flowers are a great addition. Imagine how convenient it would be just to pick the herbs or flowers you need, give them a wash and instantly use them?

Use natural light. Using natural light is both an art and scientific, but it does not make it any less awesome. Natural light saves energy and ‘energizes’ your house hold. So it may be nicer to substitute thin drapes for blinds. You can also strategically place mirrors to reflect light at specific areas of the room. This won’t cost as much as knocking down a portion of the ceiling to install a skylight. While it may seem expensive at first, you can use solar-powered lights, especially around your backyard, garden or lawn. This will save you money in the long run. Also, nowadays, solar lights come in great designs and shapes so they’ll definitely give a new vibe to your place.

 

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Hope these tips prove handy when you begin your next home improvement project.

 

Simple Tips For Low Cost Home Improvements

Have you been thinking about remodeling your home? Keep in mind that you can often achieve your goal without a giant expense. Small improvements introduced in almost every room, including the exterior of the house can make all the difference.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Keep it clean and keep it simple!

A clean and neat house is appealing and eye-catching. You can start improving the appearance of your house simply by cleaning out the debris. Try making your garden look like an ideal place with some weeding and cleaning out the flower beds. Paint the front door to give your home a more welcoming feeling.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you don’t need to make room for new ones. The first glance is usually enough for a selective buyer to quickly estimate a house.

Does the exterior of your home need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers? Remember to keep it simple. Focus on making things neat and tidy.

Two hot spots of every home:

The two most closely inspected rooms of a house are the kitchen and the master bathroom. If you are looking to focus on two hot spots, these are the interior rooms where the most value can be added during a sale, so make them look their best to increase your return on investment.

Is your kitchen may be in need of an upgrade? A well updated kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so focus on spicing up this room to grab buyer attention. Renovating your kitchen using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home. Many times a buyer will compromise on other rooms and will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

The same holds true for bathrooms, especially the master bathroom. You will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs in your master bath. Replace the faucets and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because for easy maintenance.

What to Invest in?

So, you’re done de-cluttering, cleaning and upgrading. What’s next? Well, if you are willing to make a good upgrade investment, it is recommended to divide your renovation plan into four parts to bring impressive improvements to your home. Here are the four areas you may want to seriously consider upgrading:

Lighting: If you are not satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

This would entail buying lighting fixtures and other equipment for each room to make it look consistent and attractive.

Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and some leakage in the plumbing that needs attention. Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you haven’t already upgraded the plumbing system.

Flooring: Most people nowadays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting. Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable. If you think this improvement would bring you higher profits, make the investment without delay.

HVAC Replacement: Today new energy-efficient HVAC systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. You can add a unique selling feature to your house by making this replacement part of your home improvement strategy.

What’s really worth repairing?

Remember that not all things are worth repairing; some need to be thrown out and others need to be replaced. This is a good principle to follow when staging a home.

Inspect every aspect of your home and then come up with a plan within your budget to bring a fresh crisp look to your home. You may want to replace outdated appliances in the kitchen with new modern models. Repairing old appliances is not an option. If your budget doesn’t allow an appliance upgrade, simply give the ones you use a color-boost to improve their appearance.

If you already have wooden floors installed at home, look for scratches and be prepared for some refinishing. Wooden floors are highly desirable, even if they are old and worn. Give them a little lift-up to make them more attractive and appealing.

Nowadays energy-efficiency has found its way into many of our systems including the windows. Home buyers look for the latest windows and other systems that are designed as energy-efficient since they provide a number of economical, health and environmental benefits. Replace your old windows for new energy-efficient windows to improve the value of your home.

If your bathroom floors are tiled, look for any flaws or cracks especially if the tiles are white or light-colored. These types of flaws are hard to conceal even if you arrange everything else very neatly. So, before investing in other bathroom accessories replace a cracked floor tile.

 

Convert Your Living Room – A Home Improvement

From early times in the United States (U.S.), up to the 1970s, much family activity centered on the living room of a home. Also known as “the receiving room,” home makers took guests there as soon as they entered the home. This room contained the best seating and furnishings. There, the draperies hung finely about the windows. A small piano might reside in the room. A vase with fresh-cut flowers and a bowl filled with nuts or mints might rest on the coffee table. “Eat something while I fetch coffee from the kitchen,” a home maker might say to guests.

Kept spotlessly clean, the living room location permitted the homemaker to entertain guests without their getting far into the dwelling (where messes lurked). A home maker might comfortably engage in polite and interesting conversation, and make an impression on guests in the living room. That location, the most formal, coat-and-tie room in the house, exuded sophistication as well as cleanliness and it wordlessly identified the family as rising in social status (or it did not). But, housing changed in the U.S. in the 1970’s when people wanted to express themselves, to have more choice, and they cared less about what guests thought of them.

They cared more about configuring their home with imaginative and useful living space. Still, even today, most newly constructed homes, as well as the ones built before the 1970s, have living rooms. Yet, the family room (where the radio once rested, then the television set sat, and now the wide-screen TV mounts upon a wall) practically centers both the family and their guests. Entertainment in the digital age, not simple conversation, requires access to digital content (no coat-and-tie necessary or wanted).

Homeowners began to remodel their living rooms into home offices, a special room ensconced with a desk, a computer work station, and online access. Then, the computer work station evolved to become the source of computer games and many former living rooms and offices became online gaming rooms. Now, neither computing nor gaming require sequestering in a room. A tablet or a laptop enables mobile computing and a smart phone enables online gaming.

Where does this leave the old living room? Some people place a bar there, complete with a pool table. For other people, this has become the guest bedroom (closed off with an access door to a full bathroom). Pets sometimes get the room for themselves, complete with their bed, toys, a hundes bar (a hound’s bar with water and kibble), and an access door placed at the base of the front door. Any of these ideas make more sense than a living room devoid of life, a haunt of bug ghosts and dust bunnies.