Category Archives: Home Tech

Create a Multi-Purpose Media Room

media-roomComing up with clever ideas for allowing one room to serve many purposes is how homeowners utilize their living space. For those who don’t have the space to spare for a dedicated home theater, creating a multi-purpose media room is the popular choice – a media room that can be used for a range of functions while maintaining the attractiveness and efficiency of the space. Don’t limit your media room to a single purpose – transform it into a more social and enjoyable yet relaxing environment.

Lighting

Lighting can be tricky in media rooms – you want that space to mimic theater-like viewing, but you also plan for it to be the place where you can socialize with friends, play pool, or entertain guests. Generally, the room’s purpose is for viewing, so the lighting should be planned thoughtfully to diminish the amount of glare on the screen.

One of the most recommended lighting fixtures for a media room is recessed can lighting. This type of lighting won’t create a reflection on the screen – the way overhead ceiling lights might. It’s not recommended to put recessed lighting over seating areas; you want to put them around the perimeter of the room.

You can also include ambient and decorative lighting such as a chandelier in the center of the room. To brighten the area more and create a cozy ambiance without glare coming from the screen, you can use wall sconces. This type of home theater lighting fixture has a dark covering, an opaque front, and light that emanates from the sides, top, and bottom.

Wall sconces should be placed behind the main seating area of the room. Some media rooms have integrated a dimming system – this lighting control allows you to set certain light levels for different functions – all at the press of a single button.

Sound Control

Whether it’s sound proofing or acoustic treatment, you want to carefully manage the audio quality in your media room. You can install insulation batts and panels into your walls and ceilings to leave no air gaps for sound to pass through.

Additionally, you can double up on the layer of drywall to block out more noise. The floors of your home theatre should be carpeted. Use home theater rugs if you don’t want to install carpet. Home theater carpets and rugs can provide a layer of sound absorption to your media room.

Think Minimal and Stay Neutral

Clutter is the main thing you want to avoid in a multi-purpose media room. Since the space is functioning as a flexible room, chances are it’s already housing a number of equipment – from home theater systems to entertainment units to furniture.

Choose furniture pieces that are minimal yet multi-functional. To make the room less hectic, identify the traffic flow and focal point of the room. Usually, the TV is the center of a media room, so the main seating arrangement should be across from it. If you want to add extra seating, use lightweight chairs that can be easily repositioned to face the TV.

Any media room usually has a pathway through it, so it’s essential to direct the main traffic route at the back of the room so people don’t walk in front of the screen. Assign dedicated zones for each of the activity you will be doing in the room.

Use neutral hues on the walls, upholstery and fabrics to create a clean, cozy ambiance and create the illusion of a spacious room. Keep the space tidy at all times, so it will look attractive and relaxing.

Conceal the Components

Tucking away your home theatre systems is both a safety and a space-saving measure.  A/V components and accessories, wires, cables, and other equipment should be properly organized and concealed.

You can acquire media cabinets that will house all your components. You can also secure an entertainment unit to the wall so that the wires and cords are hidden. Another simple way to organize cables and wires is to hide them under the carpet or lift them off the floor and affix them to surfaces.

Erika White is a content writer for a home theater supply store that offers professional home theater installation packages.

Gas Boilers – Which Type Do You Need For Your Home?

When installing a gas boiler in a new construction, or replacing the existing boiler in your home, deciding on the model required can take a significant amount of time.

It’s not always the best idea to simply replace the existing boiler with exactly the same model. Previous tenants may not have chosen wisely or it may have been discontinued. The cost efficient option might not always provide you with the high performance of gas boilers that are a little more expensively priced.

Cost efficiency in purchase may not translate well into effectiveness in use. There are three main types of gas boilers to choose from – conventional, combination and system.

Depending on circumstances, each type can offer a variety of benefits.

Conventional

Conventional gas boilers are considered to be the traditional boiler of choice – the one installed in most homes up-and-down the United Kingdom.

They are easily identifiable because they make use of an external tank, which they use to store heated water.

These boilers are attached directly to the mains. A conventional boiler is very useful if your home has more than one bath and if the mains pressure is low. With a low water pressure, it becomes important to generate heated water that can be stored, as this could not be done fast enough to sustain a heated flow for use.

These types of boilers used to be known for their lack of energy efficiency, but newer models have become significantly more efficient.

You must make sure that you have the space to install this type of boiler and tank before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

Combination

Combination gas boilers are smaller than the conventional style.

Rather than attach directly to the mains, they hook into the lines within the house. They are dependent on high pressure from the mains supply; these boilers can produce considerable amounts of heated water, quickly, for immediate use.

They do not need a storage tank and are an excellent choice for homes with one bath, or a history of very little water usage.

Some of the newer styles of combination (or combi) gas boilers are very small, making them a perfect under-sink option. These very small boilers only provide heated water to the appliance directly connected to them. However, they score high on energy efficiency, and can be a good choice for keeping your utility bill low.

System

System gas boilers are not an option that many people can consider. This is because they’re only compatible with homes constructed in specific ways. These boilers serve the dual purpose of heating water for use by appliances and by the heating system in the house.

If your house does not use heated water as its room heat source, then this style will not be effective for you. The cost effectiveness of this model is based in its reducing the need for two separate boilers. The downside can be the broad ranging effect on your quality of life should something go wrong with the boiler.

Always make sure that the boiler is installed by a professional qualified with the Gas Safe Register. While you can perform many of the service and maintenance processes yourself, it is best to let a professional install the unit due to safety issues.

Louisa Jenkins is a blogger, who has a love of interior design. As well as documenting aesthetic elements, Louisa also likes to write about the home’s more basic, vital elements, such as gas boilers, plumbing and waste management.

High-Tech Bedroom Accessories For a Truly Over-the-Top Bedroom

In sci-fi movies, men and women of the future retreat to rest in pod-like structures. While we’re not quite there yet, there are a number of fun features you can add to your bedroom right now if you want to add a futuristic and highly modern feel to your home:

A High-Tech Bed

The cornerstone of your bedroom can be much more than just a place to lay your head at night when you opt for the world’s most modern and innovative bedding solutions:

  • The HiCan bed. This is more like a tiny futuristic sleeping pod than just a bed. In this bed, you can watch movies on the pull-down theater screen at the foot of the bed or play games via the integrated consoles or personal computer. If you want to indulge in some low-tech book reading, there are integrated reading lights and shades that allow you to get a full lights-out effect once it’s time to sleep. You can find out more at the HiCan website here.
  • The Bediator. If you live in a cold climate, you may appreciate this unusual bed. It acts as a radiator during the day and can be flipped down to a heated bed at night. You can see the futuristic design at the Yanko Design website here.
  • Magnetic Floating Bed. Check it out here. This bed uses magnets to keep it afloat, although it can also be lowered to the ground.
  • The Mobelform bed. The Mobelform bed is round and rotates so you can see the view out your window and then look at your TV with a simple spin.
  • The Panasonic bed. Developed by Matsushita Electric Works, this bed monitors lighting, movement, sound, and air temperature as you try to drift off and automatically adjusts lights, TV, and music so you can drift off without having to turn anything off. In the morning, it turns everything back on again. Prices for the bed start at over $12 000.

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Futuristic Lighting

Who needs a traditional lamp with lampshades? Futuristic lamps involve sleek, unusual designs. For example, the Pouring Light Lamp by Yeongwoo Kim looks just like a cup suspended in mid-air, pouring out liquid. Stylish and sleek. To take a look at this and other lamps, check out The Fancy blog here. If you want something practical, consider the Senzo Nightlight, designed by Soledad Clavell and Marcos Madia. This long light is mounted mid-way up the wall and is activated by a simple touch.

Do you dream of light sabers and laser beams? If so, you might appreciate the Draw The Lights lighting solution by Seo Dong-Hun. A network of LED lights is installed on the ceiling and you can use the light wand that comes with the solution to draw patterns of light on the ceiling, to make the lights dimmer or brighter, and to generally create the light you want. You can see the design at the Inhabitat blog here.

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The Latest in Entertainment

You may remember glow-in-the-dark star stickers from your childhood, but if you want the more modern take, consider the Homestar Pro from Segatoys. This device projects an image of the galaxy on your bedroom walls or ceiling – perfect if you want the feel of the outdoors inside.

If you like the idea of having a TV in your bedroom, the Samsung transparent TV looks like something out of Star Trek. Sleek and clear, it blends easily with any décor. In screen sizes such as 46-inch (116cm) and 55-inch (140cm), the TV does not even need a stand. It can lean up against a wall. You can read more about it at the RedOrbit site here.

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Pillows

Want to drift off to the sound of your favorite tunes? The iPod Speaker pillow comes with built-in speakers that can be hooked up to your favorite player. Find out more here.

The Technogel pillow regulates temperature and molds to the shape of your head. The blue design also looks great – even without a pillowcase. You can find out more about this pillow at the official site here.

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Alarm Clocks

No matter how modern and comfy your bedroom is, you will eventually need to get up to face your day. You could set your iPhone or other mobile device to wake you, but there are also other, more futuristic options. For example, the iQ Alarm clock requires you to answer trivia questions to shut the device off. There’s no snooze button to turn it off – you have to wake up enough to answer questions. If you aren’t that awake in the mornings, you can try the flying alarm clock. A detachable helicopter arm flies away from the base when it’s time to wake up and you’ll need to catch it to turn the alarm off. You can take a look at this alarm here. If you are waiting for the latest eco-alarm clock, thinkgeek also has an alarm clock that runs on water (and other drinks – including beer). You can check it out here.

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A futuristic bedroom can look sleek and stylish. A few unique gadgets, cool colors, and spare furnishings can help create a modern look. As an added plus, some of the gadgets and innovations mentioned here can actually help you get a restful night of sleep.