Monthly Archives: November 2016

Tips to Decorate Your Home for Spring

When you think of spring, what comes to mind? Colorful pastels, floral arrangements and green grass is what many think of. After a cold winter, these are welcome signs that warm weather is on its way! However, you don’t have to limit your excitement of spring just to the outdoors. Brighten up your home with colorful spring décor.

From floral patterns to springtime scents, you can have any area of your home match the change in season. See a few ideas on how you can decorate your home for spring.

Before you decorate, start with a spring cleaning. A deep clean can eliminate dust and dirt from the areas of your home that aren’t a part of your regular cleaning routine. Contact a cleaning pro today for up to four quotes from cleaners in your area for free.

Freshen Up Your Home

As the warm weather begins to approach, many of us are excited to open our windows for the first time and let the breeze in. However, you may also notice that dust has settled in many places that you didn’t intend to over the last few months. Spring is the perfect time to give your home a clean start again. Here are some items you should consider focusing on during your spring cleaning routine.

  • Dust Behind Large Items
  • High Windows
  • Vent Covers
  • Closet Organization
  • Dusting Baseboards
  • Tile Grout

A good spring cleaning involves paying attention to many little details. Some homeowners like to contact a cleaning pro who can use their expertise to see what needs the most cleaning and make their homes sparkle again. Theaverage cost to hire a cleaning pro is $157, with most homeowners spending between $122 and $167.

Incorporate Spring Colors

It’s time to brighten up your home with the colors of the season. Out are the greens and reds of the holiday. Time to bring out the pastel yellows, purples, pinks and blues that make this time of year great.

Utilizing accessories is the best way to incorporate spring colors, so you can continue to change them as the seasons change. Decorative throw pillows, vases and other small items are sure to refresh your bedroom and living room with color. Curtains in bright floral patterns are also easy to change depending on the season.

Utilize Fresh Flowers

As the hit of the season, fresh flowers is a welcome addition to any and every room. From a large arrangement to a single flower, it’s the perfect touch. Here are some spring flowers to consider incorporating in your décor. You may even have a few about to bloom in your yard!

  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Alliums
  • Ranunculus

Spring Table Decor

As the focal point of your dining room, it’s easy to change your table setting depending on the season. Spring is no exception. While many of us focus onsetting our table for holiday feasts, there is still plenty of entertaining to be done during the warmer months as well. Start with a pastel table cloth and a white table runner down the middle. Even if you opt to not use table settings at the time, this is sure to brighten up your room.

The centerpiece is what will bring the look together. I love the idea of a few mix-and-match vases with one simple flower in them. One interesting idea is to use clear vases and dye the water, making for a beautiful illusion. If you’d rather have one focal point on your table, a large pitcher full of flowers will give a vintage look to your spring décor. Or, if your family celebrates Easter, you can’t go wrong with a decorative basket full of colorful eggs. The options are endless!

Spring Door Décor

Let’s not forget about your front door! Front door wreaths aren’t just limited to the winter. In fact, there are almost more options in the spring, due to the availability of fresh flowers. Hang a eucalyptus wreath with tulips for a fresh scent every time you walk into your home.

Of course, DIY door wreaths make a great weekend project. You can truly customize this project for your style. I love this idea of using patterned burlap and felt flowers for a look that will last. See the tutorial from Piccadilly Peddler.

Spring Scents

To compliment your spring décor, utilize fresh and floral scents throughout your home. Lavender, lilac and rain are sure to be popular candle selections. This can be the perfect way to bring spring into rooms with more permanent décor, such as the bathroom, without changing the style completely.

Essential oils are another way to release the scents of spring into your home. Utilizing essential oils also has many benefits for your family. For example,lavender essential oil not only smells great but it has properties that can help you relax naturally. Citrus oil scents such as wild orange and lemongrass can help improve focus and remove strong odors from the air.

7 Common House-Maintenance Mistakes You Could Be Making

 A house is a lot like a living thing: It’s great when the systems are firing on all cylinders, but when something isn’t right, it lets you know. According to a recent survey commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance, one-third of American homeowners (34 percent) have faced an unexpected home repair of $5,000 or more. But the truth is that for each of those all-too-avoidable catastrophes, there was a symptom that likely went ignored. “Most of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make revolve around what they are not doing,” says celebrity designer, HGTV personality, and Liberty Mutual Insurance consultant Chip Wade. “Neglecting routine home maintenance and ignoring signs of deterioration often cause permanent damage that ends up degrading the value of your home.” Learning to properlymaintain your home can eliminate a lot of the guesswork involved in its upkeep. Here, Wade outlines seven of the biggest mistakes most homeowners make when it comes to their homes—and how to avoid making them in the first place.

1. Failure to winterize properly. “Often, homeowners overlook their sprinkler systems when the cold months hit and leave water in the lines,” says Wade. “When temperatures drop, sprinkler pipes can freeze and break. You may have a rupture and not even know it, costing you tons of cash as water drains into the soil, not to mention the cost to repair the broken sprinkler.”

2. Failure to address water damage. “This can have major consequences down the road,” Wade says. “When you don’t keep your spaces (like bathrooms) dry and in good repair, water damage and mold can start to occur. Within days and sometimes even hours of a condition like this not being addressed, water can penetrate into building materials to a point that can require complete replacement. If water damage stays for longer periods of time, mold can start to occur, which can lead to more costly removal or remediation.”

3. Ignoring appliance maintenance. “Your icemaker (higher-end models), for example, can start to scale up, especially if you have harder water that causes the mechanisms to stop working correctly. You also want to ensure that ice bins remain clean and sanitary. You can do this by emptying them out every month and cleaning with a bleach solution. Larger refrigerators often have water and sometimes air filters that need to be replaced.”

4. Indiscriminate power washing. “Pressure washing too close to masonry on the home is another mistake that can go unnoticed until it’s too late,” says Wade. “Homeowners often don’t realize that if you wash with too much pressure, it can cause mineral deposits to actually seep out of the brick and stone and cause white streaks that are virtually impossible to get off later. While you might think that you’re cleaning, you’re really ruining the masonry.”

5. Improper temperature control. “Closing a vent to help control room temperature might seem like a good idea, but most don’t know that this can cause the furnace to work harder and even lead to damage,” Wade says. “Furnace replacements can cost a whopping $3,500. I’d suggest calling in an HVAC contractor to take a look.”

6. Taping up the walls. “Avoid allowing kids to put tape and other adhesives on the walls. It may seem harmless, but it can pull the paper off the drywall, which can make repairs more difficult.”

7. Procrastination. “It never seems convenient to tackle a home-maintenance project at the current time. There is always something more urgent or fun to do,” Wade says. His solution? “Come up with a schedule for every maintenance item, put calendar reminders on your phone, and treat it like a meeting request. This way you won’t double-book, and it acts as the perfect reminder when you set it for the right time of year on a repeating schedule.”

See the error of your ways? Here’s how to get your home back on track.

1. Be proactive. According to a recent survey commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance, 30 percent of American homeowners are not maintaining systems in their homes on a regular basis. In fact, 24 percent admit that they are often behind schedule when it comes to routine home maintenance. “Proper home maintenance really is a year-round job, but in the fall, before the temperatures drop, it is the perfect time to take care of winterizing the outside of your home,” says Wade. “Keep your gutters clear so you don’t have water blockage issues later on.”

2. Get in a routine. “Every six months, seal your natural stone countertops and tile, especially in your kitchen. Make sure you clean your icemaker and check the service manual for the maintenance schedule on all kitchen appliances (usually refrigerators will need it). And replace the batteries of all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.”

3. In fact, six is the magic number. “Walk around your property (inside and outside) every six months—put a calendar reminder in your phone to help you remember. During the walk, make sure to look at all openings like doors and windows, attic vents, etc., inspecting for signs of decay or intrusion. Look at your electric, gas, and water bills from the previous year and cross-reference them with current bills to see if there may be something draining your resources. Also be sure to check all your plumbing fixtures and under-cabinet locations for slow leaks.”

4. Monitor your home with a smart device. “There are a ton of new smart home devices that can really help you keep tabs on your home from your smartphone, so no matter where you are you can be sure that everything is running smoothly,” Wade says. “Installing these devices can be a quick upgrade to your home that can really help give you peace of mind, especially if you find yourself constantly wondering, Did I lock the doors? Did I turn off the stove? What if someone breaks in?” Some of his favorites include the August SmartLock, which can lock and unlock your doors, create virtual keys for guests, and keep track of who comes and goes; the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, which sends alerts straight to your smartphone if you’re away from home; and the Canary video security system, which allows you to check on your house in real time. “These devices not only keep you safe but can also save you money,” he says. “For example, Liberty Mutual offers a discount on home insurance for having one or more of these smart home devices.”

7 Design Resolutions to Start 2017 on the Right Foot

 If, like most Americans, the weight of 2016 has put you in the emotional negative, now’s your chance to achieve the balance you crave. Every new year brings with it the promise of clarity, an overwhelming sense that your best self is attainable and that you have the motivation to make it happen. But where to begin? You can resolve to improve your health or prioritize your career—lofty goals, indeed—but you’d be surprised what a little housekeeping can do for your soul. Start by identifying all the projects you’ve been putting off for a rainy day and mastering them one at a time until they’ve all been checked off your list. Need to organize that closet? Carpe diem, my friend. Been meaning to refresh your living room for aeons? Today is as good as any. Here, we’ve rounded up seven projects to tackle in 2017. You’ll be impressed by how much lighter you feel—both physically and mentally—once your home becomes as uncluttered as your mind.

Reinvent your closet. Getting your wardrobe—and where you keep it—in order can not only help you maximize your space but also streamline your morning routine, making your day more efficient before it even begins. Click here for a guide to closet organization to get started.

Get to work. Whether you work from home or bring your work home with you, a designated space that inspires creativity and productivity gets the job done. Here are some tips for carving out a home office of your own.

Take more spa days. A little everyday luxury goes a long way. Turn your bathroom into a place that can revitalize you each morning and replenish you in the evenings—and skip the costly trips to your nearest hotel or gym. See our tips for creating a serene spa bath.

Engage in some color therapy. The force for reinvention, whether it’s an update in a living room or a refresh in a bedroom, is strong during the long winter months. If a full makeover isn’t in the budget, go bold by adding accessories in bright hues or textiles in unexpected patterns. Here are some ideas for decorating with color.

Develop healthy eating habits. Ordering takeout for dinner every day is easy when your kitchen leaves much to be desired. Make it your mission to save up with the goal of rehabbing your cooking space into the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of. Click here forkitchen renovation inspiration and what to know before you begin.

Head outside. Learn to appreciate natural beauty by sprucing up an outdoor lounging or entertaining space with new furnishings, accessories, or plants. Click here for tips on achieving the perfect outdoor space.

Clean house. Get a head start on spring cleaning. From silver and copper pieces to antique rugs, give your treasured heirlooms new life with a thorough scrubbing.

5 New Kitchen Trends for 2017

 We kick off each year at the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, exploring the latest introductions from top brands and designers that will refresh your home. From innovative materials to color and hardware trends, there is no shortage of new ideas to take away and apply to your own kitchen or bath. Whether you’re ready for a renovation or just craving a quick fix for an old room, find inspiration in the most exciting trends that caught our eye at the show.

Matte BlackTrade in typical chrome, bronze, or stainless-steel finishes for sleek matte black, seen on everything from faucets to outdoor kitchens and window finishes. Clockwise from top: Free-standing outdoor kitchen made with Dekton by Cosentino for Brown Jordan, brownjordanoutdoorkitchens.com; Vettis closed-spout single-handle sink faucet by Brizo, brizo.com; contemporary casement with matte black hardware, and detail of hardware by Marvin, marvin.com

Industrial TouchesTextured knurling details give a modern, craftsman-like quality to faucets and hardware. Knurled lever industrial lever handle by Brizo, brizo.com, and Italian Campo U-spout lavatory faucet by ROHL, rohlhome.com

ColorWhile gray dominated color schemes last year, bright hues are in for 2017, as seen in appliances, cabinets, and tile. Clockwise from top left: 6th Avenue tiles by Walker Zanger,walkerzanger.com; Amora vanity in navy by Ronbow, ronbow.com; Crown vent hood by Best, bestrangehoods.com; Quartz Luxe sink in Maraschino by Elkay, elkay.com; outdoor grill in prince by Hestan, hestanoutdoor.com

CustomizationNow more than ever your kitchen and bath can feel personal and unique. Custom options for finishes and hardware range from pattern to color, and appliances like Liebherr’s refrigerator become modular with custom configurations. Clockwise from top left: Script decorative enamel works lever in celeste blue wave by Kallista, kallista.com; custom finish and hardware wine refrigerator by True, true-residential.com; customized refrigerator configuration by Liebherr, liebherr.com

Innovative SolutionsWe’re always on the hunt for effective solutions to renovation challenges. Caesarstone did just that by introducing a 13-millimeter quartz surface overlay that allows homeowners to upgrade their kitchen or bath with no demolition by simply fitting it over existing surfaces, as illustrated in this before-and-after countertop. Transform surface overlay by Caesarstone, caesarstoneus.com