Category Archives: home repair

How To Take Care Of Your Bed Sheets

High-quality bed sheets are expensive; therefore, you should take good care of them. To help you out, here are tips that you should follow to take care of your sheets:

1.Washing

For the sheets to retain their nice look for a long time you should wash them regularly. You should avoid using bleach as it can easily damage the fabric. If you want to brighten the units you should use ¼ lemon juice instead of bleach.

You should do the washing with lukewarm water that is less than 104 degrees F. If you are using a washing machine you should set the wash cycle on “gentle” as the sheets are usually not dirty. To reduce wrinkles you should remove the sheets as soon as the cycle is over.

2.Drying

If it’s possible you should dry the bed sheets on an outside clothesline that isn’t under direct sunlight. If it’s impossible to dry the units outside of the home, you should use a clothes dryer. To reduce the damage brought about by high temperatures, you should set the dryer to low heat. You should avoid over drying in order to avoid wrinkles.

Once dry you should remove the sheets and fold them soon. Also, remember to hand press them to remove excess wrinkles.

If you had forgotten the units in the dryer and wrinkles have set, you should toss a damp cloth in the dryer and dry the units for another five or ten minutes.

To have a clean and attractive looking bed, it’s recommended that you iron the upper section of the sheets.

3.General Tips

For the sheets to wear out evenly you should rotate them. To always have a clean bed it’s wise that you have three sets of sheets per bed: one set should be on the bed, one in storage and the other in the laundry.

To prolong the life of the units you should change them every week. To reduce the number of times that you clean the units it’s recommended that you always bathe before you sleep. This way you will keep dirt, oils, and sweat out of the bed.

Conclusion

These are essential tips on how to take care of your bed sheets. For the units to last even longer, you should use a mattress pad between the mattress and bottom sheet. For a clean bed always clean the pad after every few months or as need arises. For exampleScience Articles, when the bed gets wet.

Tips to Select the Right Home Builder

One of the most essential options you will make in constructing a customized house is selecting the best builder for the project.

Here are some of the factors you should consider when hiring a home builder:
Knowledge and experience. How long has the home builder been developing customized homes?

How much experience does the home builder have in the property developing industry?

Does the builder actually have hands-on experience or does he mostly act as a manager counting on sub-contractors for skills and trouble-shooting? Is the builder Accredited and a part of any Building Associations?

Popularity.  One of the methods of finding out about a builder’s reputation is by verifying with regional brokers.  Possibilities are that if the builder has been in business for a while most brokers in the place will be acquainted with that builder.  Another more apparent way is to get house owner sources.

Ask the builder to offer you house owner sources; ask the house owner if they would suggest that builder to family and friends. Ask if they got well-timed guidance about style thoughts, development and successful alternatives. Ask if service calls were managed in an appropriate and expert manner. Ask if they appreciate residing in their houses.  Has the builder won any awards of recognition from reliable companies?

Skills and expertise.Organise a viewing on some of the houses the builder has designed and look for excellent workmanship and attention to detail in windows, paint, cabinets and doors.

Do they look like they have been set up well or are there symptoms of early wearing.

Platinum Homes is honored with providing the very best in excellent workmanship and excellent content with every home we build.

Once you are assured that you have selected the right home builderArticle Submission, you will be able to have fun with the entire home developing experience a whole lot more.

5 Design Ideas That Will Increase Your Property Value

When it comes to selling your home, everyone knows about the importance of curb appeal. But according to real-estate experts, small updates can be made inside that are less costly and time-consuming than an exterior overhaul but will still increase your odds of fetching a good selling price. We turned to Jennifer Titus, a real-estate agent with Compass who works in the competitive Boston market, for her tips. Some changes take five minutes, some are weekend projects, but all of Titus’s ideas are likely to deliver a high return on your investment by wooing buyers and increasing your property value.

Make a big first impression
There’s no better way for a guest to be greeted than with a statement-making decorative chandelier, says Titus. “It’s eye candy, but it also brightens up a space that tends to be underlit and underdecorated.”

Kick the bathroom vanity to the curb
A great way to refresh a home is to switch out boxy (and often timeworn) vanities with sleek cast-iron white pedestal sinks, says Titus. “The bathroom will feel bigger, fresher, and more modern.”

Refresh kitchen cabinets
“One of the highest returns on value for a small money investment in a home is to paint kitchen cabinets that are either aesthetically dated or have excessive wear and tear,” says Titus. Although she recommends having a pro do it (an amateur paint job can make them look worse), she estimates that painting is still 10 to 20 percent the cost of buying brand-new cabinets.

Swap hardware everywhere
“It can be costly to keep up with design trends, but one solid investment for modernizing a home is to replace hardware,” says Titus. “It’s like a simple T-shirt and jeans looking fabulous because they’ve been paired with fashion-forward shoes.” Swap out doorknobs, handles, and knobs on built-ins and shutter latches; polished nickel or bronze are both on-trend and in demand now, she says.

Paint, paint, and paint
Repainting your home is the best way to freshen up an interior. Play it safe with your color choices, though. “A neutral paint can reflect light and make a room appear larger,” Titus says. “But the wrong color palette can define and weigh down an entire space.”

Types Of Water Filtration For Your Home

Water is vital. We use it to drink, cook and clean with. Of course, we want the best for our families and that’s why having clean water is so important. It impacts the health of all those who enter.

Do you stop to consider where your water comes from? This all differs on where you live, but tap water is treated with chemicals to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants. Some of these chemicals, however, you may not want in your body when you reach for a glass of water. If you’re ready to take control of what’s coming into your house, see a few water purification options for your home.

What’s In Your Water?

While you may be comfortable drinking water directly from the tap, depending on where you live, you could be ingesting harmful materials. You might not be able to taste or see it, but your tap water can contain chemicals, bacteria, debris and more from your municipality. Here are few contaminates you can find in tap water according to the EPA:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Viruses

Water Filtration System Costs

The best way to eliminate unwanted chemicals and contaminants from the water is with a filtration system. This helps rid tap water of impurities and can provide peace of mind that the water you’re drinking is safe. There are many ways to treat tap water at home. The average cost to install a water treatment and purification system is $1,517, with most homeowners spending between $997 and $1,742.

Pitcher & Faucet Filtration Systems

The most common and cheapest option for your home is a pitcher or faucet filtration system. These use charcoal filters to remove contaminants from tap water. The pitcher must be refilled when used while other methods involve asimple faucet attachment. The filters must also be changed regularly.

The drawback to this system is that it does not remove all the chemicals and contaminates from the water. It will reduce the amount of added chlorine and may improve the taste. These tend to be the budget-friendly options for homeowners, with systems costing between $30 and $100 as a first investment, but will require more filter changes and purchases over time.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System

As a more permeant filtration solution, some homeowners opt for a reverse osmosis system. This system includes a tank that is typically situated under the sink. While osmosis is a naturally occurring process, reverse osmosis requires a pump that is used to reverse the effects. Water molecules will pass through the semi-permeable membrane and contaminates stay behind. It can remove up to 99% of salts, bacteria and pollutants in water, however, it also has been known to remove vital minerals water carry that our body needs. Additionally, most systems include various filters to remove other impurities. Often, a reverse osmosis system must be installed by a pro to guarantee it works properly

However, this system is a low maintenance and will result in better tasting water. It’s a great option for those looking to easily improve their water quality.

Carbon Block Water Filters

Another common option is a carbon block water filter, typically sitting near the sink on the countertop. This is a safe and natural way to filter water, retaining all the healthy minerals. This affordable option will also remove any bad tastes from tap water. However, if fluoride is a concern, you should know that it will not remove this from the water. You’ll also have to actively fill up this container, though some models will carry enough for a week’s worth of water, depending on the size of your family.

Entire Home Water Filtration System

After learning about the harmful impurities tap water can contain, you may decide that all the water entering your home should be filtered. This ensures peace of mind as you shower, cook and clean and that it’s only the best water coming into your home. Most water filtration systems are installed directly to the water tank, so no need to worry about bulky top-of-counter systems. While there are many styles available depending on your water purification needs, most offer a multi-filter system. This allows multiple chemicals and bacteria to get caught as the water flows through each chamber.

Unlike the above options, an entire home water filtration system is a costlier investment and must be installed by a pro. However, it has less long-term maintenance outside of routine filter replacements and could improve the value of your home.

Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

Whether you’re a senior looking to sell your house in the near future or are looking for practical updates that will make it more appealing to buyers later on, there are all kinds of ways to increase your home’s value. Some changes can be made quite easily by homeowners themselves, and certain projects will take no more than a weekend to complete. Other updates are better left to a professional, be it due to safety precautions or special training that’s required to do the job. This guide will discuss the best value-boosting modifications to consider for your home so that when the time comes to sell, you’ll get the highest return on your investment.

Keep in mind that every homeowner’s needs will be different, and you may want to ask a real estate agent or local interior designer to evaluate your home. They can offer valuable insight on the areas of your house that would best benefit from an update, as well as when to preserve the integrity of a particular style of home, some modern renovations may detract from a colonial home’s appeal, for instance. Getting personalized advice about how to best add value to your home is never a bad idea!

Kitchen

An updated kitchen is the number one wish list item for young buyers and an excellent place to start when boosting your home’s value. The best part is that your budget doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. Even small changes can make a world of difference in giving an outdated kitchen a facelift. Of course, if you do have a large budget to work with, you may want to consider investing a good amount in your cooking space.

Cabinets

Consider your basic kitchen hardware: cabinet door knobs and drawer handles. If they’re the same as when you moved in, and especially if there’s visible wear and tear, it’s likely time to switch them out for a fresh, modern look. Changing them is simple and often low-cost. This small change can completely transform the look of your cabinets and create cohesion in the space, particularly if you opt to match the hardware to your appliances.

If your cabinets are in need of more than just a minor update, you can still make alterations to update them without breaking the bank. A good scrubbing is a great first step! Sanding out rough or worn spots, new contact paper lining, and a fresh coat of paint are all simple ways to elevate old cabinets. If the cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can remove and refinish the doors and drawers for a brand new look without the overhaul of a total remodel.

Replacing your cabinets completely might end up being the best option for a particularly worn-out kitchen. Most home improvement stores come with entire units you can install yourself, but it does require significant time and skill, after all, you have to rip the old ones out first! Keep in mind, however, that if your home is on its way to market, it’s wise to be conservative with brand new cabinets. New homebuyers will certainly appreciate seeing an updated kitchen, but they still may opt to make their own changes. Shanty cabinets can be a major distraction to would-be buyers and prevent them from seeing the space’s potential, but you shouldn’t devote your entire budget to new cupboards that may ultimately get altered.

Countertops

A kitchen’s countertops can be a major indication of an older, worn-down space, but it can be a costly update to make. Laminate is one of the least expensive material options, but you lose durability, which could be a significant downside for potential buyers. Ceramic tile comes in all colors and sizes and is easy to clean, though you may want to opt for dark-colored grout to conceal stains. Corian is a great, albeit more expensive, alternative, because while it’s stronger and easier to clean, it can come in varieties that look identical to expensive granite or marble countertops. Consider your budget and how long you’ll be in your home before selling it; if you’ll be living there a few more years, go with what will meet your culinary needs best.

If you do opt to install new kitchen countertops, your main focus in choosing a material should be practicality. Keep in mind your area’s climate. For instance, if you’re near the coast, choose a material that holds up well with high humidity and salty sea air. Most buyers will appreciate something that’s easy to clean, and ideally, a surface that’s at least somewhat heat resistant.

Light Fixtures

A kitchen’s lighting can be a dead giveaway for the era in which it was built. Fluorescent soffit lighting in particular screams the 1970s. A large budget will allow you to update however you like, ideally with a balance of natural, ambient, and task lighting. Undercabinet additions can do wonders for a dim kitchen, especially if there’s little to no natural light to work with.

Because the kitchen is one of the most utilized spaces in the house, it’s also worthwhile to consider making it more energy efficient with lighting. Look for ways to maximize the sunlight it receives during the day, and consider adding a single, bright overhead light for nighttime use. Be conservative with your choice in fixtures if your home is headed to the listings page: buyers tend to be turned off by those that are overly ornate. If your budget allows, have different fixtures linked to different switches so lighting can easily be adjusted according to the task at-hand. Perhaps the easiest lighting update to make is to switch to LED bulbs that not only last longer, but actually use significantly less energy than standard bulbs.

Appliances

Updates you make to your kitchen appliances will greatly depend on your budget, and it’s important to consider the investment. If you’ll be living in your house for several more years, it’s probably worth it to spend the money to replace an old refrigerator or stove since you’ll use its replacement. Even anew microwave can make an older kitchen look more modern, so if you’ve been putting off replacing yours, it can be a handy home value-booster; best of all, if it’s not mounted, you’ll get the elevated look and still get to keep the unit once you move out!

If you’re not looking to replace the appliances, simply swapping out the front panel of your stove or dishwasher can elevate the room’s overall appearance. Some dishwashers actually come with two-sided face panels that you can easily switch without professional assistance. If you’re buying a completely new panel, stainless steel tends to be one of the more contemporary options.

If you do opt to replace any of your kitchen appliances, look for those that areEnergy Star certified. This will keep your energy bills lower while you’re still living in the home and can be incredibly attractive to new homebuyers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are often the second most important room to update in the interest of home value. The changes can be as simple as replacing the toilet seat, installing a new faucet, adding modern tap handles, or updating the hardware on cabinets. If the plates on your electrical outlets and light switches are old and dingy, spend a few extra dollars on fashionable new plates for easy accents. If you’re planning ahead, make gradual changes over time so the work will feel a lot less overwhelming. Plus, your wallet won’t face any major blows!

Flooring

No one wants to see a dirty bathroom floor, especially in a home they’re contemplating buying. Replacing it is actually a lot easier these days than it used to be. Many vinyl tile coverings can be fitted directly over existing floor. Half-bathrooms can even be fitted with laminate or hardwood, but for full bathrooms, you’ll want to ensure the material is water-resistant and won’t warp from humidity in the air.

Contemporary Home Decor Ideas

If you were to describe your ideal style, what words would you use? Sleek, simple and bold may imply that you have a more modern taste in home décor. Contemporary home décor is a great foundation for almost any style. By incorporating contemporary accessories, you can give any room in your home a trendy feel.

Many homeowners are scared of the price tag when it comes to modern home décor. However, by choosing the right accessories, colors and finishes, you can have affordable modern home décor. Here are a few tips to help you get the style you want in your home.

For a truly modern style, you may be considering a remodel for a new look.Contact a remodeling pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

What Is Contemporary Style?

Not to be confused with modern décor, contemporary incorporates the look of what’s trendy in unique and interesting ways. It’s often defined by straight and clean lines, geometric shapes and open spaces. Often, the focal points of contemporary style is the unique artworks and accessories in the room. The room color is white or gray, making it a perfect backdrop to highlight fur nature, wall art and other accessories. It also makes it easy for homeowners to refresh their décor as trends change.

This style is great for anyone who likes a clean and open space, as well as someone who is up for the task of staying on trend. This style is ever-changing, so be ready to change out certain features as times change.

Contemporary style might be confusing for some who aren’t sure what’s hot right now. If you love the look, but are uncertain about what to purchase, an interior decorator can help. The average cost to hire an interior decorator or designer is $4,776, depending on how many rooms you’ll be redecorating.

Black & White

A staple of any contemporary look is the use of black and white. This allows the homeowner to rotate out decorative elements when they become less trendy for something more in style. Most contemporary rooms are painted in a flat white. Lately in contemporary trends, light gray as a neutral has been making a comeback, also allowing for accessories to pop.

Furniture such as couches, coffee tables, bed frames and bookcases are often black to showcase the other decorative elements. When it comes time to sell your home, black and white is a timeless color combination that buyers will love.

Pops Of Color

Now that you’ve created the perfect canvas, it’s time to decorate with color! Contemporary styles typically incorporate bold and bright colored accessoriesinto a space, without overdoing it. Living rooms and bedrooms are often where many start incorporating this style, because throw pillows are one of the best ways to utilize colors without being permanent. Consider a bright colored rug or window treatment that will pop. Plants are also a great way to incorporate a pop of green, naturally.

In a contemporary kitchen or bathroom, choose items that can stand out but are also functional, such as a tea pot or soap dispenser. Kitchen and bathroom rugs can easily be changed and updated as trends change, making it easy to incorporate the contemporary style.

Choose Your Finish

Regardless of the room, contemporary style will likely incorporate some pieces that need a finish. Chrome and stainless steel is the way to go when creating this look in your home. Table lamps, faucets and other appliances should have a uniform look with whatever you choose.

Recently, bronze and gold have been making appearances in certain accessories and features throughout the home. Try to utilize these where possible in the kitchen and bathroom.

Light Fixtures

For a contemporary room, your light fixture is more than just a utility. The chandelier, floor lamps and other fixtures are pieces that bring the room together and enhance the style. Consider incorporating a statement chandelier that is unique to your space, with straight lines or geometric shapes. Or, try an interesting table lamp that is a subtle touch to how you’ve styled the room.

Wall Art Décor

No contemporary room is complete without wall art. From photo gallery walls to intricate metal pieces, wall art can feature some of your favorite items. Geometric shelving is one way to not only decorate your wall, but display knickknacks you love in a unique way. Even better, you don’t have to break your budget to incorporate contemporary designed wall art in the home. There are many DIY options that can fit your budget and your style. Add a colorful feature to your wall with DIY tutorial on yarn art from Oleander & Palm.

Minimal Clutter

The perfect contemporary look starts with minimal clutter. Get rid of any unnecessary items that don’t need to be in that room. This can be a challenge for some kitchens and bathrooms, but proper storage can help. If you’re completely transforming your style, you might want to contact a pro who can help. The average cost to hire a cleaner or maid service is $157, with most homeowners spending between $122 and $167.

Consider Materials

Contemporary décor can sometimes have an industrial look due to the variety of materials it incorporated. Unlike other décor themes, items like coffee tables or wall art can be made from metal, wood, glass and acrylic that work together to create a unique feature for the contemporary space. A popular feature in many contemporary living rooms is a clear glass rectangular coffee table, that is sure to impress all. In the kitchens, contemporary design is defying traditional thought by mixing marble countertops with dark wood features. Keep an eye out for these decorative elements to include in your home.

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