Tips for Finding the Perfect Paint Color

Tips for Finding the Perfect Paint Color

Redoing your home or room?  A paint job is an easy, inexpensive way to totally remake the way your space looks.  But with thousands of colors of paint available, how do you decide?  Below, the experts from Freshome weigh in.

Pick your textiles first.  Freshome notes that textiles are usually considered a finishing aspect of the design, but an easy way to make sure your paint coordinates well with the rest of the room is to use fabrics as your design inspiration and move from there.

Work in surrounding spaces.  Paint can be a unifying element for neighboring spaces, says the Freshome team. The colors should work in harmony.  While this tip is especially important to follow when working with open concept spaces, the effect a color has when transitioning between more traditional rooms should also be considered.

Look at lighting.  Your paint color will look different depending on the way your room is lit.  Once you  have a color in mind, Freshome suggests you ask to have a sample made up for you at your local home improvement store.  When you take it home, paint a few small sections of paint on each wall. Then, check in on them throughout the next day.  If you’re happy with how the color looks in both natural and artificial light, you’ve found a winner.

Focus on the finish.  According to Freshome, many people tend to overlook the fact that paint color is about much more than the shade itself.  Finish is another component that can alter how your finished product looks.  Be sure to take this into account before making your final decision.

Source: Freshome

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Home

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Home

Whether you’re putting your home on the market, or just want it in sparkling shape for the upcoming season, a thorough cleaning of the exterior is a project worth embarking on. Here’s how to break the job down into manageable pieces and accomplish the task without too much stress.

1. Your home. Power washing your home must be done with great care in order to avoid damaging paint finishes or making situations like wood rot or crumbling stucco worse. Be sure to use the right nozzle and the proper amount of pressure for your home. Set the nozzle to a wide angle, as the wider the angle of the spray, the less damage it will do. Experts also recommend staying at least six inches away from the surface as you spray to avoid damage.

2. Decks and porches. Start by using a leaf blower or broom to get rid of any leaves and twigs. You’ll need to use a putty knife to get in between the crevices, as debris left there can cause decay. Next, use a homemade mixture of bleach cut with water, and either scrub small areas with a scrub brush or spray the mixture over larger areas, let it soak in, then remove with a power washer. Be sure to cover and protect any nearby flowers and shrubs. After your deck is clean, apply a weather-proof sealer or stain.

3. Stone patios and walkways. Remove all furniture, potted plants and the grill from your patio, then hose it down with a mixture of water and mild dish detergent. Use a bristle scrub brush to remove any grease spots near the grill. You can also power wash with a solution of 10 percent bleach to water.

4. Outdoor furniture. Remove all cushions from furniture and thoroughly wash them. Many can be run through the washing machine, so check labels for washing instructions. Make sure they’re completely dry before replacing them to avoid mildew build-up. Scrub furniture frames with a mixture of mild soap and water. Use auto polish on metal frames for maximum shine and degreaser on grill grates and the outside of stainless steel grills. Use a heavy-duty glass cleaner on glass tabletops, as well as all of your outdoor lanterns and lighting.

The combination of the right tools and the right cleansers will have your home shining brightly from every vantage point, attracting prospective buyers at the curb and welcoming friends and family for warm-weather gatherings.

6 Easy Ways to be Eco-Friendly Each Day

6 Easy Ways to be Eco-Friendly Each Day

Let’s face it, when it comes to being more mindful of the environment in your day-to-day life, your heart may be in the right place, but sometimes being green just seems too complicated.

In reality, eco-friendly habits don’t always involve big measures like building a compost bin or installing solar panels. In fact, it’s the small, frequent habits that can really add up to make a big difference. And thankfully, these are often easy to change.

With that in mind, here are five easy ways to embark on some everyday eco-friendly habits:

1. Use eco-friendly household cleaners. Made with natural ingredients that won’t harm the environment, you can find these cleaners for every area of your home, from the laundry to the kitchen to the bathroom. Do a little research online and you’ll find some recipes for easy homemade cleaners as well.

2. Keep your oven at the right temperature. Oven temperatures can vary, and an oven that is hotter than the desired setting can waste energy and jeopardize your culinary results. Use an oven thermometer for accurate temperature monitoring.

3. Get a reusable straw. Plastic straws cannot be recycled so invest in one made of stainless steel or silicone. Many come with a carrying case for easy transport, and can be hooked onto backpacks and belt loops.

4. Do away with plastic bottles. A quality beverage bottle improves your life while eliminating waste and conserving resources. Vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottles keep beverages both hot and cold for extended periods of time.

5. Say goodbye to pods. Coffee pods and capsules generate hundreds of millions of pounds of packaging waste each year. Most varieties of today’s coffee makers offer single-brew options using coffee grounds, so search around for a model that suits your needs. After brewing, toss your coffee grounds in your garden as a natural fertilizer.

6. Transition from single-use plastic. Many cities and towns already have banned the use of single-use plastic bags, but if yours already hasn’t, be ahead of the game and invest in reusable grocery bags and keep a stash handy in your car so that they’re available for spontaneous trips to the grocery store.

Is Your Kitchen Top Chef-Worthy?  You Could Pocket a Premium When You Sell

Is Your Kitchen Top Chef-Worthy? You Could Pocket a Premium When You Sell

The heart of the home is the kitchen–and buyers are eager to fork over for a showpiece.

According to an analysis conducted recently by Zillow, adding commercial-grade features to the kitchen pays a premium.  Evaluation 4.6 million home listings in the past year, Zillow discovered that the features garnered anywhere from 24-34 percent more at sale.

Of the 10 biggest moneymakers, six are common in custom, entertainer’s kitchens–and restaurants:

Steam Oven – 34 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                Professional Appliance – 32 percent premium                                                                                                                                                              Wine Cellar – 31 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                Pot Filler – 27 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                            Waterfall Countertop – 26 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                Prep Sink – 24 percent premium

The boost comes with a caveat: longer timelines.  Because amenities appeal to specific tastes, and are common in higher-end homes–and homes in the luxury market move slower, typically–cashing in could take a while.  Against comps, homes outfitted with a steam oven, for instance, were on the market for 22 days more than others.

What about buyers at the entry level, not in luxury market?  They’re also drawn to well-appointed kitchens, and prepared to spend on them:

Pot Filler – 49 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                  Wine Cellar – 47 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                            Pizza Oven – 46 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                              Prep Sink – 39 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                  Dual-Range Oven – 36 percent premium

“Having a steam oven, a heated floor or other luxury features in the home is a signal that there are ore than the home’s basic features at play.” says Skyler Olsen, director of Economic Research at Zillow.  “These homes are special. They likely come with an elevated design sense and the extra touches valued by home shoppers who are willing to pay.

“If you have these features, flaunt them.” Olsen says.

Source: Suzanne De Vita


5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Small Backyard

5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Small Backyard

If you wish you could spend more time in your yard but are suffering from small space syndrome, you may be in luck. Whether you want a posh patio or lush lawn, there are things you can do to get more from what you’ve got.

Pool cover manufacturer LOOP-LOC shares 5 ways to make the most out of your small backyard.

When designing a small space, it is important to hone in your ideas and make a plan. This plan should include which elements you’d like to incorporate into your yard. A small space will not be able to accommodate multiple large objects. Be selective in your design plans and decide on one large item to include in your design. Once you decide on that larger item, whether that be a small pool, fire pit or dining table, the rest of the planning will fall into place.

A backyard is going to need furniture. Utilizing built-in furniture will accomplish that need, while also saving space. You can even dress up your built-in furniture with colorful cushions that can be tied to decor inside your home, as an attempt to expand your space.

Create the vibe you are craving in your yard with well thought-out zones. This can be done with well-placed benches to create hard angles or other accent furniture pieces to give the appearance of different rooms. The strategic placement of your outdoor furniture, and in turn, outdoor rooms, will transform your small backyard into an intimate retreat.

Give your yard a focal point. A beautiful statue, a grouping of plants, a water feature, or small, in-ground pool may take the attention away from the size of your yard and allow your guests to focus on the beauty instead. Draw guest’s attention to your pool with a luxurious pool liner or wow them with your creative poolside seating arrangement. Determine the placement of your focal point based on the layout of your backyard. Typically, this will lead to the center of your yard or wherever the most natural path to a threshold occurs.

Beautify your yard with flowers and plants. Whether you have a green thumb or are just looking to incorporate a few florals, consider doing it vertically. Hanging baskets, creeping vines, and petite patio trees are all great options to add greenery to your yard. Utilizing the vertical space in your smaller yard will save you space, while also bringing the style.

Source: LOOP-LOC

Get Your Yard Ready For Summer Parties

Get Your Yard Ready For Summer Parties

Planning to host a summer soiree this year? You better start prepping your yard now.

“Spring preparation is the secret to effortless summer gatherings,” says HGTV star Chip Wade. “Take steps to get your yard in shape now, so you’re ready this summer whenever friends and family get together.”

Wade looks for practical “do it once and you’re done” solutions for homeowners upgrading outdoor spaces. Chip’s tips include:

Low Voltage Lighting. At night, landscape lights can turn even nondescript yards into appealing spaces, while making walkways safer. Yet many don’t realize how easy it is to wire safe, low voltage lighting. According to Wade, simply plug a transformer box into an outdoor outlet to convert household current to shock-free low voltage. Then wire your fixtures into the box.

One Application Lawn Care. Most homeowners want a lush, green, weed-free lawn but don’t want to spend lots of time and money, says Wade. Instead of applying different products in multiple applications, he suggests Preen One Lawncare, combining three essential treatments into one application. It prevents crabgrass and kills crabgrass seedlings, while killing broadleaf weeds down to the roots, and feeding the lawn all season. Apply it when you first see the yellow of dandelions.

No Weeds, No Weeding. Tidy landscape beds upgrade any property. “You want crisp edges, fresh mulch and no weeds,” says Wade. To keep beds weed-free for six months, guaranteed, sprinkle weed control granules on top of mulch. Water it in to form a protective barrier that stops weed seeds from rooting, so they never grow. No weeds means no weeding!

Green Walls Create a Party Mood. Green walls are trending. “A wall or fence covered with panels of succulents or ferns adds charm and feels cooling in outdoor seating areas,” says Wade. However, many find live green walls difficult to maintain. Wade chooses new realistic, artificial options. “Quality faux green wall panels made of UV protected materials are natural-looking and can last 10 years,” says Wade.

With a bit of spring preparation, your backyard can be the place to be this summer, making every day a special occasion for you, your family and friends.

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