BAD CHOICES FOR REDESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

4 Things NOT to do when redesigning your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the areas of a home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly, so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal if you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

counterCheap laminate counters: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh off the stove, and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

 

 

 

Fflat paintlat paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen, where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

 

 

backsplashTrendy backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling shows, you’ve certainly seen kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue, yet can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret—and you’ll have more room in your budget for quality materials elsewhere.

 

 

 

badfloorCheap flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

5 BATHROOM TRENDS

5 Current Bathroom Trends

Staying on top of the latest bathroom trends in home decor isn’t for everyone, but even for traditionalists it can be fun to incorporate some new ideas. Here are five trends that are currently appearing in bathrooms.

  1. Geometric patterns: bathroom geometricMany homeowners are selecting bold patterns in geometric shapes, like chevrons, triangles, or hexagons. These patterns can add intrigue and continuity to your tile or shower curtain.
  2. Plants: plants in bathroomEven the best-designed bathrooms can benefit from some small plants. If you have a windowless bathroom, there are some low-light options that can survive with little maintenance.
  3. Dark colors: dark bathroomThis can be tricky, but with a big pay off. While traditionally bathrooms are painted with brighter whites and greys, opting for darker colors can make a bathroom seem more luxurious and relaxing. Imagine sinking into a deep bath with dim lighting—that might convey the appeal of a darker palette.
  4. Brass hardware: brass bathroom fixturesTrends always come back around. The brass fixtures of the ‘70s are popular once again.
  5. Minimalism: minimulist bathroomThe massive master bathroom is still great, but there’s also some appeal in smaller bathroom designs. Minimalism allows for smaller spaces to feel more intimate, but still airy and open.

5 SECRET WEAPONS FOR DIY PROJECTS

diy

5 Simple Ingredients for some of your Dreaded DIY Projects

 

 

 

Is there a DIY home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store?

Here are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.

  1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
  2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
  3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
  4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

CREATE A MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME

What Can You Do To Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient?

Below are three quick and inexpensive ways to help make your home more energy-efficient.

energy-efficient Weather-Strippingenergy-efficient weatherstrippingenergy-efficient weatherstripping

Seal air leaks: As much as 20 percent of the energy used to regulate temperature in a home can be lost to air leaks. You can seal doors and windows with weather stripping and the project will usually cost less than $200.

smartthermostatSmart thermostats: Older thermostats are usually inefficient because they only have a few settings. A smart thermostat like can be programmed to reduce heating/cooling when you’re not at home or during the hours when you’re asleep. The energy savings you will see usually equal the cost of the thermostat after a year or two.

ledlightbulbChange your light bulbs: Yes, LED light bulbs are expensive.  They do only require just a small percentage of the energy incandescent bulbs require. A cheap incandescent bulb uses about $15 of electricity a year (if it lasts that long). An LED bulb costs around $25, but uses less than $5 worth of electricity per year and will last up to 11 years.

IDEAS FOR ACCENT WALLS

Light-Blue-Accent-Wall-Living-Room

What Kind Of Accent Wall Would You Do?

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall
You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Wook-Plank-Accent-Wall-Interesting textures
Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Accent-Wall-Ideas_04Patterns, murals, and more
Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

WHICH DOWN PAYMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

20-percent-down-payment

Is a 20% Down Payment Really Needed Today?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20% down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20% is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as 3%—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE OF LESS THAN 20%

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance, on some loans, for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20% down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE OF 20% OR MORE

The national average for home appreciation is about 5%. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20% or 3%, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20% and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Scratches-from-Wood-Floors

Best Ways To Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.