ALL POSTS IN Home Improvement

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Spring is officially here as of last week, but unofficially here according to my local weather report. This means we still have time to prep our homes for the upcoming seasons. I think we can all agree it was a less than enjoyable winter (thank you, polar vortex!), and my energy bill certainly saw the effects of that.

There are simple ways you can make your home more energy efficient both inside and outside to lower your bill. How? By outfitting your home with the proper window treatments. Choosing the right ones can help reduce heat loss from your home in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Here are some top picks and their benefits:

Window Awnings

Window Awnings

© Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman; Photography by Edward Addeo

Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain up to 77 percent. They’re not only beneficial to your outdoor space, but they’re stylish, too. For even more protection, choose a light-colored canvas to reflect more sunlight in the coming months.

Blinds

Shutters

Design by Susan Anthony

Window blinds are better at reducing summer heat than keeping out the cold. When interior blinds are completely closed, they can reduce heat gain by around 45 percent. Not bad!

More Money-Saving Tips

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It seems like staircases only get love during the holidays – little pumpkins for Halloween, garland and bows for Christmas, maybe a few Easter baskets in April. But for the rest of the year they’re just an uninspiring way to get from one floor to another. I’m here to argue in favor of year-round stair decor. Here are 10 simple ways to step up your stair game (mhm, you see what I did there?) without major construction.

Cousins Undercover makeover staircase with wallpaper and accent wall
1. Create an accent wall: Paint a bold color and construct a gallery of knick-knacks and photos on the wall behind the stairs, like HGTV’s John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino did to these stairs on Cousins Undercover.

Cousins Undercover apply birch tree wallpaper to stair risers
2. Wallpaper the risers: Apply a fun wallpaper to the risers to add visual interest to otherwise boring stairs. Go for paper with an interesting pattern in a neutral color palette to avoid going overboard.

See 8 more stairway ideas

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You know how you can live with something and think it’s great for years then one day you look at it and decide that it has to go — stat?! Well, that was me and the shower curtain in my guest bath. When I originally bought the Waverly “Norfolk Rose” shower curtain in 2007, I was going for a cozy cottage look and it fit the bill perfectly. Fast forward to 2014 and — while my taste is still traditional — my color preference has shifted to grays and blues and I like my patterns a little more graphic. Thus, the hunt for a new shower curtain commenced.

Here’s a peek of my guest bathroom before:
Cottage-Style Bathroom Before Makeover
See how I updated for less than $25

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Remember that amazing slide-out kitchen pantry featured back in July? It might still be the best kitchen storage idea I’ve come across, but this super smart space-saving pantry runs a really close second. Just look at all that storage, and it barely takes up any space in the house. Wouldn’t it be cute painted in a fun pattern? And I would finally have the space to stock a well-supplied pantry!

space-saving pantry

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I don’t know about you, but if my workspace is a mess, I can’t get any work done. My mind is so busy stressing over the tangled electrical cords and endless piles of magazines that I lose focus on the task at hand. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for home office organization ideas. If your home office is in need of some organizational TLC, try one of our tips:

Organize and Store Electrical Cords
Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into cubbies with scraps of cardboard. Label each section so you won’t confuse cords, and decorate the cardboard with scrapbook paper to keep your space looking chic.

Desk Cord Organizer
Install Open Shelving
Rather than piling magazines and books on your desk, install easy-access shelving to keep your materials at hand. Opt for sleek shelving that matches your office so your storage remains stylish.

Office Shelving
Use Mason Jars as Cubbies
Organize your writing utensils by keeping them in mason jars on your desk. Mason jars are trendy and inexpensive.

Mason Jar Desk Organization

At Comfort Suites® hotels, we’re committed to your success. Spread out in our large contemporary suites and wake up refreshed with a free hot breakfast full of choices. Enjoy free high speed internet access and a 24 hour business center to meet all your office needs. Best of all, it’s provided with friendly service at a reasonable price. Learn more about the amenities or book your stay today.

  • Tell Your Friends

I don’t know about you, but if my workspace is a mess, I can’t get any work done. My mind is so busy stressing over the tangled electrical cords and endless piles of magazines that I lose focus on the task at hand. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for home office organization ideas. If your home office is in need of some organizational TLC, try one of our tips:

Organize and Store Electrical Cords
Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into cubbies with scraps of cardboard. Label each section so you won’t confuse cords, and decorate the cardboard with scrapbook paper to keep your space looking chic.

Desk Cord Organizer
Install Open Shelving
Rather than piling magazines and books on your desk, install easy-access shelving to keep your materials at hand. Opt for sleek shelving that matches your office so your storage remains stylish.

Office Shelving
Use Mason Jars as Cubbies
Organize your writing utensils by keeping them in mason jars on your desk. Mason jars are trendy and inexpensive.

Mason Jar Desk Organization

At Comfort Suites® hotels, we’re committed to your success. Spread out in our large contemporary suites and wake up refreshed with a free hot breakfast full of choices. Enjoy free high speed internet access and a 24 hour business center to meet all your office needs. Best of all, it’s provided with friendly service at a reasonable price. Learn more about the amenities or book your stay today.

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The right lighting design can do so much for any room, especially the kitchen. After all, it’s truly the heart of the home. Just picture it. Your kids are doing homework at the table or counter. And you’re cooking dinner for your family and trying to read a difficult recipe – all while helping with geometry. So much time is spent in the kitchen, and so much work is being done. Doesn’t it make sense that the kitchen lighting design should cater to your family’s needs? So whether your life calls for bright natural lighting or atmospheric chandeliers, one of these stylish and functional lighting design ideas is bound to fit your needs.

kitchen lighting

SEE MORE IN DESIGNERS’ PORTFOLIO>>

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I can’t stress enough how important front yard landscaping is. Maybe you’re interested in gaining curb appeal. Or, perhaps you simply want to make your home a place you love seeing when you pull in the driveway. Either way, the front yard is the place to start. So get to work and give your house a chance to make a great first impression.

front yard landscaping

SEE MORE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES FROM DESIGNERS’ PORTFOLIO>>

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The week before a vacation, I typically have one thing on my mind — vacation. I’m dreaming of beachy shorelines and piña coladas. The last thing on my mind is the home I’m leaving behind for a week. Do you too neglect your home with a fabulous vacay on the horizon? Unfortunately, our homes don’t appreciate being neglected. They require a little TLC before they’re left to fend for themselves. Luckily, HGTV Magazine has shared a checklist of things to do before you take off for vacation.

Prep Your Home for Vacation

  1. Never announce you’re away (that means hold the Facebook photos until you’re back!).
  2. Eliminate easy access to your home by locking windows and doors.
  3. Make sure gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear.
  4. Enlist a friend’s help to watch your home.
  5. Flush all the toilets.
  6. Secure the garage and unplug the electric door opener.
  7. Arm the alarms.
  8. Stop all deliveries and pickups (mail, garbage, newspaper, etc.).
  9. Power down small appliances.
  10. Cut the water supply in flood-prone spots.
  11. Trim tree limbs.
  12. Don’t turn off the AC – set it to 82 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid mold and mildew.
  13. Run the dishwasher and leave the dishwasher door open.
  14. Use timers to light your home like you’re there.

 

For a more detailed checklist, read the full article on HGTV.com.

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