Category: Home Improvement

Top 5 Home Decor Mistakes – Avoid These If You Want To Sell Your Home

The housing market has been ultra-hot for some time. Nearly everything sold quickly – and for much higher than the asking price. Sellers really didn’t have to do much to prepare their home for sale to receive multiple offers.  Unfortunately, those days seem to be waning. It’s a bit harder today to sell a home than it was this time last year. And, the experts agree that selling a home is going to get even tougher.

That does not mean your home won’t sell. It just may take a little more thought and planning. So, what do you need to do to land a contract? A good place to start is to avoid some common décor mistakes that can turn off buyers.  Fix them, and your home will stand out amongst others on the market.

Mistake # 1:  Going Too Bold

Yes, you want to make a statement. You want your house to stand out. But you don’t want to be so bold that it actually turns away potential buyers. Whether you are painting an accent wall, adding wallpaper to a powder room, or even accenting the kitchen with tile or a backsplash, be sure that your style isn’t too much. Adding some color is always good. Just remember the word “some” when designing a room.  Small touches add flare and depth to a space without overpowering it.

Mistake # 2:  Using Dark Furniture in a Small Space

Not every home features vaulted ceilings and large spacious living areas. Let’s be honest, many houses sport “cozier” rooms.  Don’ t weight down smaller spaces with big, dark furniture. Go light. This means lighter colors (beige, light grays and even white). Stay away from dark browns, blacks and navy. If you have darker furniture, add slipcovers.

And be sure the furniture style matches the size of the room.  You may love your four-poster king sized bed, but if it makes the master bedroom look tight, opt to show it with a full or queen bed instead. Entice buyers with the size of the room; not the size of your furniture.

Mistake # 3: Overdoing Designer Trends

Not every trend is going to sell a house. Especially if you overdo it. Most design experts agree that less is more.  Adding a small accent of tile in your kitchen or a single wall of shiplap will grab more attention than flooding the entire room with the same materials. Want to add a modern appeal? Go simple. Go light. And always opt for less.

Mistake # 4:  Using Washed Out Lighting

If there is one mistake nearly every home seller makes, it is over lighting each room. Yes, potential buyers need to see what your home has to offer, but that doesn’t mean over lighting your rooms.  Lighting can either wash out a space, or make it feel more intimate – like home. Create a warm and inviting space by layering your lighting using multiple light sources. Don’t rely solely on overhead lights. Add table lamps too.

Be sure to add dimmers where you can and replace harsh white and fluorescent bulbs with soft white ones.  This gives rooms a calm, more inviting feeling.

 Mistake # 5:  Using Rugs That Are Too Small

Rugs can add  color and texture to a room. But only if they are the right size. Opt for rugs at least 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 in most areas. Anything smaller should grace only in entryways and halls

A good rule of thumb when choosing a rug style is to be sure several pieces of furniture fit on it and still offer some rug space around the furniture.


Most sellers know the rules for keeping their home neutral, uncluttered and free of personal items when showing them to potential buyers. Unfortunately , few know about these common mistakes which can thwart a sale. Avoid the pitfalls listed here and watch your home gain the attention it needs for a quick sale.


How To Get a High Quality Sound Setup on a Budget

Do you want the full theater experience in your living room, but just don’t have the big bucks to make it happen? If so, you’ll love to know that there’s a way to get a high-quality sound setup on a budget. All you have to do is follow these tips to create a home theater system that promises to get your heart pumping.

Plan to Start Small 

While working with a tight budget, you’re going to have to make peace with starting small. If you do this right, you can slowly build upon your system until you have it just the way you want it.

To take the right approach, start with a used 5.1 or 7.1 receiver. These receivers allow you to run five to seven speaker channels, respectively. You will only operate it as a 2.1 system to start, however.

A 2.1 sound system has:

  • One receiver
  • Two tower or bookshelf speakers
  • A single subwoofer  

Your receiver serves as the brains of your sound setup. This device allows you to set up multiple speakers across many channels while improving their sound quality.  

Tower and bookshelf speakers feature all the initial tweeters, mid-range speakers, and bass drivers you need for your left and right channels. The subwoofer sends big bass rocking through the room, adding punch to every tense scene.   

Buy Used Equipment  

Many people upgrade their sound systems as soon as the newest features come out, landing their original setups in the used marketplace. So, to get the best brands without paying big money, you’ll want to buy used whenever possible.

To find high-quality used home theater equipment, look at:

  • Thrift stores
  • Consignment shops
  • Pawn shops

Try to avoid online marketplaces since you cannot test out the receivers and speakers before you buy them. If you cannot avoid shopping online, look for a solid return policy and be ready to send the items back if they don’t fit the bill.

Select Good Brands

Even though you’re working with a tight budget, you still need to select trusted audio brands. Otherwise, your sound quality will suffer.

For receivers, you’ll ideally want to find Denon, Onkyo, or Yamaha. Speaker brands you can trust include Edifier, Klipsch, and Polk. As for subwoofers, look for Dayton, Kanto, and Bic.

Set Up Your Initial System

Upon selecting all your equipment, it’s time to assemble your budget audio system. Put your speaker on an open shelf right beneath your TV. Make sure that you have room to run your speaker wire and other cords. Also, give the receiver lots of breathing room to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.

Then, put the tower or bookshelf speakers on either side of the receiver. Run the speaker wires to the correct channels to have the sound come at you from the right sides. After that, you just have to hook up your subwoofer and put it in the corner of the room to further amplify its output.

Pick Up Centers and Surrounds Later

Once you have your 2.1 setup running strong, use any extra funds to buy a center speaker and surround speakers. As the name implies, the center speaker goes right between your two tower or bookshelf speakers.

If you’re running a 5.1 system, the surround sound speakers go just past your seating position and get angled toward you. A 7.1 system allows you to add two more speakers behind your seating area. All your surround sound speakers should sit at about ear level for the best results.

Although this might sound like a big undertaking, building your own system allows you to get the highest quality setup without a huge initial expense. If you want to avoid all that work, go with a moderately priced home theater in a box with a 7.1 receiver. Then, you can build on it later if you want. 

5 Hacks To Keep Your Toilet And Bathroom Fresh – Even If You Have A Large Family

Bathrooms can quickly become quite gross when not regularly cleaned, particularly when you have a number of members of the family using the same space. Finding tricks and hacks to keep it clean and smelling fresh can keep your entire living space healthier and reduce your stress levels.

If spending hours every week cleaning the bathroom sounds like a nightmare, we have 5 quick tricks you can use to keep your bathroom cleaner, regardless of how many people use it on a daily basis.

Break cleaning down into small, manageable tasks

There are a number of tasks involved in thoroughly cleaning a bathroom, from cleaning the toilet and sink and showers to mopping the floor and emptying the wastebasket. However, when you look at each task individually, they tend to be quick. You can likely wipe down the sink in 5-10 minutes. Emptying the wastebasket only takes a minute. Cleaning the shower might take 20 minutes.

Rather than trying to do everything at once, break down the tasks involved in maintaining the bathroom into manageable chunks. Then, take about 20 minutes a day to do at least some of those chunks. This keeps it from being overwhelming and turns the maintenance into something you can do quickly before lunch.

Involve children in the cleaning process

You are not the only one using the bathroom, so there is no reason you have to be the only one cleaning it. Involve the children in the cleaning. If you do not want them using heavy chemicals, then you can still have them empty the wastebasket or wipe the sink regularly to keep it clear of toothpaste. 

Make sure the toilet stays clean and the wastebasket empty

The toilet and the wastebasket are two big offenders in bathrooms when it comes to maintaining cleanliness, so make these your priorities. Try to make it a regular practice to empty the wastebasket 2-3 times a week to keep garbage from building up and smelling. Similarly, taking 10 minutes and cleaning out the toilet regularly to prevent buildup. This will greatly help you keep the bathroom more sanitary and usable.

Simplify tasks whenever possible

Give yourself a break whenever possible by making tasks a little easier. For example, get machine-washable floor mats that you can toss in with your other laundry on laundry day. Cleaning the floor mat will help prevent musty smells and if it can go right into the laundry, it will not feel like another chore. Similarly, a machine-washable shower curtain can help keep the shower fresh without feeling like you have to add another item to your to-do list. 

Make sure everyone uses the fan while showering

Bathrooms are incredibly moist environments thanks to people regularly running hot showers. These moist environments can then breed mold if they do not get cleaned regularly. A simple flick of the fan switch, however, can reduce the amount of moisture and therefore mold. You will, of course, still need to clear out the walls of your shower to prevent buildup, but making sure everyone in the family runs the fan while showering can definitely make it easier to keep the bathroom smelling fresh and not musty.

Bathrooms are critical parts of your home, but it can be a challenge to keep them clean, particularly when many people use the same space. These hacks, however, can help you keep your bathroom cleaner and smelling fresh.


5 Principles Of Kitchen Decor, From Counter Tops To Cupboards

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the space where families gather, where friends congregate and where delicious food is created. Maintaining an attractive kitchen makes spending time in the kitchen a more rewarding and enjoyable experience.

It’s also worth noting that the more organized and attractive your kitchen is, the easier it is to create tasty dishes. Below, we’ve listed five things you can do to make your kitchen more attractive and more functional. 

1. Preserve Your Counter Space

Counters are the most valuable surfaces in your kitchen. Counter space that’s taken up by cooking utensils and other forms of clutter can make cooking more difficult. Use magnetic tools and racks to create places where you can store cooking tools on the walls of your kitchen.

Hide countertop appliances in your cabinets, and only bring them out when they’re needed. If your countertop appliances are used frequently, put them in places where they’re easy to access. 

2. Make Space with Hideaway Furniture

Using hideaway furniture like backless barstools that can be stored under your overhanging countertops ensures that your kitchen will have more floor space. Choose kitchen furniture wisely to ensure that you’ll have space for entertaining and space for family members to walk through the kitchen when the room is being used.  

3. Establish a Kitchen Triangle

The term kitchen triangle is a reference to the ideal layout of three important stations within the kitchen. A well-designed kitchen triangle creates flow between the stove, sink and refrigerator, enabling for easy work in your kitchen area. The kitchen triangle requires these three stations to be laid out in a triangle format for easy access while cooking and cleaning.

Establishing a kitchen triangle is something that’s best done when you’re remodeling your kitchen. If you’re moving fixtures and features of your kitchen, keep the triangle in mind. The triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet on each side, and the perimeter should be between 13 and 26 feet. 

4. Use Neutral Colors to Maintain a Tidy Appearance

Neutral colors like gray, white and cream make your kitchen look more attractive. White and cream in particular make your kitchen seem bright and spacious, especially when paired with good artificial lighting and natural daylighting. Paint your kitchen in neutral colors and decorate with matching neutrals. 

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, use a neutral-colored backsplash tiles and cabinetry to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout. Work with your contractor to install natural flooring, such as hardwood, to work with this color scheme. 

5. Only Display Your Most Attractive Kitchenware

If you have open shelving and cabinet display cases, choose the most attractive kitchenware you own to put on display. Be sure to choose kitchenware that matches.

Place the rest of your kitchenware in cabinets where they cannot be seen. Hiding the rest of your kitchenware allows you to keep mismatched plates and cups in a location where they won’t become an eyesore.

Not sure what else you can do to make your kitchen more attractive? Work with a professional contractor or interior designer to ensure that your kitchen looks its best.  

How To Choose Your Roofing Material

If your home’s roof is looking worse for wear, it may be time to explore replacement options. Replacing a worn-out roof can protect your home from costly water damage caused by leaks down the road. Likewise, a brand new roof can add some resale value to your home and possibly even save you money on your home insurance.

Of course, when it comes to replacing your roof, you have many material options to choose from. From “traditional” asphalt shingles to metal roofing and everything between, how can you know which is right for your home? By exploring some common roofing materials, along with their pros and cons, you can make an informed decision.

Asphalt Shingle

This is the most common material used on residential roofs—and there’s a good chance this is the material you have on your roof right now. Asphalt shingles are actually made of fiberglass, but they’re covered with an asphalt surface that protects your home from water, wind, and other elements. 

Typically, asphalt shingle roofs will last for about 20 years before needing to be replaced. This material is also among the most cost-effective and easiest to install, so it’s a popular choice among homeowners.

Wooden Shingle

A less common option (yet still one to consider) is that of wooden shingles. Up until asphalt shingles became “the norm,” wooden shingles were the primary choice. Not only are they easy to work with, but they can also give your home a very warm and inviting look that cannot be achieved with asphalt shingles. Wooden shingles are typically made of cedar, pine, or redwood—and shingles can be stained to achieve nearly any look or finish.

These shingles have about the same lifespan as asphalt, but they do require a little more care and maintenance. Likewise, building codes in some areas may prohibit them as a roofing material, so you’ll want to research your local coding restrictions before you move forward. 

Metal Roofing

Another roofing material that’s becoming increasingly popular for residential use is that of metal roofing. This roofing material is known for its extreme durability, even when faced with extreme weather conditions. In fact, it is not unheard of for a metal roof to last for several decades before needing any extensive repair or replacement.

Most metal roofing is made from aluminum, copper, or steel. It is available in the form of shingles or in larger sheets that can be welded together during installation. Because of its durability and more complicated installation, metal roofing does tend to be the most expensive option. 

What’s Right for You?

Ultimately, the roofing type that’s right for your home will depend on many factors. Usually, it’s easiest and most affordable to replace your roof with the same material as the existing roof. However, many homeowners are choosing to “upgrade” to metal roofs. It all boils down to your budget, your aesthetic preferences, and your local building codes or HOA requirements. 

No matter what type of roof you install, hiring a reputable and experienced roofing company is a must. This way, you can ensure that the roof is installed properly and that it will last for years to come.

So You Have Mice – Here’s What You Need To Know

Mice cause property damage, spread serious disease, and cause anxiety for homeowners. All in all, having a mouse problem can make life miserable. Knowing the signs of a mouse infestation and some simple tips on what steps to take can help you take care of your house as well as members of your household. Here’s what you need to know.  

What Attracts Mice

Mice are attracted to food sources, water and shelter. They often choose to live in the walls of houses, in basements and in garages, where they can access food and water without being disturbed by people.

Mice like to live in places where they can access cloth, cardboard and paper to make nesting materials. They often eat any food they can reach, including any food kept in cardboard boxes or bags (such as cereal, bread and crackers). 

How to Get Rid of Mice 

Often, the easiest and most effective way to get rid of a mouse is to work with a reputable and experienced pest control company. Find a pest control company in your area that offers affordable services. Questions to ask a pest control company before signing up for services include:

  • How much does mouse infestation treatment cost?
  • Does the cost of treatment include return trips? If not, how much do return trips cost?
  • How long is treatment guaranteed to last? 
  • Do you have references?
  • Are your treatment methods safe for children and pets?

In addition to hiring a pest control company, it’s also important to take steps on your own to remove mice from your home. Knowing that mice are attracted to food and water sources as well as nesting materials, one of the ways you can drive mice out of your house is by making your house harder to access and less hospitable for pests.

  • Make the food sources inaccessible. Store foods in hard containers that mice can’t chew through. Plastic and glass containers work well for this. 
  • Keep mice away from water sources. Fix leaks (such as plumbing leaks and roof leaks) that could provide a water source for mice.
  • Seal your house. Sealing cracks and other points of entry into your house can prevent mice from re-entering your home once they’ve been expelled from your property. Use caulk and wire mesh to seal cracks and holes.   
  • Take out the trash and clean your kitchen nightly. Mice can take advantage of trash left in the trash bin or food left in the kitchen sink. Taking out the trash and cleaning your kitchen nightly can help keep mice out of the kitchen.

Prevention is Key

Mouse infestations are hard to get rid of once mice have moved in! You can avoid future problems by preventing mice from taking hold in your home. Make it a habit of yours to keep all food and water sources out of the reach of mice that may enter your home. Keep a good pest control company on speed dial, in case you happen to notice signs of a mouse. Following these tips, you can keep your house mouse-free!

5 Cleaning Tricks To Make Life Simpler

Love a clean house, but hate doing the work to get there? While there is no magic chant to get cleaning fairies to come to your home while you sleep, there are some cleaning hacks that make the job faster, easier, and a little less like a chore. Are you preparing for company? Need to clean up after a party? Or are you just sick of looking at the dirt around your home? Below are five cleaning tricks to help you get started. 

1. Put Your Dryer Sheets to Work

Whether you are looking to save money on cleaning supplies or want to get as much use out of your household items as possible, repurposing your dryer sheets is the perfect option. Dryer sheets have a refreshing smell and can attract and hold dust and dirt. If you want to freshen up your fabric, run your dryer sheet along the surface. 

Dryer sheets also make a great replacement for paper towels. They can be used to buff spots off mirrors, grab the dust off of baseboards, and even remove the ring around the inside of your toilet. 

2. Have Your Dishwasher Pull Extra Duty

Are you tired of cleaning glass and ceramic knickknacks around your home? You can save some time and elbow grease by popping them into the dishwasher to get clean. While you may want to avoid putting your china or delicate crystal glassware in the dishwasher, many ceramics, plastics, and glass are safe to run through a cycle. You can check your dishwasher manufacturer’s website to find what materials are safe to pop in for a quick clean. Your dishwasher is also a great option to sanitize some plastic toys, light fixtures, and even your toothbrush. 

3. Soak the Grime Off Your Faucets in a Plastic Bag

Work smarter, not harder. That’s the goal of efficient cleaning. You can remove that deep-down grime and buildup on your faucet and showerhead with a sandwich bag and a few minutes of work. Fill your sandwich bag with vinegar and baking soda and place it around the faucet or showerhead, securing it with a rubber band. Make sure the head is fully submerged and go on to your next chore while the bag does its magic. Wait for two hours and remove the bag. Run the faucet or shower for a little bit to remove any residue. 

4. Tackle Hard-to-Reach Appliances With Denture Tablets

Denture tablets quickly and effectively remove bacteria and debris from dentures so they are clean and look new. These tablets can have the same effect on some household products and appliances that may be more difficult to clean. They are great for cleaning tea and coffee pots as the effervescent properties work the same as a scrubbing motion, removing stains, and sanitizing the area. Drop a couple of tabs in your tea or coffee pot and fill with water. Once they have stopped fizzing, dump the water and rinse. 

5. Make Cleaning Screens a Breeze With Coffee Filters

Keeping your electronics clean is vital to protect the surface and give you the best visibility. Unfortunately, these delicate screens have to be handled with care, and using safe traditional paper products often leaves behind debris. Coffee filters are designed to reduce static and catch dust, leaving no lint or unwanted fibers in your coffee. This is exactly what you want for your television and computer screens. Use a clean coffee filter to wipe down your screens, and you will enjoy a streak and lint-free picture. 

While cleaning will always be a chore, these a few hacks will help simplify the process, freeing up your time to focus on the things you want to do. 


5 Tricks to Learn DIY Repairs

Have you ever wanted to be better at DIY repairs? Most people do. It’s nice to feel self-sufficient with these kinds of things, and that’s to say nothing of how it can save you money. Plus, completing a project often just feels good.

If any of that sounds appealing, and you’re not sure where to start, these five tips are for you.

1. Do Your Research

Do you know who the best car mechanic in the world is? Trick question. The answer is YouTube. It’s also the best drywall expert. And carpenter. You get the idea.

It’s not just YouTube either. Instagram, TikTok, and anything else with video can teach you exactly how to do almost any repair. Just Google your question as specifically as possible, and the answers will come out.

As an example, if you need to fix a door lock where the key gets stuck, you can Google that exact phrase and get a good answer (which is graphite, by the way).

Is this cheating?

Yes. And that’s exactly why you should do it.

2. Use the Correct Tools for the Job

A large piece of doing your research in trick #1 above is paying attention to the tools being used for the repair.

If you do not have a specific type of tool, this is a great time to round out your home toolbox or see if you can borrow a tool from a friend or family member (and remember to return it).

If you need something a little more specialized and/or expensive, a lot of hardware stores do tool rentals or even loaner programs.

3. Take Safety Precautions

There are a few golden safety rules that will do you a lot of good:

  1. Use the right tool for the job (yes, it’s a safety issue too).
  2. Turn it off before you start (water to the house, electricity at the breaker, etc.).
  3. Wear the right clothes (good shoes, long pants, gloves when necessary).
  4. Don’t work alone (they don’t have to help, just be present in case there’s an emergency).
  5. Take safety advice seriously (especially when watching DIY videos).

4. Jump Into the Deep End

This is where everyone tells you to start small. They’re wrong.

Jump right into the deep end. It will be frustrating. You will run into dead ends. But, you’ll learn a lot this way, and your confidence will grow rapidly.

Naturally, this works best when you have a safety net below you. If you know someone who can help if you get in over your head, it’s a lot safer to learn this way. Or, if you can afford it, you can call a pro to bail you out if things get tricky.

One quick disclaimer. If the work requires legal certification (work that involves electricity, fuel lines, or air conditioning refrigerant), then scrap this advice. Such repairs are often dangerous, and even when they aren’t, the fines for doing unqualified work are a lot steeper than the cost of a professional repair.

5. Ask for Help

Do it yourself doesn’t have to mean do it alone. As you’ve seen, it’s ok to do what you can and then hire a professional. You can ask friends or family members when they can help. You can even take community classes that teach you more about repairs. And, you should have someone at least nearby in case there’s an accident.