The Freshome Guide to Renovating an Older Home

Character often comes with the cumbersome side effect of careful renovations. Make sure to account for this important step to keep the character in your home. Source: Don Duffy Architecture

Historic homes are full of character, but sometimes they also need repairs and renovations. We may not all have an HGTV budget to work with, but there are multiple ways to brighten and update an older home. Here are a few tips you need to know before you start a home renovation project.

Renovating kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchen and bathroom updates are often first on the list for many homeowners to tackle. From knocking down walls to simply repainting your cabinets, you can update your kitchen to reflect a modern style while still maintaining the charm of your older home.

Bathroom remodeling may include updating the plumbing or replacing the shower and tub depending on the age of the home. You can start small with a coat of paint and a new vanity, or remodel the entire bathroom for a fresh, new look.

A huge upside to remodeling kitchens and bathrooms is that it will increase the value of your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers if you decide to sell. You can always focus on updating the fixtures, appliances and plumbing while keeping elements of the original design like tile floors and cabinets.

Updating windows, insulation and heating/cooling

Many homeowners are drawn to cosmetic updates, but maintaining a comfortable, efficient home should also be a priority. Depending on your budget, there are many heating and cooling options for older homes.

A home built some time ago may not have a whole-house air conditioning system installed. They may even rely on older, less efficient heat sources like radiators or wall heaters. There are several ways to approach this kind of upgrade, and a local HVAC specialist can help you find the best option for your home.

Consider starting with new windows and insulation to prevent drafts and keep cold air out in the winter and warm air out in the summer. This is a quick way to make a big difference. You may, ultimately, need to install a new HVAC unit in order to keep your home comfortable. This will also help to increase the value of your home.

Make quick, low-budget updates to an older home

Don’t have the budget for a major overhaul just yet? Start small. Replace the hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms for an instant, modern look without breaking the bank. New drawer pulls, cabinet handles and sink faucets can make a big impact in an older space.

You can also always reinvigorate a room with a fresh coat of paint in a favorite color. Painting a room yourself will save you on the cost of hiring a painter. Don’t forget to apply fresh paint to the ceilings, too. New curtains or blinds and colorful accent furniture can also brighten a room. Ultimately, the best way to update an older home is to make the space feel like your own.

Do you have any additional tips for renovating an older home? Let us know in the comments.

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Door Trends: From Ultra Stylish to Super Secretive

Doors provide privacy, protection and separation, and they can be stylish while providing these functions. A cool door can be a design statement and a conversation starter. Or it can be the entrance to a hidden passage or room. Below are several door trends, along with some practical information on materials and costs.

Exterior Doors

Exterior door 1

This is a standard timber/MDF external door coated with a metal finish. Image: Zeitgeist Photography

Exterior doors have to balance form and function. “The front door needs to be durable enough to withstand the weather and would-be intruders, yet attractive enough to enhance the overall look of your home,” says Dan DiClerico, home expert at Home Advisor.

He recommends taking your cues from the home’s architecture when selecting a door. “A simple steel door will suit a modern, minimalist home, while a carved wood door with sidelights and a transom will be appropriate for more traditional homes, such as craftsman or colonial,” DiClerico explains.

Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Types of Exterior Doors

Exterior door 2

This front door in San Francisco complements the concrete wall. Image: Elevation Architect

Exterior doors are available in a variety of materials. DiClerico lists the pros and cons of the three most popular types of exterior doors:


  • Pros: The practical option, fiberglass doors combine value, performance and low maintenance. Many fiberglass doors can be painted or stained so you can change the look easily.
  • Cons: Though their embossed wood textures are convincing, visitors probably won’t mistake them for a real wood door up close. The synthetic material is also prone to cracking.


  • Pros: A very popular option nowadays, steel doors are durable, secure and affordable. Most are also extremely energy efficient, making them a good option in extreme climates, whether hot or cold.
  • Cons: Steel doors are prone to dents and scratches, which are difficult to repair.


  • Pros: The most beautiful doors tend to be wood. Solid-wood versions are also extremely durable and weather-resistant, plus dents and scratches can be easily repaired.
  • Cons: They’re expensive and require regular maintenance, including periodic painting or staining.


exterior door 3

Strength meets beauty in this Phoenix front door. Image: IMI Design

The average price for a new entry door ranges from $500 to $2,000. “This includes installation, though with high-end custom doors the project can quickly exceed $10,000,” DiClerico says. “The labor usually runs between $40 to $90 per hour, with an average of about $70 per hour for a licensed contractor.”

Regarding security, your entry door is only as good as its lock, explains DiClerico. “For best results, HomeAdvisor locksmiths recommend a lock with a 1 inch-long deadbolt and a reinforced metal box strike. For good measure, securely fasten the box strike to the jamb with 3 inch-long screws.”

Amira Johnson at Emerald Doors provides four tips for maintaining your doors. “Clean the doors on a regular basis, oil hinges when needed, replace weather stripping regularly and, when required, repaint them.”

Interior Doors

home theater door

Check out the doors to this home theater in Salt Lake City. Image: Element Homes

When choosing an interior door, the choices are seemingly endless. “Traditional hinged doors can be either pre-hung or slabs,” DiClerico explains. “Pre-hung doors are mounted in a frame with the hinges already attached to the door jamb. A slab is the just the door itself.”

Some interior door styles are quite popular with consumers. “Pocket doors are good space savers since they don’t swing into the room, sliding doors are common with closets, barn doors are in keeping with the farmhouse look that’s so popular and French doors are great for allowing light into an interior room that doesn’t have many windows.”

If you’re thinking about using an interior door outside, don’t do it, warns Johnson. “Exterior doors typically run 36″ wide, whereas interior doors are not as broad (30″), so cutting will be required.” In addition, she says that exterior doors are designed for rain, snow and UV rays. “So an interior door used outside could end up being warped from this type of abuse,” Johnson says.

Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Types of Interior Doors

barn door

There are two unique doors in this San Diego home: the lattice front door and the red barn door. Image: Dunn Carpentry

DiClerico lists the pros and cons of the most popular interior doors as follows:

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

  • Pros: This engineered material is durable and stable, so it’s not likely to warp.
  • Cons: It doesn’t show grain the way real wood does.

Solid Wood

  • Pros: Solid wood doors tend to be the most attractive and they offer good durability, energy efficiency and sound insulation.
  • Cons: They’re also the most expensive.

Hollow Core

  • Pros: Made of plywood or molded composite around a hollow core, these doors are the least expensive.
  • Cons: They’re pretty flimsy and don’t do a good job containing noise or temperature.

Solid Core

  • Pros: These doors are also made of plywood or molded composite, but with a core that’s filled with wood fiber. They offer better durability and insulation as a result.
  • Cons: They’re pricier than hollow core doors, averaging about $50 to $200 more.



This Portland basement has sliding chalkboard doors. Image: Hammer & Hand

You can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $125 to have a standard interior door installed. “Custom units can run a lot higher, especially if they require a new opening in the wall or the existing opening needs to be modified,” DiClerico explains. “For example, a set of French doors might cost as much as $5,800 to install, according to our True Cost Guide.”

So, what about barn doors? “They’re unique in that they open and close on track hardware that is mounted above the door’s opening. Depending on the size of the door, multiple tracks might be needed,” DiClerico says. “A basic sliding barn door with track hardware starts at $300 and goes up to around $1,000.”

Hidden Doors

Check out these hidden doors and hidden door bookshelves:

basement door

This Ottawa basement has the ultimate hidden door. Image: Just Basements


These wardrobe closet doors hide a secret room for the kids. Image: Roger Wade Studio

bedside cabinet

The bedside cabinet in this Denver master bedroom includes hidden storage. Image: Nehemiah General Contractors


These homeowners in Austin found a great way to hide the laundry room. Image: Jenkins Custom Homes


This door blends seamlessly into the wall. Image: Pursley Dixon Architecture

girl's bedroom

These doors, in a young girl’s bedroom in Miami, open to a large closet. Image: Phabrica

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How to Create a Home that Helps You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Last year, Stastisa revealed the most common New Year’s resolutions – and they probably won’t surprise you. The top five were: eat healthier, get more exercise, save money, focus on self-care and read more. If you’re setting your own resolutions for 2019, some of those might resonate with you. But this list can also be discouraging. If we’ve all been trying to eat healthier year after year, why haven’t we pulled it off yet?

Now, we’re not going to try to solve the New Year’s resolution problem in one fell swoop. Your local gyms will probably still be packed in January but a ghost town by early March. We can, however, make some recommendations to help you stick to your resolutions next year. Making some small changes around your home can make 2019 the year where you reflect on your resolutions with pride come next December. Here are a few things you can do to create a home that sets you up for success.

new year's resolutions - pantry

An organized pantry stocked with healthy, easy-to-grab food makes healthy eating easier. Image: Inspired Closets Nashville

Resolution #1: Eat healthier

Are you trying to get on board the healthy eating bandwagon? Us, too. This is a hard one when you’ve got coworkers who bring in cookies or friends who love to eat out. But you can at least make your life easier at home. First things first, clean out that pantry. Give yourself the challenge to stop buying groceries except for fresh produce until you’ve eaten all your pantry staples (and, yes, those extra bags of chips while you’re at it). Now that you’ve cleared out all those refined grains and trans fats, restock with healthy, whole food. As a rule, the less processed food is, the better it probably is for you. Check the ingredient list. Fewer ingredients, and especially fewer items you can’t pronounce, usually means a healthier selection.

Keep your pantry organized and stocked with healthy options. It’s a whole lot easier to eat right when you’ve got a bag of almonds or a banana waiting for you when hunger strikes. Similarly, make it a point to keep healthy options within reach and at eye level, where you’re more likely to grab them. Even if other family members aren’t on the health kick with you, you can protect yourself by shoving those Oreos to the back of the pantry and putting a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.

new year's resolutions - gym

Put your gym in your house so you have fewer excuses to avoid working out. Image: GM Construction

Resolution #2: Get more exercise

Who among us couldn’t use the physical and mental health benefits of getting moving more often? But with the busyness of life, actually getting to the gym can be a real hassle. Instead, why not create a workout space in your home?

If you have the space, setting up a full-blown home gym is motivating. Every time you walk past it, you’ll get a little nudge to get your sweat on. If you’re working with a more compact footprint, a yoga area doesn’t need to take up much space. Queue up a YouTube video to guide you and you’re ready to go! Or, if you’re trying to go the cardio route, set up an area near your front door where you can lay out your sneakers, headphones and whatever other gear you’ll want. This visual reminder to get moving can help you keep your new year’s resolutions in 2019.

new year's resolution - led

LED lighting doesn’t just look cool. It’s also more energy efficient. Image: Roundhouse Design

Resolution #3: Save money

This is another one of those resolutions that pretty much everyone can agree would be great to pull off. If you’re looking to end 2019 with a little more padding in your wallet, your home can definitely help. Make some high-efficiency changes to cut back on your utility expenses. We’ve got five easy ways to get started. Swaps that will take you just minutes – like changing out a light bulb or turning down your water heater – can help you tuck away savings throughout the entire year.

Another great way to save money is to encourage time at home. It’s a whole lot cheaper to have a friend over for drinks or a movie than it is to go out for the same activity. Set up your space for entertainment and see some serious savings next year.

new year's resolutions - meditation

Imagine how relaxed you could be in 2019 if you added a meditation space like this. Image: Veneshe Master Venetian Plastering

Resolution #4: Focus on self-care

This resolution captures a wide range of sentiment, from people just trying to get more sleep to those who are feeling seriously burnt out and need to scale their commitments back in a major way. However you want to practice self-care in 2019, a comfy, cozy bed is key. Upgrade your bedding to encourage yourself to the get the rest your body needs.

If simply catching more zzz’s isn’t your goal for next year, create a physical space in your home where you can take care of your body and your mind. If you love chilling in the bath for its calming effects, create a spa-like feel in your bathroom to amplify the benefits. Or if you want to explore meditation, make a meditation room so you can minimize distractions. Think through what you want to do for yourself to feel more relaxed and balanced next year. Then, create an area in your home where you can regularly revisit that practice, keeping your New Year’s resolutions and keeping yourself healthy.

new year's resolutions - book

A cozy reading nook could be just what you need to keep your New Year’s resolutions. Image: Hudson Home

Resolution #5: Read more

If the digital revolution of the last few decades has shown us anything, it’s that finding time to unplug is key in maintaining our sanity. Diving into a good book is a perfect way to both relax and stimulate the brain. So it’s no surprise that when coming up with new year’s resolutions, so many of us are resolving to read more. Making a change to our homes can definitely help us keep that resolution.

If you’ve got the space, why not add a home library? That awkward area under the stairs or unused corner can transform into a place that inspires you to crack open a book. Or, if you’re not keen on adding a bunch of bookshelves, at the very least carve out a reading space. Place a comfortable chair in a location with a nice view. Add a soft throw and a table where you can place a mug of tea or a cool drink and you’re ready to read!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Are you making any changes to your home or apartment to help yourself keep them in 2019? Let us know in the comments!

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Production Builders vs. Custom Builders: Which is Right for You?

Making the decision to build your own home means dedicating at least a few months to the process. Some builds seem to go perfectly, while others have a few bumps along the way. The type of builder you choose could make all the difference. You’ll need to choose a builder depending on your timeline, budget and level of customization. Custom builders and production builders might seem similar, but they offer different pros and cons. Consider each and compare them to your wishlist before making your final decision. Here are some of the factors to think about.

Production Builders 

Production builders have semi-custom construction down to an art; they can build hundreds of homes a year. They know how much everything costs and structure the build for budget and efficiency. They’ll be able to offer your dream house – within reason, of course. Consider these factors to decide if a production builder makes sense for you.

A production builder uses a set catalog of plans. Image: BCD Homes


  • They offer fixed prices. Because production builders build the same homes over and over, they have a better idea of prices. A production builder can give you a near-exact cost, which means you can choose a home and plan more effectively.
  • They negotiate the best deal with contractors. Production builders tend to use the same contractors for their homes. This allows them to negotiate stellar bulk deals on supplies and services, passing the savings onto you.
  • They’re faster. Managing tight schedules and multiple contractors is a science for production builders. Barring any major snafus, production builders are faster and operate on tighter timelines than custom builders.
  • They offer development amenities. Production builders usually create entire developments at one time. They typically develop amenities like parks, walking trails and even sports courts as a draw for potential homeowners. That means you’ll score major perks by choosing a builder’s development over buying your own lot.


  • You’ll be restricted to existing plans. To keep costs low and predictable, production builders reuse a catalog of plans. Your home won’t be one-of-a-kind and there may be several others in your development with the same or a similar home.
  • Your customizations are limited. Some production builders allow a little customization inside the home. You may be able to have a larger master bathroom or opt for a breakfast nook. But you won’t be able to change the size of the home and may be restricted on things like window sizes or moving walls. You’ll need to choose a plan that’s close enough to what you want, which could put a damper on building your “dream” house.
  • Your fixture choices are limited. When choosing things like carpet, tile, counters and fixtures, you’ll pick from a set of pre-chosen options that the builder allows. Restricting choices keeps prices predictable but it could make you feel stuck with options you don’t really love.

A custom builder starts your plans from scratch. Image: McEwan Custom Homes

Custom Builders

Custom builders create your home, taking you all the way from a blank sheet of paper to a turnkey property. You’ll get exactly what you want, but it can also mean a less predictable process. Here are some of the major pros and cons of going custom.


  • You’ll get a truly unique product. Custom builders start every home from scratch. Whether you come with a plan you found online or you want to create something yourself, each home is unique and designed to your specifications.
  • You can choose your own architect. A custom builder might have a preferred architect or designer, but you can bring your own, too. You aren’t limited to any set of plans and if you love an architect’s work, you can have your plans drawn before you start working with your builder.
  • You’ll have more choices. Want all-gold fixtures? Done! Want a Game of Thrones mural in your game room? Go for it. Want an oversized deck and huge pantry? It’s yours. A custom builder isn’t restricted in any way, so you’ll get to make every choice to your tastes along the way.
  • You’ll have more input. Custom home builders love collaboration, so expect to have more input along the way. Visiting the construction site and having more control over your build is par for the course. It’s a better choice for control freaks or those who truly want the full build experience.


  • Expect a longer build. Custom jobs take more time because there are more decisions to make and contractors are lined up on an as-needed basis. It takes time to send out for bids and hire contractors for your home. Expect a custom job to take longer than a production build.
  • Less predictable costs. Custom builders usually use a cost plus model, which means the cost of goods and services plus a percentage for managing the build. It’s much harder for a custom builder to predict costs because each build is different. Your cost will depend on all of your options, contractor pricing and industry prices that fluctuate.
  • No bulk pricing. Production builders negotiate bulk pricing from the same contractors, but it’s unlikely your custom builder gets the same preferential treatment as a production builder. Your end cost could be slightly higher based on that fact.
  • Too many choices. A custom build can seem like too much of a good thing. Picking all of your fixtures, colors and options can definitely become overwhelming, especially if the sky’s the limit and there’s no way to really narrow down your options.

Production and custom builders each have their pros and cons, so it’s a personal choice. Would you rather have the home of your dreams, even if it’s a little more expensive? Or is price your true bottom line? By deciding which factors are most important to you, you can choose the type of builder that makes the most sense for you, your family and your build.

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These Are The 2019 Color Trends We’re Loving

The new year is here, bringing with it all sorts of new interior design trends to fawn over. Today, however, we’re focusing exclusively on color. Each year, color giants like Behr and Sherwin-Williams release their top picks for which colors will soon be everywhere. From their wide selections, we picked the 2019 color trends that we think are most likely to take off and laid out how to use them. Read on below to get ahead of the curve.

night watch

A dark green shade called “Night Watch” is PPG’s 2019 Color of the Year. Image: Black Lacquer Design

Dark greens

Recently, a dark green shade called “Night Watch” was given the honor of being named PPG’s Color of the Year. According to a senior marketing manager with PPG, this color was chosen because “the restorative power of nature is important in society now more than ever. Night Watch is about bringing the healing power from the outdoors into your home through color.”

We couldn’t agree more. We’ve progressively been seeing nature-inspired decor take over our interiors. From incorporating live plants to embracing the jungle trend, we can’t get enough. That’s why we think dark green shades are set to be everywhere this year.

As for how to use this shade in your home, embracing dark greens is all about creating a bold look. Pair it with darker neutrals like black and brown or opt for an even more on-trend aesthetic and incorporate some jewel tones. Choose warm metals like copper or gold to create a sense of contrast.

dusty rose

Bye, Millennial Pink. Hello, Dusty Rose. Image: Nathan + Jac

Dusty pinks

For years, the cheekily-named Millennial Pink has graced us with its presence. It was nearly impossible to see a scandi-inspired interior without it. However, 2019 is all about change. These days, we’re seeing the bright, almost bubblegum hues of Millennial Pink being replaced with a more subdued, timeless version. It’s time to say hello to dusty pinks.

This year, as part of their Colormix Color Forecast, Sherwin-Williams released 42 trend-forward shades that spanned six unique color palettes. Dusty pink shades showed up on three of them. For us, that’s enough indication that this color will soon be everywhere.

This color is a wonderful accent shade. Use it in an accent wall, a piece of statement furniture or some throw pillows. You can bring out the color to its fullest by pairing it with plenty of white, which will give your design a sense of contrast. Alternatively, you can go a bit more playful and round out the look by incorporating plenty of richer reds or pale blues.

warm cream

Warm creams are the new “it” neutral. Image: Jenni Leasia Interior Design

Warm creams

Since the era of gray-everything is finally coming to an end, it’s time to zero in on a new neutral to take its place. Enter warm creams. This group of colors is especially exciting because it offers the perfect middle ground. It’s less stark than the all-white interiors we’ve grown used to seeing in conjunction with modern aesthetics, yet it’s less expected than a traditional tan shade.

Benjamin Moore’s Color Trends for 2019 feature two distinct cream-inspired shades: “Cloud White” and “Balboa Mist.” With just 15 colors in total, that’s not a bad percentage. However, we suspect this is just the start of seeing warm creams crop up everywhere.

Using this color is all about adding a sense of warmth and serenity to the room. Think about pairing it with warm neutrals like browns and tans. Serene blues and grounding earth tones are also a good match. In this case, you’ll want to stay away from colors that feel harsh and opt for more muted versions.

2019 color trends

“Blueprint” is Behr’s 2019 Color of the Year. Image: Jessica Buckley Interiors

Medium blues

Our final 2019 color trend alert is for medium blue shades. This one comes to us from Behr, who named a hue called “Blueprint” their 2019 Color of the Year. On the choice, Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Color and Creative Services at Behr, explained, “Much like the sketches builders rely on to bring an architectural design to life, Blueprint S470-5 lays a foundation for consumers to make their unique vision a reality. This universally appealing hue provides a steady stream of positivity and is poised to be an instant classic for years to come.”

We like “Blueprint” – and shades like it – because they’re incredibly versatile. On the one hand, like navy, a medium blue can be used as a neutral shade. It can stand up to bolder colors like vibrant reds and yellows. However, on the other, a medium blue shade can also be an accent color. It can be the pop of visual interest that livens up an otherwise neutral design.

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Things to Consider When Installing Outlets

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While it might not be as fun as choosing countertops or paint colors, planning your new home’s electrical outlets can impact your daily life more than you realize. After all, how often are you left searching for a place to plug in your charger or install a new light fixture? Your architect will include an electrical plan with your blueprints, so designing outlets will be part of the process. Don’t leave it to your architect to guess where you want outlets. Consider these factors and you’ll always have the power you need.

Modern white kitchen

Tuck outlets under cabinets for quick access. Image: Gilmans Kitchen and Bath

Beyond the wall

Your architect will plan around city codes when it comes to placing outlets. Your city or county will dictate how far spaced your outlets must be. But you can still have input on where they go, or if you want outlets in specific places. Obviously, most outlets will be placed in your walls, but think beyond the wall to really make sure you’re covered. Imagining how you’ll use the home and live your daily life can help you visualize the best places for outlets. Here are some clever places to make sure you have power:

  • In kitchen drawers and cabinets. Drawers and cabinets are a sneaky way to run more power through your kitchen. Whether you need to charge a phone, run a hand mixer or even plug in a small light, having power tucked away in your drawers gives you easy access that doesn’t disrupt your decor. You can also use cabinet outlets to light some of the darker corners of your cupboards.
  • Under cabinets. Under-cabinet lighting is a cool feature, but it can be expensive. What’s more, you might find yourself changing out pricey specialty bulbs, or just leaving them burned out. Plugs underneath the cabinets let you choose less expensive lighting and serve up space to plug in electronics and kitchen gadgets without taking up counter space.
  • In the island. If you have a kitchen island, consider running power up and into your island with an outlet on the side. Even if you have other counter space, you’ll likely use your island for prep work. It’s annoying to have to move food to another workspace in order to plug in a mixer, blender or food processor. The island is also the perfect place to serve up pancakes hot off the electric griddle.
  • In the entryway. Why add outlets to the entryway? It’s just a place to take off coats and shoes, right? Well, think about how many times you plug your phone into an outlet in the house, only to forget it? Or how many times have you guests who need a charger? Adding plugs to your entryway gives you a convenient out-of-the-way place to charge phones and electronics so they’re always ready when you are.
  • Living room floors. Don’t want to trip over cords and plugs? Putting outlets in your living room floor means you can plug lighting exactly where you need to, hiding the cords under furniture instead of causing a constant trip hazard.
  • Bathrooms. Your architect will definitely plan for plugs in the bathroom, but you can design their placement so they’re more functional. Think about how you use bathroom electronics like shavers or hair dryers. Remember that it’s unsafe to string cords over sinks so plan accordingly. Addicted to quiet baths and reality TV? Your architect can also help you find a safe place to put an outlet for a TV in the bathroom.
Bright family room outlets

Add outlets in the floor to reduce trip hazards. Image: The Orpin Group

Smart outlets 

Old, outdated plugs might do the trick, but new smart outlets make life so much easier. Check out some of the new smart outlet options to see if they’re an upgrade you want to make.

  • USB outlets. Why worry about USB converters at all? If you’re placing outlets where you know you’ll want to charge your phone, just install a USB outlet and you can plug directly into the wall.
  • Bluetooth outlets. Make your house a smarthome on the cheap by using smart outlets and plugs to control your electronics from your phone. They use Bluetooth to connect with your electronics, so you don’t have to get out of bed just because you forgot to turn off the a lamp downstairs.
  • WiFi outlet. Wondering how much power it takes to run your home? WiFi outlets can send information about your power usage and even cut off certain appliances or electronics when they meet a quota. This can save you major money in the long run.

They might not be the most visible part of your home, but plugs might be some of the most important. They are a small thing that make a big difference in your daily life. Slowing down the design process to choose and place them properly means you’ll love your home that much more.

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Here Are Your Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019 According To Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

Nippon Paint, Asia’s largest paint brand, has released their Colours of Fortune Paint Collection for 2019. Grand Master Phang, Nippon Paint’s Colour Advisor and one of Asia’s top authorities on feng shui and Emperor Star Astrology, put together the collection of feng shui lucky colors to ensure your home attracts plenty of wealth, health, luck and love.

Find your Chinese Zodiac animal first and then scroll down to learn about your home’s feng shui lucky colors, according to Nippon Paint:

Year Born  |  Chinese Zodiac Animal

2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960 |  Rat
2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961  |  Ox
2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962  |  Tiger
2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963 |  Rabbit
2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964 |  Dragon
2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965 |  Snake
2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966 |  Horse
2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967 |  Goat
2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968 |  Monkey
2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 |  Rooster
2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970 |  Dog
2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971 |  Pig

Rat Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Cool, coastal colors are your lucky colors for 2019. Think pink sand beaches, sunny skies and azure waters.

All paint color swatch images courtesy of Nippon Paint.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

luckiest feng shui colors for 2019

This year’s colors are perfect for a spa-like bath. Image: Monterrey Peninsula Condos

what's my chinese animal sign

Paint your cabinets and walls in complementary colors to freshen up your space for 2019. Image: Brett Mickan

Ox Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Oxes will find that they’re not only lucky when they include plums, merlots and pinks in their decor, they’re also on-trend for 2019 and beyond.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

home feng shui colors

Layers of polished pinks, plums and berry tones freshen up this elegant living room. Image: Niche Interiors

year of the pig colors

The luckiest colors for the Ox this year would work well in the bedroom. Image: Tahar Decor

Tiger Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

If you’re a Tiger, choose warm and rich colors like golds, tans and mustards that replicate the regal animal’s coloring.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

best feng shui colors 2019

Classic neutrals flow well with a bold mustard-colored grasscloth wallpaper. Image: ATG Design

lucky colors for 2019 feng shui

Add warmth to your room with luxurious furniture in mustard. Image: Blazing Embers

Rabbit Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Berries, mochas and chocolates sound like the perfect dessert, but they’re also the luckiest colors for those born under the Rabbit Chinese zodiac year.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

feng shui color ideas for the home

A soothing bedroom ties together the color theme of pale mauve, ivory and grey. Image: Chateau

luckiest home colors

This room is all about luxurious texture with a chocolate velvet sofa and plum silk pillows. Image: Living In Space

Dragon Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

The Dragon is the most powerful animal of the Chinese zodiac. This year, the peace and tranquility of modern neutral colors bring you good luck.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

chinese animal zodiac lucky colors

The pale grey walls pull together the beautiful veining of the marble surfaces. Image: Brett Mickan

best feng shui colors

To keep neutral colors like ivories and beiges interesting, layer shades in dark and light accents for contrast. Image: Brad Ford

Snake Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

The Snake should reconnect with the colors of a beautiful spring day to achieve the most wealth and luck for 2019.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

decorating with lucky colors

Sumptuous layers of periwinkle, lavender and ink create an intimate bedroom setting. Image: Stephen Fletcher

2019 feng shui colors

The combination of lavender and sage brightens a room – and the outlook for Chinese zodiac Snakes for 2019. Image: Just Perfect Home Staging

Horse Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

The overall theme for 2019 for most of the Chinese zodiac animals includes cool shades like pale greys, blues and purples. Horses should include a splash of invigorating yellow or gold to keep luck and abundance flowing.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

lucky home colors 2019

A simple bed runner in a vibrant yellow magnifies the luck of this bedroom. Image: Just Perfect Home Staging

chinese animal zodiac colors

Coordinating walls painted in mauve and yellow bring in good luck for those born in the Year of the Horse. Image: Shamanth Patil

Goat Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

If you’re born in the Year of the Goat, be sure to complement your blue room with earthy red accents, or vice versa.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

lucky feng shui colors 2019

Adding accent furniture in your feng shui lucky colors creates the flow of luck in your space. Image: Stephen Fletcher

good luck colors for the home

Sky blue and red are an unexpected color pairing, but this modern kitchen combines the two well. Image: Amitzi

Monkey Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Monkeys should incorporate colors and accents that inspire optimism (green) and passion (red) into their spaces for the best 2019 possible.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

2019 feng shui lucky colors

Red adds a striking effect to a neutral room featuring deep olive green walls. Image: Brett Webber

luckiest feng shui colors

This regal bedroom features luxe fabrics like silk and velvet in bold colors like red and emerald. Image: Katie by Design

Rooster Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Get ready to bring in good tidings, Rooster, by creating a soothing, tranquil room in cool, neutral colors.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

my lucky Feng Shui colors:

Layers of understated neutral tones are both tranquil and elegant. Image: Kravet

lucky Feng Shui colors for 2019

If you’re decorating with neutrals, be sure to add unique art or architectural details to make your space memorable. Image: Bellas Arte Design

Dog Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

Dogs should work with plenty of bright and optimistic blues and greens for a 2019 full of good health, wealth and love.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

best feng shui colors by chinese zodiac

If you want to warm up a blue space, paint the walls in a deeper color tone. Image: Storybook Interiors

chinese zodiac colors

The striking color combination of this living room is inspired by the colors of a peacock. Image: Rikki Snyder

Pig Feng Shui Lucky Colors For 2019

It’s your lucky year and you should embrace the beautiful, modern tones of indigo and greys, which have been so popular in home design as of late.

Here’s how to use your lucky feng shui colors:

Here's how to use your lucky Feng Shui colors:

Layers of indigo blues create a personalized bedroom. Image: Lindsay Pennington

feng shui lucky colors 2019

Have fun with your favorite shade of blue by mixing and matching fabrics, textures and varying tones of your blue. Image: Dulux UK

Don’t forget to look up the Chinese zodiac sign for those you live with, too. Mix and match the colors to create the luckiest home possible for you and your loved ones.

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Here Are 5 Easy Ways To Make Your Home Warmer And Cozier For Winter

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It’s going to be a long, cold winter this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Editor Peter Geiger explains, “The real teeth-chattering arrives mid-February, especially in the following zones:  Northeast/New England, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Midwest and Southeast.”

It’s time to set up and hunker down for winter. We’ve got five easy ways you can make your home warmer and cozier.

how to warm up your home for winter

When temperatures drop outside, it’s time to start layering your rooms with plenty of cozy blankets and rugs. Image: Elle Decoration UK

The following five tips don’t require a big time or money investment but will go a long way to make your home warmer this winter. And the best part is you’ll not only feel more comfortable in your home, you’ll also save money on your heating bill.

1. Load Up On The Right Winter Textiles

how to make a home warmer and cozier

Chunky throws, an area rug and lots of throw pillows can warm up and “cozify” a space. Image: Etsy

Blankets, rugs, throws and curtains all insulate a room for a cozier and warmer space. Here are some ideas on how to use the right winter textiles to make your home warmer this winter:

  • A small runner next to your bed, large area rug in the living room or bath mat in front of your bathroom sink will keep you (and your feet) away from the cold floor.
  • Swap your sateen or percale sheets for flannel or microfiber. They’ll feel warmer to the touch and insulate better.
  • A down (or down alternative) comforter will hold your body heat in best.
  • Hang heavier insulating curtains that keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

2. Deal With Drafts

how to warm up your home for winter

Hang heavy curtains to close up large open areas and create a warmer, cozier environment. Image: Colour and Design

Doors, windows and cracks can leak cold air into your home. To keep your house as warm as possible, you’ll need to isolate the gaps that let the cold air in. Here’s how to find the drafts and fix them, stat:

  • The most common drafty culprits are windows, doors and wiring holes. Start there.
  • To find other drafts, wait for a windy day, close all windows and doors and light a stick of incense. Hold it in places you suspect drafts are originating. If the incense smoke looks unsteady or wavering or gets blown into the room or sucked out, you’ve found a drafty spot.
  • Keep doors closed to all your rooms.
  • Keep the fireplace flue closed when not in use.
  • Have an entry that opens up to the living room? Hang a curtain rod and a heavy curtain to keep cold air out of the living room when you open the front door.
  • Use caulk or expanding foam to seal up wiring holes or a leaky window.
  • Stick self-adhesive weatherstripping in windows or doors that have a noticeable gap to seal them.
  • Place a “draft snake” or rolled up towel at the base of your door to keep a draft out.

3. Use Smart Heating & Cooling Wisely

smart thermostat for comfort on demand

A smart thermostat works as your home’s comfort-on-command center. Image: Trane

Smart heating and cooling systems are readily available to make comfort on demand easy. You can wirelessly control your home’s heating system nowadays, thanks to a smart thermostat and home zoning.

The secret to the warmest, coziest and most cost-efficient smart heating and cooling system is to set up your home in zones.

Home zoning means that cooling or heating goes to the areas you’re likely to be using most. Efficiently running a home zoning setup like the ComfortLink™ II Zoning System means that you’ll save money and energy by focusing heating and cooling in the areas you use most frequently.

To run and schedule your home zoning comfort-on-demand system, you’ll need a smart thermostat. It’s your home’s energy command center where you can program what zones you want to heat and when. You can also access the smart thermostat remotely or view live weather on the color touchscreen display.

4. Rearrange Your Furniture To Make Your Home Warmer

how to make your home warmer this winter

Move seating away from cold, drafty windows for comfort. Don’t block heat registers or radiators so warm air can flow properly. Image: House Beautiful

It’s time to get strategic on where your room’s furniture sits to avoid cold air from windows and walls and enjoy the few days of warm sun. If you work from home during the day, place your desk near a sunny window to take in the sun’s heat. Move your sofa, armchair or bed away from a cold, drafty window or poorly insulated wall to keep yourself warmer and cozier.

Move your sofa and other larger pieces of furniture away from your heating ducts or radiators so the heat can flow freely in a room.

5. Run Your Fan The Opposite Way

how to make your home warmer

Run your fan to spin clockwise in the lowest setting possible to push warm air back down. Image: Forsite Studio

Did you know that most fans have a tiny switch on the base of the mechanism near the blades? This switch allows you to turn the fan to “winter mode.”

Heat rises. And if you have tall ceilings, the warmest place in your home is near the ceiling. Set the fan’s switch to reverse mode so the blades spin clockwise instead of counterclockwise to push warm air back down where you can enjoy it.

This trick works best if your fan has several speed settings. Run your fan at the very lowest speed possible. You don’t want to run your fan too high, creating a draft and cooling the room.

Warming up your home for this long winter doesn’t require a lot of work. And the reward will be stylish spaces that feel more inviting so you can cozy up and relax with a nice mocha.

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5 Ways to Get a Calm Home for 2019

If you’re looking for a worthy new year’s resolution, then try this idea: designing a calm home for 2019. It’s a great resolution because it has an easy end goal in sight. You make some adjustments to your home, and then you can enjoy the benefits of the resolution for the rest of the year.

With how hectic our lives are outside the home, it’s never been more important to create a relaxing oasis for ourselves. When you feel more relaxed at home, you have more energy to go out and tackle the rest of your life. So below are some ways to get a calm feeling in the home.

Calm Home Soaker Tub

Spa elements in the home can create an instant feeling of relaxation. Image: Frances Herrera

Spa Layout

One way to get a calmer home for 2019 is to go for a spa layout. An example is the bathroom in the photo above. Spas sometimes have free-standing luxury soaker tubs, so if you’ve been eyeing a new bathtub, this might be a worthwhile addition.

Even if you’re not looking for any major overhauls, you can make small aesthetic choices to get a spa look in your home. For instance, small natural accents like the large fern-like leaf in the photo above give a natural spa look. You might incorporate natural stone artwork, like you sometimes see in a spa. Or you might place incense around the bathroom. Think back to your favorite spa trip and try to recreate those styles in your home. You can also view more home spa bathroom ideas here.

Calm Home Blue and White

Try a relaxing and soothing color scheme for the new year. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Relaxing Colors

If you want a more relaxing vibe in your home, you might also want to play around with the color scheme. The new year is a wonderful excuse to repaint the walls for a fresh look.

For instance, light colors and blue always create an instant relaxing tone that would be a help when creating a calm home for 2019. An example is the photo above, where the light blue-gray walls and white trim make for an open, relaxed space.

You might also want to look into colors that say relaxation to you on a personal level. Earthy tones tend to be relaxing. Or you might feel particularly soothed by lavender. It’s your calm home space, so make sure it speaks to you individually.

Calm Home Plant Life

Nature can be a soothing element in the home. Image: britto charette

Plant Life

Don’t forget the plant life if you equate relaxation with nature. For nature lovers, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as having nature around you in the home. A great example is the photo above. This artsy space shows how a few floor plants can fit into the most contemporary of styles.

You can also put plant life on dining tables, end tables, mantels or shelves. The more you surround yourself with natural elements, the more relaxing the vibe of the room tends to feel. If you have a black thumb, you can also place highly realistic-looking faux plants around your home.

Calm Home Zen Garden

Go zen for instant calm and tranquility. Image: Avalon NW

Zen Elements for a Calm Home

A quick way to get a relaxing tone in your home is to go for some zen elements. Zen style is all about creating a feeling of tranquility in the home. And it’s surprisingly easy to get. An example is the small Buddha statue that accents the garden in the photo above.

Inside the home, you might place Japanese artwork, indoor zen gardens or koi aquariums. Asian architectural elements like tatami floors or paper wall room dividers are also common. This style can incorporate anything that gives a meditative feel. It was made for designing a calmer home. You can find some additional ideas for a zen home here.

Calm Home Water Wall Feature

Get the relaxing sound of a bubbling brook with water features in the home. Image: Bluworld

Water Features

Water features are also a great way to create a calm home. The trickling sound of the water is instantly soothing. A wonderful way to get this element in your home is a water wall, like the feature in the photo above. They’re a bit of an investment, but they give a ritzy feel and soothing vibe in the home. You can see some more indoor water feature ideas here.

If you can’t spring for a water wall, you might want to try more affordable tabletop water fountains. These usually have water running over rocks or through bamboo reeds. They create the same relaxing sound of running water in your home as larger features.

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Bring the Sun in This Winter With a Sunroom

Research reveals that sunlight increases serotonin, a chemical in your body that makes you happy and keeps you in a good mood. During the winter months, the cold weather makes it difficult to spend as much time outdoors. Sunrooms provide an opportunity to bring the outdoors inside during these months. If you’re thinking about designing a sunroom – or you have one that you’re not using –  here are some tips for creating a sunroom that you’ll truly enjoy.

Decide on your objective

Decide on objective

Scandinavian-style sunroom in Washington, DC. Image: Barnes Vanze Architects

Leigh Spicher, National Director of Design Studios for Ashton Woods, agrees that sunrooms can put you in a good mood. “Let’s just go ahead and call your sunroom your happy place, and natural light is perfect for so many different activities, from meditation to reading to planting,” she says. Or, it could be a place to listen to music or take naps. In any event, Spicher says you need to decide how you want to use the room before you choose the finishes like paint colors or flooring.

Apply these three principles

After deciding the sunroom’s objective, Spicher says says it’s important to apply these three basic design principles.


San Francisco sunroom. Image: Carrington Hill Designs

After deciding on the room’s objective, Spicher says says it’s important to apply these three basic design principles.

First, your sunroom needs balance, according to Spicher. “This doesn’t mean you need double windows on each side of the room, but the space should not have all the furnishings pushed to one side,” she explains. A fireplace can also add warmth when the temperature drops too low.


New York sunroom. Image: DeGraw & DeHaan Architects

Second, Spicher says the sunroom also needs rhythm.  “Choose a finish, color or texture and repeat it through your room,” she says. “I love the use of a natural material like brick or hardwood in a sunroom; an interesting pattern like herringbone, creates natural rhythm and a feel-good vibe in the room.”


St. Louis sunroom. Image: Chouteau Building Group

The third element of a good sunroom is harmony, which Spicher explains as different elements working together. “I love to blend different natural elements, like wood and stone,” she explains. Spicher recommends filling the room with various different elements that make you feel good. “Create your sunroom as a personalized space for you,” she says.

Materials and finishes


Nashville sunroom. Image: Connie Vernich Designs

According to Lori Wiles, founder of Lori Wiles Design, the sunroom is getting a lot of attention as a relaxed addition to a home. “We’re creating strong structural elements in natural finishes like stone walls, iron strapping and lights, and wood that extend the character of the house in a more casual application,” Wiles says. “It’s really a bridge between inside and out, with the comfort and security of inside and the freshness and relaxation of being outside.”

Luxury vinyl plan flooring is one option that Wiles recommends. “Realistic looking luxury vinyl plank flooring is allowing us to get a wood floor look without the installation problems of natural wood.” She says it’s also available in a variety of colors and can mimic different wood species.

Design for comfort


Radiant floor with bluestone pavers in Portland sunroom. Image: Whitten Architects

When furnishing your room, the right seating can make or break the space, according to Eric Gustafson, president of PureModern. “It’s best to find the right sized chairs for your space and try not to overdo it,” he says. “Sometimes simplicity is the way to go, a few comfortable chairs can add the perfect touch,” he adds.


Bronxville, NY sunroom. Image: Vincentsen-Blasi Architecture

Since the goal is to spend a lot of time in this room, Gustafson recommends choosing something that expresses your style and will create a retreat-like atmosphere. “The sky is the limit when choosing décor – you can go with a minimalistic look where you may only want to add a clock and some throw pillows, or you can get adventurous and add some wall art or a fireplace.”

Add greenery


Boston sunroom. Image: LDa Architecture & Interiors

Greenery can create a smooth transition from outside to inside, according to Gustafson. “Planters are a great way to accomplish this because you can choose many different styles to fit any look you are going for,” he says. “Not only do planters add greenery to your sunroom but they can also be a great piece of furniture to complement your decor.”

Consider lighting


Miami sunroom. Image: Rob Downey Photography

Lighting is another element that you need to consider. “You should decide whether you want to go with ceiling/wall fixtures or lamps,” Gustafson says. “Each type of lighting can bring a different vibe to your sunroom, but luckily there are many different options to choose from and finding the right look to compliment your decor is pretty easy.”

You don’t have to unplug

sunroom electronics

New York sunroom. Image: Douglas VanderHorn Architects

Don’t forget to plan for using electronic devices. “To make the sunroom most appealing, we’re using weather friendly electronics like a TV in a low glare location that can be seen from several angles,” Wiles says. “Speakers are easy to locate almost anywhere and the remote controls can be out of sight in a cabinet or storage ottoman.”

Do you have additional tips for bringing more sunlight into your home? Let us know in the comments.

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