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How to Make Sure Your Home Stays Energy Efficient this Summer

For many of us, summer has become synonymous with high energy bills. However, even if you’re one of those people who has to have their AC running at all times, there are things that you can do to cut down on energy costs. To that end, we’ve created the following guide. Below is a list of surprisingly simple tips that you can use to ensure that your home stays energy efficient this summer. Don’t go into the warmer months without it.

energy efficient

Make sure to have your HVAC system inspected seasonally. Image: Christian Delbert/Shutterstock

Optimize your HVAC

The first step that every homeowner should take toward making sure their home is energy efficient is to keep their HVAC system in good shape. The easiest way to do that is to make the effort to keep up with the HVAC maintenance schedule. While that’s truly a year-round effort, the summer months are all about two tasks. First, have an HVAC professional perform a seasonal check-up. Second, make sure you change the air filter regularly.

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During the inspection, the professional will look at the connections, voltage, lines, fins, pans, coils, refrigerant levels, blower system components and more. He or she will also lubricate moving parts, clean dirty components and calibrate the blower.

Do your part, too. Cleaning the filter ensures that dust and dirt don’t get trapped in the components of your HVAC unit. They can cause an unnecessary amount of wear and tear on the system.

After the inspection is over and new filters are in place, you can further optimize your HVAC system by setting the thermostat for the season. While it may be tempting to adjust the temperature in accordance with the weather, don’t. Doing so actually expends more energy and can raise your cooling bills. Instead, experts recommend setting the system at a manageable temperature each season and then leaving it alone.

seal

Seal up your attic and windows. Image: onzon/Shutterstock

Seal up your home

You’re probably used to hearing about sealing up cracks and air leaks in your home in conjunction with advice on how to keep your home warmer during the winter months. While this maneuver will help keep warm air inside your home, it will also help keep the cool air where it belongs. The reality is, if all the cool air is escaping your home, your HVAC system has to work that much harder. If the cool air stays put, however, your system will be able to shut off sooner, saving you on energy costs.

Ideally, a professional will help you detect the areas where air is leaking from your home. However, if you don’t want to make that level of a commitment just yet, you can do some of this work yourself. Simply make sure that your attic is properly insulated and use caulk or weatherstripping to create a proper seal on all your doors and windows.

fan

Put your ceiling fan to work. Image: JR-stock/Shutterstock

Fan yourself

Though it may seem simple, one of the easiest ways to keep yourself cool in the summer is to invest in a high-quality ceiling fan. While ceiling fans don’t directly cool the air, they work well with your AC by helping to circulate the cool air faster. According to the Department of Energy, using ceiling fans allows you to set your thermostat up to four degrees higher, which will help save money.

The key to helping a ceiling fan do its job is to pay attention to the direction that the air is flowing. Most fans have both a “clockwise” and “counterclockwise” setting. In the summertime, you want the blades on your fan to run counterclockwise. That way, they push the cool air back down towards you. The trick for determining if the fan is set properly is simply to stand under the fan while it’s on and see if you feel a breeze. If you do, it’s set correctly. If not, all you need to do is get a ladder and switch the setting.

oven

Limit the use of heat-generating appliances like the oven. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Watch out for heat-generating appliances and lighting

Did you know that only 10 to 15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lightbulbs consume is used to create light? The remainder is turned into heat. Fortunately, you can combat these percentages by using newer, energy efficient lightbulbs, which run cooler. Additionally, turning off any lights that you aren’t using helps to stop the creation of any excess heat.

Like lighting, the electronics in your home can also create excess heat energy. Appliances like your washing machine, dishwasher and oven are the biggest culprits. You can give yourself a leg up by investing in certified, energy efficient models of these products. However, the best way to save on energy is to avoid using these appliances on hotter days. Wait until it cools down a little to do that laundry and look into alternative cooking methods like grilling.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Working?
Keeping Cool: How to Choose the Right A/C Unit
HVAC Basics: What’s a Good SEER Rating? 
Building Your Energy-Efficient Dream Home
Clever Ways to Hide an Ugly HVAC Unit

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These Are The 4 Color Rules That Every Interior Design Fan Needs To Know

Color is often the most difficult part of a room for interior design fans to get right. That’s because colors are fickle. There are so many shades to choose from and they need to be put together in the right proportions. Otherwise, they won’t work together in harmony. Luckily, there are a few color rules that you can use to make sure your colors look balanced every time. We’ve listed them below. Read them over to master color in interior design once and for all.

color rules

The 60-30-10 rule helps rooms feel balanced and visually interesting. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

The 60-30-10 rule

The 60-30-10 rule is any interior design fan’s best friend. No matter what your personal aesthetic may be or what you want your room to look like, you can use this rule to help make sure that your color palette stays balanced. In this setup, you’ll use three colors. 60, 30 and 10 refer to the percentages of your design that each will make up.

Here’s how it works: first, you’ll choose one shade to be your dominant shade and take up approximately 60 percent of the room. Usually, this will be a neutral or some type of subdued hue that can take up a lot of space without feeling overwhelming. Next will be your secondary color, which is typically a bit bolder and takes up about 30 percent of the space. Finally, your accent color is your boldest shade and should make up the remaining 10 percent.

Take the photo above, for example. In this case, greige is the dominant color. You can see it on the walls and the sofa. Then, black is the secondary color. It’s on the bookshelf, side table, pillows and dining chair and in the rug. Finally, coral is the accent shade. That can be seen in the throw pillows and potted plants.

warm color rule

Using warm or cool colors will set the tone for your space. Image: Marina_D/Shutterstock

Warm vs. cool colors

The phrase “warm vs. cool colors” refers to where specific shades fall on the color wheel. Traditionally, shades like red, orange and yellow are thought of as warm colors because they are more vibrant. However, neutrals like brown and tan are also included in the mix. On the other side of the spectrum are the cool colors, or blue, green and purple, as well as gray.

The choice of warm or cool colors will affect the energy of the space. Since warm colors tend to bring an upbeat and welcoming feel to a room, they’re best in entertaining spaces. Think about using these shades in your dining room or kitchen. Cool colors, on the other hand, are more subdued. They work best in bedrooms and office spaces, where a calming energy is appreciated.

complementary color rule

Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

The complementary color scheme

Of all the color rules that interior designers use, the complementary color scheme is often thought of as the simplest. That’s because this color scheme only involves two shades. In particular, it uses two shades that are sitting directly opposite each other on the color wheel, meaning you get combinations like blue and orange, yellow and purple or red and green.

As you can see from the photo above, these color pairings are extremely high contrast, which means that — while they undoubtedly bring a strong energy into the space — they’re ultimately best used in small doses. You should think of them as your accent colors and use plenty of neutrals to balance them out and provide a place for the eye to rest.

analogous color rule

Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

The analogous color scheme

If you have trouble navigating the color wheel, an analogous color scheme might be for you. For this one, all you have to do is pick a central color, then also use the colors on either side of it. Here, two colors will be primary colors and the third will be a mix of the two. For example, red, orange and yellow or red, purple and blue.

Since you’re using three colors in this one, proportion will come in handy to make sure the space feels balanced. You may want to incorporate the 60-30-10 rule again to keep your proportions in check. And remember, you can always use different shades of the same color as another way to create visual variety.

Interestingly, if you’re not a big fan of vibrant hues, you can also do an analogous color scheme using neutrals. Typically, this is referred to as a monochromatic color scheme. Here, all you need to do is mix black, white and gray together to create a sleek, modern look.

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These Are 5 Easy Home Maintenance Tasks That Will Save You Money

These days, everyone is looking to save money wherever they can. However, if you look around your house, it’s likely that there are home maintenance tasks that you’ve been putting off fixing and, in the meantime, are costing you your hard-earned cash. This post is all about how to tackle those issues once and for all. Read on below to see five easy, money-saving home maintenance tasks. If you take care of each one, it will go a long way towards putting money back in your pocket.

home maintenance tasks

Add weatherstripping to insulate doors and windows. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Add weatherstripping

Especially in the winter months, it’s easy to tell if your doors and windows are letting in drafts of cold air from the outside. Though a little air may not seem like a huge deal, it’s making extra work for your heating system. Fortunately, weatherstripping provides a relatively easy fix for this issue. In just a few minutes, you should be able to seal your home up tight.

The first step to this process is choosing the right weatherstripping. Believe it or not, there are multiple kinds to choose from and each has its ideal purpose. Felt, for example, is the easiest type to install but has a habit of letting air through. Reinforced vinyl, on the other hand, is better at stopping air flow, but is very visible.  Check out this guide to find the material that best suits your needs.

Luckily, the installation of this product is fairly simple. Most materials come with self-adhesive versions that can be found in your local home improvement store. The key here is making sure that you measure both your doors and windows, as well as the weatherstripping product, at least twice before you cut it in order to ensure an accurate length.

hvac

Regularly change your HVAC filters. Image: Jovana Veljkovic/Shutterstock

Change HVAC filters

Chances are, even if you change your HVAC filter every once and a while, you’re still not tending to it often enough. Conventional wisdom states that these filters need to be changed every 90 days in order to keep your system from having to work harder than it should. However, keep in mind, that timeframe shifts to every 60 days if you have a cat or dog at home.

Luckily, changing one of these filters is super easy. Start by turning off your HVAC unit. Then, locate the filter and remove the access panels. Simply take the old filter out and replace it with the new one, paying close attention to any arrows to ensure that the filter goes in right-side up. Then, put the access panel back in its place and you’re free to turn the unit back on.

hot water heater

Flushing your hot water heater now could prevent a big catastrophe later. Image: ArchiVIZ/Shutterstock

Flush your hot water heater

Flushing your hot water heater is a crucial task that should become part of your regular home maintenance routine. Doing so at least once a year helps to ensure the greatest supply of hot water to your home, and also prevents sediment from corroding the water heater’s components. Unfortunately for many, that corrosion leads to breakage that can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Begin the process by turning off the thermostat to your hot water heater. Follow that up by turning off the gas to it, as well as the hot water supply. (If your hot water heater is electric, you’ll also want to unplug it at this time.) Then, turn on the tap in a sink or bathtub and let it run through this entire process. This will help prevent a vacuum from forming in the lines while you’re draining the hot water tank.

When you’re ready, connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot on your hot water heater. Turn on the spigot and allow any water to drain out into a bucket. When the water runs clear and free of sediment, flush the hot water heater by turning on the cold water spigot and allowing the water to run until it’s free of sediment. Finally, turn off the drainage spigot, disconnect the hose and turn everything back on.

faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet can make a big impact on your water bill. Image: Ant Clausen/Shutterstock

Fix leaky faucets

In addition to being unpleasant to hear all the time, that faucet in your house that continually leaks is costing you money. Estimates suggest that a leaky faucet can end up costing you between $60 and $200 per year, depending on the severity of the leak.

To take care of this problem, start by shutting off the water underneath the sink and closing the drain. Then, remove the decorative cap on your faucet’s handle, as well as the handle screw. Pull off the handle and use a crescent wrench to unscrew the packing nut. After unscrewing the stem, remove and replace the seat washer held in place by a brass screw. Finally, pop the stem out of the packing nut and replace the O-ring, which is likely the cause of the leak. After you’re done, reassemble the faucet.

gutters

Your gutters should be cleaned at the beginning of each new season. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Clean your gutters

Clogged gutters may not seem like a huge deal at first but, left alone, buildup such as leaves and branches can cause water to pool and leaks to form in the fascia of the house. Over time, this can lead to severe water damage to your home’s structure, which is undeniably costly.

Cleaning out your gutters is a hands-on task. Begin by removing any visible twigs, leaves and debris. Then, take a garden hose and flush away any remaining dirt. If the water doesn’t drain out of your downspouts, there’s likely a clog. At that point, you’ll need to remove the clog with a plumber’s snake.

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How to Create the Perfect Gallery Grid in Your Home

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When an old interior design trend gets a makeover, it’s like a breath of fresh air. The gallery grid, a new take on the gallery wall, is the latest. Keep reading to learn all about this twist on a classic. See why it works so well and how to recreate the look on your own. Trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss out on this one.

gallery grid

A gallery grid is a new take on the gallery wall. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

What is a gallery grid?

In interior design, all trends are cyclical. The gallery grid is no different. With this comeback, we see a more refined version of the gallery wall. While the traditional gallery wall was all about eclectic curation and placement, the gallery grid offers a more tailored take on displaying wall art.

Gallery grids are all about structure. While the display can involve any type of artwork, the way in which you hang them is key. Gallery grids can be vertical or horizontal and involve two rows or ten. But they must feature evenly-hung prints that come together to form either a square or a rectangle.

structure

This type of gallery wall is a bit more structured. Image: Mtlapcevic/Shutterstock

Why this look works

Standard gallery walls are great, especially if you like the eclectic look, but they can get a little bit unruly. Before you know it, a whole wall is covered in a hodge-podge of different artworks that have very little – if anything – tying them together. Believe it or not, having to take in all that stimuli is actually overwhelming to us, psychologically.

It all has to do with the way in which our brains process information. According to Gestalt Psychology, though our eyes take in separate pieces of information, our brains boil all of it down into a singular, simpler and recognizable pattern. With a traditional gallery wall, this may be impossible. A gallery grid, however, makes it easy.

In fact, gallery grids are based on repeating patterns. For one thing, no matter how many pieces of artwork are used, it’s always an even number. There’s also a coordinating color scheme or topic that brings the individual pieces of artwork together. Pattern recognition is very easy with these arrangements, which is why we tend to see them as more aesthetically pleasing.

structure

This type of gallery wall is a bit more structured. Image: Mtlapcevic/Shutterstock

How to pull off your own gallery grid

Now that you know what this trend is and why it works, the next step is learning how to put one of your own together. Though this process is fairly simple, we have a few tips that you can keep in mind to help ensure that your gallery grid comes out looking great every time.

Find a theme

The first step in designing a gallery grid is selecting the different pieces of artwork that you intend to use. Rather than just choosing any piece you like, you’re going to want to build this arrangement around a theme. You can go with a topical or color-driven theme, but you must have some sort of common thread to tie the look together.

Work in even numbers

Like we said above, your gallery wall can be as big or as small as your heart desires. It can have as many rows and columns as you’d like. However, if there’s one rule that you absolutely must follow, it’s that your grid must contain an even number of artworks. It will not work otherwise.

Measure, measure, measure

When putting up a gallery grid, measuring is the secret to success. Not only does it need to include an even number of pieces, but each of those pieces should be evenly spaced. Even spacing will ensure greater symmetry and keep the finished product looking polished. In this case, don’t eyeball it, break out your tape measure.

What do you think of the gallery grid trend? Let  us know in the comments.

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Bored With Your Interiors? Here Are 4 Inexpensive Ways To Get Out Of Your Interior Design Rut

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, despite our best intentions of creating a visually interesting room, we get stuck in an interior design rut. When this happens, there’s no other choice than to shake things up and do your best to create a new look. Luckily, this process doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. We’ve brought you four inexpensive ways to breathe new life into your interiors. Read on below to see how you can make it happen.

interior design rut

Try rearranging the furniture. Image: Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Rearrange your rooms

It may sound simple, but sometimes all you have to do to create a new look is rearrange your existing furniture and accessories. To start, stick with one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed, but consider anything in that room fair game for a change. Rework the layout of the furniture. Put your accessories in different spots. Switch up the artwork on the walls.

The key to making this work is keeping an open mind. Sometimes a new layout can feel so strange and out of place that it can be tempting to immediately set your layout back to the way it was before. We’d advise you to wait at least a few days before giving into this urge. It may take a few days to get used to your new setup, but you’ll likely find that you’re glad you waited it out.

edit

Edit out any unnecessary clutter. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Practice editing

In interior design, sometimes less is more. We’ve already talked about why every room needs to include some negative space and now is the perfect time to make good on that resolution. Think about giving the room a new look by editing out some of the unnecessary clutter, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to hang onto lots of odds and ends.

To do this, go around the room and pick up any items that you think might be considered clutter, one at a time. Then, ask yourself: What purpose is this serving in the room? If you don’t have an easy answer for the item, it might be time to consider donating the piece or tossing it out if it’s in bad shape. In the end, you should have a cleaner-looking, streamlined version of the space.

surfaces

Stylize your surfaces to help the room look finished and purposeful. Image: Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Style your surfaces

Stylizing your surfaces is a great way to freshen up the look of a room. After all, it’s one trick interior designers use to really finish off the space and to make a design look purposeful. If you have bare tables and shelves hanging around your home, you can use them to bring your interiors to the next level. Best of all, depending on what decor items and accessories you have laying around the house, you might not need to spend any money to make this happen.

This maneuver is all about creating groupings. When in doubt, follow the rule of three. Odd-numbered groupings create more visual interest than even-numbered groupings. In particular, three seems to be the ideal number for a grouping as opposed to one, five or even seven because a single item might feel too simple while the latter two run the risk of appearing overly cluttered.

When selecting items to go in your grouping, you want to ensure that they’re different enough to create visual interest while still having a common thread to tie them together. Take the picture above, for instance. While all the accessories have varying shapes, they have a unifying monochromatic color scheme.

accessories

When in doubt, switch out your accessories. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Swap out your accessories

This last one might cost you a little, but when you’re really in an interior design rut, swapping out accessories is a surefire way to breathe new life into the space. Best of all, even though a few throw pillows and some wall art are an expense, they cost pennies on the dollar compared to redoing the room from top to bottom. When you think about it, you’re still being thrifty.

The key here is to concentrate on bringing accessories into the space that will really make an impact. Choose ones that come in a bold accent color or bring in a dose of pattern. Of course, it almost goes without saying that you also want these new accessories to be different from your old ones in order to create a fresh look.

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4 Secrets To Successfully Decorating a Tiny House And Making It Work For You

tiny house

Here’s a quick guide to decorating a tiny house. Image: Calvin Hanson Creative

Congratulations, you’ve finally taken the leap and bought a tiny home! Now all that’s left to do is decorate it. Decorating a tiny house is not difficult. However, there are a few unique considerations to keep in mind.

We’ve laid them out below. Read them over to learn how to create a tiny home that’s equally functional and aesthetically pleasing.

function

Make the room’s function clear. Image: Sol Haus Design

Put function first

In a tiny home, there’s so little space to work with that it’s especially easy for your design to become muddled. Having too many items in that small amount of square footage can result in things getting cluttered fast. There’s a risk of losing your design in the midst of it all. With that in mind, you need to take extra steps to ensure your intent stays clear. You can do that by putting function first in your design.

When we say “put function first,” we mean “let furniture carry the room.” While every space needs aesthetic touches, those should take a back seat to essential items like a sofa, table or bed frame. Get those in place first. In an ideal world, the purpose of each distinct functional area of your home will be clear with just a glance.

For an example of what we mean, look at the picture above. Notice how it’s very pared down. Yet, thanks to the furniture and directional visual cues, you can clearly tell that there’s meant to be a work area that’s separate from the main living space.

storage

Plan out your storage even when it seems unconventional. Image: Tiny Digs

Get creative with storage

The biggest challenge when it comes to setting up a tiny home is finding enough storage. While you undoubtedly decluttered before moving in, there will likely be many things leftover for which you need to find a home. While standard storage options like closets and cabinets will undoubtedly be necessary, you’re going to need to get a little creative and include storage options in unexpected places.

To do this, go over every inch of your tiny house with storage in mind. Challenge yourself to think of a way to add storage everywhere, whether it’s adding under-mount storage to an existing piece of furniture or bringing in more shelving. You don’t have to utilize all your ideas but, odds are, you’ll be glad for any added functionality.

double-duty

Every piece should add functional and aesthetic value. Image: Shelsi Lindquist Photography

Choose items that do double-duty

Since you only have a limited number of items to work with in a tiny house, you need to choose them carefully. Here, your focus should be on what kind of value they add to the space. Is it functional value? Is it aesthetic value? Or is it both? Ideally, when you’re designing a tiny house, each piece that you bring into your home will offer both.

As for how to pull this off, it’s all about going bold with style. Choose items that have bold colors, patterns and textures.

decor

Leave a little room for decor. Image: New Frontier Tiny Homes

Don’t forget accessories

Lastly, we know that when you’re living in a tiny house, you can spend so much time figuring out how to make the space work for you that you completely forget about the traditional elements of design. However, we’re here to remind you that they’re important – and accessories can help. After all, that’s how you infuse your personality into the space and make it feel like home.

Don’t be afraid to add a design element that solely adds aesthetic value to the space. Your accesorizing decor could consist of any of the following:

  • Area rugs
  • Throw pillows and blankets
  • Wall art and mirrors
  • Decorative bowls and trays
  • Coffee table books
  • Candles
  • Picture frames
  • Flowers and vases

The post 4 Secrets To Successfully Decorating a Tiny House And Making It Work For You appeared first on Freshome.com.

Follow These 4 Tips To Successfully Move During Winter (And Make It As Pain-Free As Possible)

Making a move during winter isn’t exactly the most pleasant task, but sometimes it’s one that’s unavoidable.  No matter why you’re moving, it can be done. All it takes is a little extra planning and forethought.

With that in mind, we’ve brought you some of our best tips for how to move during winter. Read them over as you prepare for your big day. If you follow these tips, you should be able to complete your move without the weather getting in your way.

move during winter

Make a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Image: John Maniscalco Architecture

Plan around the weather

If you live in a seasonal climate, you know that winter storms can cause life to come to a grinding halt. The last thing that anyone wants is to have their already-stressful move delayed by inclement weather. However, unfortunately, it’s a distinct possibility when you move during winter. You need to have a plan in place so that you know what to do if it starts to snow.

If you’re hiring movers – which we highly recommend because heavy boxes and icy walkways are not a good mix – be sure to ask them what their procedures and policies are in case of a weather delay. If you’re moving on your own, have a backup moving day in mind in case your first one doesn’t work out. In either case, be sure to start earlier in the day since winter days are shorter and offer much less sunlight.

pack

Take extra care when packing to protect your belongings from the cold. Image: Maple & Gray

Pack for cooler temperatures

In the summer months, packing for a move is as simple as placing your items in boxes with a little bit of padding and taping them shut. In the winter, however, the same packing process gets a little bit more complicated. You need to prepare for your items to be sitting out in cooler temperatures for hours on end and you need to contend with the possibility of wet weather.

Glass and porcelain items can break in the cold. Make sure you surround them with extra packing materials in order to keep them properly insulated. Electronics are particularly sensitive, as well. If possible, try to move them in their original packaging as those were made to handle transport. Then, once you get to your new home, move them in first to limit their time in the cold.

move during winter

Clear any pathways to the house for easy access. Image: Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Prepare the outside of the house

Before the movers arrive, prepare the exterior of your home to ensure that they can access everything safely and easily. If it’s snowed recently, be sure to shovel your driveway, as well as the pathways to and from the house. If it’s been cold and icy, you may also want to put down some salt or kitty litter to reduce the risk of a fall.

Most importantly, don’t forget to do the same for your new house, too. You don’t want to slow down the moving process by having the movers arrive with your belongings only to be unable to access the house. An hour or so before they’re ready to leave, send someone over to your new property to get it ready for the unloading.

protect

Protect your floors from people tracking in ice and snow. Image: Christoff and Sons Floor Covering Inc.

Protect the inside of the house

Though you’ll want to clean your new home as soon as you move in, there’s no reason to make the job harder for yourself by allowing your movers to track in mud, ice and snow. In this case, asking people to remove their shoes before entering your home is unrealistic. Your only other option is to take measures to protect the inside of your home.

Your best bet is to designate one room of your home as a drop-off area and disperse your belongings to the appropriate spots after everything has been unloaded. You can then protect the floor of the drop-off room with a disposable tarp. Just be sure to secure the edges to the floor with tape so that there aren’t any tripping accidents.

A move during winter requires some extra planning, but with these tips you can easily pull it off.

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How to Get Comfortable in a New Home and Make It Feel Like Your Own

Getting comfortable in a new home is one of the hardest parts of moving. After the movers pick up and leave, it’s up to you to find a way to make your new property feel like home. This can be a daunting task. Fortunately for you, we’ve laid out four things that can help you start feeling at home in your new space. Keep reading to see which suggestions will work best for you.

new home

Splash some paint on the walls to give the room a whole new feel. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Do some repainting

If you’re looking to make a big impact, there’s no better way to start feeling comfortable in a new home than by painting. Paint is one of interior design’s best tools because it can totally change the look and feel of a space, yet it only costs pennies on the dollar. It will allow you to do away with the previous owner’s personal tastes and help you put your own stamp on the place.

If you’re going to go this route, we suggest painting first, before you even move in. That way, you won’t have to worry about dripping paint on the furniture or on your belongings. Plus, by the time you’re ready to officially move in, you’ll already be a long way towards making the place space feel like your own.

decor

Let your decor help you feel at home. Image: Resource Lifestyles

Unpack your decor

When most people unpack after a move, they have a tendency to want to set-up the bare essentials first and leave the rest for later. However, we advise against that route. Put simply, your decor is the thing that does away with that “just moved in” vibe and starts to make a space feel like home.

Try to focus on unpacking room-by-room instead. Once you have the furniture set up, take the time to find new places to put all your accessories and decor items. Hang that wall art and spread out an area rug. Take the time to stylize any available surfaces. When you’re done, the room will look and feel as though you’ve been living there for a while.

thermostat

Get a programmable thermostat to make sure the temperature in your home is always perfect. Image: Honeywell Home

Get a programmable thermostat

There’s nothing worse than finding out that your new home is like a sweatbox during the day and drafty at night. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to help you get comfortable no matter how hot or cold your new home may be. It all has to do with the thermostat. With a programmable thermostat – or a smart thermostat, if you want to get in on the smart home trend – you can make sure that the temperature in your home is always to your liking.

These days, programmable thermostats give you more control than they have in the past, allowing you to feel at home in your home faster. If you opt for one that has home zoning capabilities, for example, it will allow you to set different areas of the house to their own temperatures. This could allow each family member to sleep in comfort. It can also help you to save on heating and cooling by allowing you to set less frequently used areas of the home at an alternative setting from your main living space.

organization

Take the time to set up your organizational systems. Image: Neat Method San Diego

Set up your organizational systems

Every home needs a few organizational systems to keep it up and running. The faster you get these setup, the faster you can start to get in a routine at your new house. That’s why we recommend looking into them as soon as possible when you move in. You’ll be surprised how much easier life becomes when your belongings are properly organized.

As far as what you should organize in a system like the one above, everyone has different needs. For some people, having a dedicated closet organization system makes it easier for them to get ready in the morning. For others, having an organized mudroom helps them get out the door faster. Still, others find they need to create a separate study area for the kids.

Start this process by thinking about what areas of life are currently the most chaotic for you and your family. Then, brainstorm different ways in which adding an organizational system into the mix will help to streamline the process. If you need ideas, check out our organizational content for design inspiration.

Do you have any other tips for making a new house feel like home? Let us know in the comments.

The post How to Get Comfortable in a New Home and Make It Feel Like Your Own appeared first on Freshome.com.

4 Ways to Ensure a Large Room Doesn’t End up Feeling Too Stark

Normally at Freshome, we spend a lot of time talking about how to design around small spaces. However, the reality is that those with the opposite problem also deserve our time and attention. Today, we’re revealing our best tricks for how to design a large room. Read on to learn how to put together an expansive space without it feeling too stark.

large room

Break the room up into distinct functional areas. Image: Lindye Galloway Interiors

Visually divide the space

Here’s one of the biggest secrets in dealing with expansive spaces: You can break the space up however you choose. In this case, each large room in your home doesn’t have to have one, singular purpose. Instead, you can divide the space up into distinctly different areas in order to increase functionality while using up square footage at the same time.

Take the photo above as an example. Yes, the main purpose of the room is to serve as a bedroom. However, if the room was just a bed and some dresser drawers, it would be swimming in empty space. That’s why the owner included two additional seating areas. The room still offers plenty of room to sleep, yet you now also have a place to curl up with a good book or your morning coffee.

If you decide to go this route, you’ll design the room the same way that you would an open concept space. Go in with a plan of attack for what purpose you want each of the distinct areas to serve. Then, include visual clues like area rugs, lighting fixtures and designated pathways to help signify to the viewer that each section of the room has its own unique purpose.

rug

Use a rug to ground the room. Image: Blue Ocean Design

Anchor the room with a rug

If you’re looking to visually tie a large room together, there’s no better way to do so than with a great area rug. An area rug will help ground a seating area, dining table or bedframe. It helps by making the placement of the furniture look purposeful rather than like all of your pieces are just floating out in space.

When buying an area rug, the correct sizing is key. In general, you can follow these guidelines:

  • If you’re choosing a full room rug, remember to leave room for a border of flooring around all sides. 18 inches is considered the standard border measurement.
  • If your rug will be grounding a seating areameasure the length and width of the seating area in its current layout and buy the next size up.
  • If the rug is meant to highlight a piece of furniture like a dining table, make sure it’s big enough to extend beyond the piece with room on all sides. For a dining table, 24 inches is standard. However, it should be less if you’re working with a smaller piece like a coffee table.

That said, the placement of your furniture is also important. When designing a large space, it can be tempting to place all of your furniture along the walls. However, doing so can leave an uncomfortable amount of dead space in the middle of the room. Instead, think about keeping your furniture – and by extension, area rug – centralized. At that point, any extra square footage will become a useful walkway.

scale

Choose furniture that fits the scale of the room. Image: Mary Cook

Pay attention to scale

Another thing to think about is the scale of the items, and especially the furniture, that you put in the room. In interior design parlance, scale and proportion refer to how well an item’s size corresponds to the room itself. Here, it stands to reason that if you have to fill a larger room, you’d want to also have larger furniture to go with it.

You’ll want to focus on finding furniture that has a heavier visual weight. In general, upholstered items often look heavier than those without cushions. Furniture that sits low to the ground appears heavier than items on tapered legs. Keep in mind, this principle extends beyond furniture, too. You’ll also want to find lighting fixtures and wall art, for example, that are large enough to work within the space.

multiple

When in doubt, think in multiples. Image: JCD Custom Home Design

Think in multiples

The last tip we have to offer for larger rooms is to not be afraid to double up on furniture and accessories in order to take up more space. It may seem strange at first to try and wrap your head around the idea of having two couches and two ottomans, but as you can see from the picture above, you can use multiples to create a chic look.

If you decide to go this route, it’s important to give the large room a sense of balance. Not only has balance been shown to be psychologically pleasing, but it will also help your design to feel more cohesive. Focus on using your doubled design elements to create near mirror images.

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Everything You Need to Know About Using Textiles in Interior Design

Too often in interior design, textiles are seen as an afterthought. People view them as a finishing touch rather than a crucial component of the design as a whole. In reality, however, you can’t design a room without them.

That’s why we’ve dedicated this piece to textiles. Read on to learn how they contribute to a room and how to use them in the right way. We hope you gain a new appreciation for your home’s fabrics.

what

The term “textile” refers to anything in the room woven or made of fabric. Image: DHD Architecture and Interior Design

What are textiles?

In interior design, the term “textile” refers to any product that’s woven or made of fabric. It may sound simple, but these pieces are used in a variety of applications throughout any room. You can see them in design elements, such as:

why

Textiles help set the mood for the space. Image: Relativity Textiles

Why textiles matter

Textiles go a long way toward helping set the mood of a space. Imagine how different it would feel to stand in a bedroom that’s draped in silk and velvet than a living area that’s mainly made up of bamboo and cotton. When buying your textiles, you should consider the type of mood that you want to portray in each space and choose your fabrics accordingly.

Textiles also work to unify the room and help bring the space together. This is where your color palette comes into play. Once you have one in mind, you can take one or two of the colors – usually your secondary and accent shades – and use them in various textiles throughout the room.

Take the photo above as an example. Here, the faux-fur gives the room a glamorous and feminine feel. Since it’s white, it ties in with the walls, the bedding, and the furniture to help the room feel cohesive. Meanwhile, the patterned throw pillow in the center of the bed adds a pop of contrast to keep the space from feeling too boring and repetitive. Notice that the pattern on the pillow has a little dark gray in it. This ensures that the pillow still ties in with the rest of the room.

textiles

Follow these tips on using textiles in your interior design. Image: Laura U, Inc.

How to use textiles

Now that you know what textiles are and why they’re so important to your design, the next step is to learn how to use them correctly. Below is a list of tips to help get you started.

Use them as inspiration

Textiles may seem like accessories or the last design elements to purchase but they’re actually the opposite. They can serve as the inspiration for the space, providing a color palette upon which to build the room. When you’re not sure where to start with a room, turn to a rug, accent chair or even a throw pillow to give you a sense of direction.

Mix patterns, not colors

Once you have your color palette in place, stick to it. Using too many colors in a room can make it feel hectic and confusing. That said, it doesn’t mean your room has to be boring. You can still add plenty of visual interest to the space by mixing patterns. Make an effort to use multiple patterns  — and solids — that fall within the same palette.

Layer textures

Another way to add visual interest to the space is by using textiles that come in a variety of textures. Remember, in this case, texture refers to the way in which the fabric looks like it feels. Try mixing and matching different textures throughout the room or even layering them together in order to create a sense of contrast.

Let us know what textiles inspire you and how you incorporate them into your designs.

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