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Where to Spend and Save in your Living Room

Our living rooms are places we retreat to after a long day — a place to relax and unwind in, watch t.v. and maybe eat dinner. So it makes sense we want them to feel as special and comfy as possible.

However, if, like many of us, you’re on a budget, you’ll want to know where to put your hard-earned cash and where to be thrifty. Here are some suggestions:

Spend on: Quality Sofas

For most of us, a sofa is our key living room purchase and not worth scrimping on, the experts say.

A well-made sofa will last for years and can be recovered when you get bored of it. Cheap furniture is a false economy as you’ll be replacing it more often than not.

Also, don’t forget that a sofa’s main purpose is comfort – no one wants to sit on an uncomfortable sofa. More expensive sofas often have jointed hardwood frames, built to withstand heavy loads. Cheaper sofas may have plastic or softer pine frames. Pricier sofas will also have coil springs or serpentine (zig-zag) springs, for that “sitting on air” feeling.

It really isn’t worth saving money if a too small, too big or awkwardly shaped sofa ruins those cozy evenings spent curled up.

Save on: A Chic Coffee Table

Coffee tables are a staple piece of furniture in any living room, but definitely a place where you can save money. Cheaper tables or good replicas can be styled well with books, plants or other personal items.

Spend on: Beautiful Flooring

Flooring has one of the biggest impacts on your living room’s look, so it’s worth investing in getting it right. Flooring is often a big expense, and can be a big area to cover, plus it can be inconvenient moving furniture, so you don’t want to be changing flooring frequently.

Whether you go for a classic hardwood floor or carpet, choose flooring that is good quality, easy to clean and will stand the test of time.

If you have original hardwood floors, the same rules apply: spend on having them sanded, repaired and refinished by a professional, if you can afford it, for a finish you truly love.

Save on: Rugs

Once good rugs were investment buys that cost a fortune — and anything other than pure wool was regarded as synthetic and nasty.

Today, it’s far easier to find stylish designs that look more expensive than they are. With a little searching, you can find amazing, cheap rugs that come in a variety of sizes.

Spend on: Quality Lighting

Quality lighting is well worth investing in especially if you have high ceilings.

Lights are real standout features in a living room. If lighting looks expensive, it makes you feel the other items in the room are as well.

Spend money on the basics as well as the fixtures — ask an electrician to build in wall lights to avoid trailing wires. And plan a living room design that creates soft pools of light for a more relaxing evening ambience

.Save on: Cushions and Throws

Cushions and throws swiftly turn a plain room into a stylish, comfy retreat, but you don’t need to spend a fortune nowadays.

Plus keeping it budget friendly means you can things often and as you need, say if you’re feeling a different color for different seasons.

Spend on: Statement Piece

Living rooms are where we relax, but they’re also the places where we typically express our personality. Spend on something you love rather than wasting money on something you can easily replace. Buy an investment piece that has longevity. A unique piece can add color and stop things from feeling bland.

Save on: Eye-Catching Art

You don’t need to break the bank buying pricey limited editions or original paintings. You can find abstract prints online that don’t cost as much and once framed — look great.

Houzz | Cheryl Freedman | 2/19/22

Sherwin Williams 2022 Color of the Year

With Q4 of 2021 almost upon us, we’ve entered the heart of 2022 Color of the Year season. In a typical year we might see paint brands offer up a relative rainbow of shades, spanning from subtly intriguing neutrals to maximalist hues, each offering its own explanation of the aesthetic zeitgeist.

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But 2021 is no typical year. As a result there’s been quite the convergence around neutral-inflected shades of green for brands looking to define the palette of the coming year. From Behr’s Breezeway to PPG’s Olive Sprig and even Glidden’s Avocado, there seems to be consensus around the idea of rebirth as we head into 2022.

Sherwin-Williams, a brand whose annual selection carries weight in the industry, has now joined that chorus. For its Color of the Year, the company has chosen Evergreen Fog, a shade of gray-green that Sue Wadden, in-house director of color, believes symbolizes “growth, rebirth, and joy.” That marks a major departure from the cocoon-like qualities of Urbane Bronze, Sherwin Williams’s 2021 choice.

A member of the Method palette, which was unveiled last month as part of the brand’s 2022 Colormix Forecast, Evergreen Fog fits within a broader dialogue about organic modernism that began with Frank Lloyd Wright, continued through the midcentury period, and remains relevant in the present. Fittingly, Wadden sees this grayish-green as possessing a certain nostalgia that can be tied back to “the ephemera from midcentury styling,” with bold-but-not-blinding ’70s interiors as a point of reference.

At the same time, the selection of Evergreen Fog for 2022 Color of the Year speaks to the shade’s ability to mesh with current trends, including cottagecore and farmhouse style. As a “universally accepted, super-versatile” color, it also squares nicely with the broader movement toward more color on walls, cabinets, and front doors.

As for just how exactly the entire world of paint landed on green for 2022, Wadden has some ideas.

“From a color psychology standpoint, [green] is a color of nature and revitalization, new beginnings and growth,” she says. “As we emerge into whatever this new space is, green is emblematic of that newness.”

That newness involves rethinking how commercial spaces look and feel. With mindfulness and wellness now a much greater consideration in interior design, Evergreen Fog is poised to support environments where people will actually want to spend their time (and/or money).

“Whether it’s in a health care environment or a workspace, if you can find ways to bring those natural elements, like plants, green space, or the color green, I think the psychological association within those commercial environments is just much better,” Wadden posits.

So if every space seems to be sporting a subdued shade of green next year, know that there’s some sound thinking and legitimate seals of approval behind them. At the very least it’s a welcome and refreshing break from the neutrals of old as we (hopefully) move toward a brighter future.

ADPro | By Tim Nelson September 21, 2021

Hire a Pro or DIY – that is the question!

When it comes to maintenance and repairs, professional labor can be one of the more costly portions of a homeowner’s budget. While many people opt to save cash by doing work themselves, not everyone possesses the skills necessary to fix their own homes (even with the help of online instructional videos). Attempting a DIY project without careful preparation and a complete knowledge of the task could result in expenses that far exceed the cost of a contractor.

Even if you have the experience and know-how, it’s important to consider the time, materials, tools and permits required for your home improvement project. Here’s how to know which projects you can tackle yourself, and which you should probably leave to the experts.

1. Hanging wallpaper.

The verdict: Hire a pro.

The challenge of hanging wallpaper is keeping it straight and matching up the patterns correctly. Sometimes bubbling can occur, and that strip of paper will need to be removed and replaced. This can result in running out of wallpaper and needing to order more. Don’t want to risk it? Hire a professional.

2. Painting the exterior of your home.

The verdict: Hire a pro.

Painting the exterior of a house is a big job that requires extensive use of tall ladders (and sometimes climbing up on the roof). Homeowners should consider safety requirements before tackling an exterior job.

3. Fixing a clogged garbage disposal.

The verdict: Try to DIY it.

A clogged disposal may be cleared by using a small specialty wrench that fits into a hexagonal opening on the underside of the disposal while the disposal is turned off.

4. Fixing a running toilet.

The verdict: Try to DIY it.

A running toilet can be comfortably fixed by a DIY-er with a toilet rebuild kit from any hardware store. These kits typically contain straightforward and easy-to-follow instructions. On the other hand, one-piece or specialty toilets can be tricky and might need the professional touch.

5. Installing a light fixture.

The verdict: Hire a pro (probably).

Electrical repairs and installations are at best expensive. Taking a little time to research and understand your electrical system can give you the necessary skills to do some electrical projects yourself. When installing a light fixture, low-voltage projects can be safely performed by a homeowner, as these are less likely to cause structural or bodily harm. Stick with a professional for anything over 50 volts.

6. Patching a hole in drywall.

The Verdict: Try to DIY it.

Nearly any homeowner can patch nail holes. Using a spackle knife, fill in each hole with lightweight putty and scrape the excess off the walls. Wait for the putty to dry and sand down the spot until it’s smooth. Then, paint the repaired spots with primer. Larger holes in drywall require more steps to repair and may be best left to the professionals.

7. Cleaning gutters.

The verdict: Try to DIY it (if you’re comfortable on a ladder).

To prevent water damage from clogged gutters, leaves should be cleaned out of them every spring and fall. For single-story homes with level grounding around the foundation, go ahead and handle the task yourself (if you’re an experienced ladder-climber). Try to do this project when you have someone there to hold the ladder and help. If you aren’t up for the challenge of moving a ladder and steadily climbing up and down it to clear debris, hire someone else to complete this important task.

8. Re-grouting tile.

The verdict: Try to DIY it.

The surface of tile grout is porous, so dirt can get trapped in cracked grout, which leads to discoloration and further damage. The first step in repairing grout is to choose the right one. Grout choices consist of four different types: sanded, unsanded, acrylic latex or epoxy. Measure the space between your tiles to figure out which type of grout you should use. If the space between the tiles is less than 1/8 inch, use an unsanded acrylic or epoxy grout. If the space is larger than 1/8 inch, it is suggested that you use a sanded grout. Also, don’t forget to match the grout color before making your final purchase! The next step is to clean the grouted area. Then, use a grout saw to remove any damaged grout and then dampen the joints with a wet rag. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s directions and begin grouting the tile. It’s important to fill all the joints completely and smooth over the surface with a damp sponge to remove any excess. Allow the grout to set firmly and then clean with a damp rag.

9. Installing molding.

The verdict: Hire a pro.

Not all homeowners have a power saw or the skills to cut and safely install crown molding while on a ladder. The measurements must be accurate and the cuts must line up seamlessly. Unless you have experience, it’s best to leave this job to the professionals.

10. Fixing a sticking window.

The verdict: Hire a pro.

There are a number of reasons that a window might stick. It may be a buildup of dirt and debris in the window casing. Problems in the foundation of your home can cause windows to lose alignment and get stuck. Sometimes, a window is painted and shut before it completely dries, which glues the window closed. High humidity can cause doors and windows to swell and bind them in the jamb.

Fixing a stuck window may involve removing the window and could require using a belt sander or planer. If you don’t have the tools or the know-how to safely use the tools required, leave it to the professionals.

7 Disappearing Kitchen Trends

Your home, your rules. Meaning: Do whatever makes you happy. But as we run through 2021 we’re finding some trends that are on their way out. Again, there’s no rule saying you can no longer have any of these features for your own kitchen. If you’re planning on renovating and are looking for styles that will endure, though, it might be smart to avoid these overdone trends.

1. Navy Cabinets

Navy is a classic for a reason, but it starts to feel boring when everyone is using it on their lower cabinets or kitchen islands. If you want to include some color in your kitchen, why not try a color that feels a little different — like green, black, or even a natural wood tone? There are plenty of other versatile colors to try that aren’t navy, so push your design a little bit further than what everyone else is doing right now. 

2. Basic Tile Backsplashes

If you’re going to add a backsplash, don’t just do half the wall (it’s pretty common but it feels like a halfhearted design attempt). Right now, giant slabs or fully tiled walls are in. Just a note for anyone going with tile: Try embracing a different shape other than a traditional rectangle. If you’re worried about longevity, work in a warm neutral color palette to add versatility. 

3. Ornate Hardware

Forget anything flashy. Instead of shiny gold hardware, we’re seeing a return to more muted brushed or matte black finishes. And that’s if there’s hardware being used at all. Minimal cabinet design, where there’s no hardware at all, seems to be the direction kitchens are headed in.

4. Cluttered Countertops

With many of us still working from our kitchen tables (or just cooking a lot) in 2021, countertops around the country are getting cleared off.Cluttered countertops feel stressful and make it harder to keep surfaces clean. Keep out only what you use every day and then find a new home for everything else (in a cabinet or in a donation box!).

5. Farmhouse-Style Cabinets

It’s been a long time coming, but we think farmhouse-style is on its way out in favor of clean-lined and incredibly modern-looking cabinetry. Think: sleek, totally flat-faced panels. With less grooves and molding, they’re easier to clean. Yay! 

6. Open Shelving

The divisive wall of open shelving is out. For most home cooks, it’s an unrealistic way to store glasses and dishes because of how much dirt and grime accumulates in between uses. (Yes, even when things are constantly being used, washed, and put away.) Keeping upper cabinets allows you to tuck away items that could be cluttering up your counters. If you do see open shelving, it will be smaller, single shelves or a small ledge that holds more decorative accessories instead of dishes. 

7. Cool Gray Paints

Gray, like the navy we mentioned above, is an incredibly versatile hue but it gets boring when everyone is using the same color over and over. For kitchen renovations, it used to be, “When in doubt paint the walls or cabinets a cool gray.” Now? Skip it! If you really love gray and want to use it, try a warmer gray with more earthy undertones to help it feel fresh. 

the | caylin harris

An Organized Home Office; 7-Day Plan

Whether you’re using your home office to work from home or for personal business, getting it clean and organized can make your time there more productive and pleasant. Piles of work papers and to-dos are visual reminders of things you don’t want to be doing. Take this opportunity while you’re at home more to whip it into shape. This plan will help you clear the clutter and put systems in place to make it easier to keep things looking good all year.

Make a Plan of Attack

How big your home office is, and just how packed full of stuff it is will make a huge difference in how much time you’ll need to devote to get it in shape.
If you use your home office regularly, or if your home office is large or has accumulated a lot of clutter, plan to spend a few longer stretches of time on a weekend and follow up with shorter tasks during the week.

If it’s a small space or not too cluttered, you may be able to compress the plan into a single weekend — read it over before beginning and tailor it to work for you.

Day 1: Deal With Paper

Decluttering tasks: What is all of that clutter? Do you even need to keep this stuff? This is the day to find out. At the end of today’s tasks, your home office may very well look worse than when you began — consider yourself warned!

  • Do some research. Sometimes we keep things simply because we are not sure if it’s OK to throw them out. Go on a fact-finding mission (call your tax preparer or search online) and figure out what you need to keep and for how long.
  • Sort and stack. Work your way through your home office, pulling every loose paper out of drawers, shelves, cupboards etc. As you go, sort your stuff into categories as best you can, shredding and tossing what is no longer needed.
  • Make quick temporary labels for your category piles with a marker on plain paper — it’s amazing how quickly you can lose track of what goes where.
  • Set aside anything that does not belong in your home office and make a point of returning it to where it belongs (or to whom it belongs to) today.

Cleaning tasks: Keep a shredder, recycling bin and trash can nearby for obvious junk mail and garbage.

Day 2: Make Some Space

Decluttering tasks: Pour yourself a big cup of coffee or tea, because you’ll need the boost to get through today’s task — but when you’re done, your workspace should be feeling significantly better.

  • Pull every (nonpaper) item out of your desk and office storage and sort it into piles, placing like with like — for instance, all letter writing supplies in one pile; everything computer related in another.
  • Now take a closer look at those piles, removing unneeded duplicates (do you really need three staplers?) and anything that doesn’t belong in your office.
  • Armed with the knowledge gained on your fact-finding mission on Day 1, dip into your files and see if there are papers you can safely get rid of.
  • If you haven’t yet moved to a paperless home office, go online today and set up paperless statements and billing.

Day 3: Get Organized

Decluttering tasks: Think outside the file box to find an organizational system that works for you. Here are a few ideas for organizing your home office:

  • A grid of clipboards on the wall can make for a handy place to keep papers organized.
  • Wall-mounted cups keep frequently used supplies neat and within reach.
  • Labeled, open-top baskets on shelves are great for people who like piles.
  • Traditional files are still useful for important documents.

Day 4: Freshen Up

Cleaning tasks: Give yourself a big pat on the back, because the hardest work is now behind you! Today is all about making your home workspace fresh and clean, so it will be a healthier, more pleasant place to spend time in.

  • Vacuum your home office from top to bottom. Use an attachment to clean window treatments, high corners and fabric lamp shades.
  • Wipe down shelves and surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Use monitor wipes to clean your screens.
  • Use a keyboard cleaner to blow dust from between the keys or gently clean them with cotton swabs.
  • Bring in some fresh plants to help clean the air.

Day 5: Consider Comfort

Decluttering tasks: How comfortable is your home office? If you use your workspace often, it’s important to have an adjustable chair with proper support, good lighting and perhaps a small stool to put your feet up on. See what you can do today to make your home office more comfortable.

Day 6: Add a Personal Touch

Decluttering tasks: The beauty of a home office is that you can emphasize the home part as much as you like. Bring in family photos that make your smile or treasures from your travels; drape a beautiful textile over your chair; or store your office supplies in pretty fabric or woven baskets and china teacups. Cut a few fresh flowers from the garden and place them in a vase on your desk. Light a scented candle while you work. Do whatever makes your office feel more like you.

Day 7 and Beyond: Do Daily Maintenance

Decluttering tasks:

  • Aim to handle paper as soon as you get it, rather than letting it pile up. If you don’t have time to do this daily, set up an inbox with slots for a few broad categories (bills, work, school) so papers will be easier to handle later.
  • Post a note detailing what you should save and for how long.
  • Schedule a weekly time to empty your inbox.

Cleaning tasks:

  • Straighten up your home office before you are done working each day. Bring the coffee cups back to the kitchen and completely clear your desktop.
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