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DIY home upgrades to add style and beauty

Consider these DIY ideas to spruce up your home’s aesthetics and create a more attractive place to live.

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Photo by @spacejoy from Unsplash.com

Home upgrades are necessary for a variety of reasons, but many homeowners look to update their homes to add comfort and beauty. While a complete renovation can be appealing, it can also be costly and time consuming.

However, if you’re willing to take on some of the work yourself, and if you have the right equipment to do home upgrades, there are ways to upgrade your living spaces to add style (and value) without the assistance of a contractor. Consider these DIY ideas to spruce up your home’s aesthetics and create a more attractive place to live.

Freshen Up Paint

When it comes to simple DIY projects, a new coat of paint can drastically update your spaces without making major renovations. Light colors like gray, beige or white can make smaller spaces feel more open while darker shades like navy and purple can create a dramatic look. If you don’t want (or need) to paint the entire room, adding a pop of color with an accent wall or touching up the trim are quick and easy improvements. Adding paint to a less traditional spot like the ceiling or refreshing cabinets with a new color can also help bring your spaces to life.

Install Mess-Free Stone Accents

If you’re looking to add warmth and texture, easy-to-install stone veneer can provide the look of natural stone without the expense. A mortarless option like ClipStone is designed to be installed with screws and common tools, making it easy to achieve the look of traditional masonry without the hassle and mess. Durable and low maintenance, you don’t have to worry about sealing or painting and it’s a perfect option for exterior or interior installation that can be installed in any weather conditions. Available in a variety of styles and colors, homeowners can mix and match to create a custom look. Plus, it features a built-in water management system, overlapping edges to minimize gaps, reversible outside corners and a variety of available accessories.

Upgrade Window Treatments

Windows can often be overlooked or left with the simple paper shades or aluminum blinds the builder initially installed. Consider replacing them with plantation shutters, wooden blinds or drapes that better suit the style of the room. In addition to blinds, curtains provide another opportunity to add design elements that align with your tastes. From geometric panels to sheers, the possibilities are nearly endless. Or simply match the curtain panels to the color of your walls or an accent color for a look that can match almost any style.

Update Accessories

Cabinet pulls, outlet covers, curtain rods, switch plates and doorknobs are easily ignored, but replacing them can be an inexpensive way to add small touches of elegance to your home. With a variety of designs and finishes to choose from, including bronze, brushed nickel, copper and stainless steel, updating worn pull handles and knobs can create an affordable look that appears expensive. The same is true for metal switch covers and outlet plates. While decorative curtain rods may be on the pricier side, adding a coat of paint in a metallic finish could provide a cheaper alternative.

Improve Curb Appeal

There are a multitude of inexpensive ways to give your home’s exterior a makeover. Start by pressure washing your siding and windows, which can make your house look almost as good as a fresh coat of paint for a fraction of the time and money. Remember to also clean your driveway, patio and walkways to maximize your investment. Pulling weeds, trimming trees and bushes, and patching bald spots in the yard can also go a long way as can planting greenery in front of your home and making landscaping upgrades like adding mulch beds, water features or decorative edging. Another idea: replace your front door or give it a fresh coat of paint to add a pop of color to your porch.

Find more ideas for improving your living spaces at myclipstone.com.

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Home Care

5 Healthy habits for your home

Start your year off right with more advice for healthy habits around the home.

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If you’re like most people, health is an important aspect of your resolutions when each new year rolls around. While factors like diet and exercise are keys to healthy living, so are the ways you care for your home and belongings.

Your home living environment plays a major role in your health and comfort, so incorporating some new habits like these from the cleaning experts at Swash Laundry Detergent can help you establish a healthier lifestyle.

1. Control Air Quality

Especially during the winter months when your home tends to be closed tight, air can grow stale. Do your best to keep air quality strong by opening windows on mild days to circulate fresh air, using an air purifier to remove irritants and pollutants, frequently vacuuming and sweeping to keep floor dust and debris under control and regularly cleaning textiles that can trap allergens and other particles.

2. Scale Back Detergent Use

Using too much laundry detergent isn’t just risking buildup and unnecessary wear on your washer and dryer; it can also increase the residue and buildup in your clothes, which can lead to skin irritation and damage fabric faster. Using only what you need helps protect your belongings and your skin. An option like Swash Laundry Detergent, which features a Precision Pour Cap, dispenses the detergent for you, so you only pour what you need to effectively clean each load and fight stains. A single bottle of the ultra-concentrated formula – available in Simply Sunrise, Free & Clear and Pure Linen scents – washes up to 83 loads while taking up less space than traditional, bulky detergent bottles.

3. Make Use of Natural Light

When winter brings day after day of dark, dreary weather, it can take a toll on your mood. Brightening your living space with natural light can positively influence your emotional state while helping with your electric bill. If you’re concerned about privacy, utilize window treatments at night, but let the sunlight bring good cheer to your living spaces during the day.

4. Switch Bedding on Schedule

While you sleep, your body sheds oils, cells and elements you carry into your home like pollen. Sheets should be washed once a week on the hottest water setting your fabric will tolerate (check tags for laundering directions on your sheets before washing). If your schedule makes weekly washing, drying and remaking the bed unrealistic, consider having a couple sets you can rotate so you always have fresh, clean sheets waiting to remake your bed on laundry day.

5. Work Up (and Wash Out) a Sweat

The materials that keep you feeling cool and fresh by wicking away sweat can quickly get stinky, but over-washing can make them lose their shape and fade. Even so, washing after every use is a must. Washing workout clothes inside out exposes the surfaces that have absorbed sweat and body oil to detergent and agitation. Be sure to close zippers, buttons, clasps and other fasteners to prevent snags. Pre-soaking with equal parts vinegar and cold water can also help eliminate odors, and washing in a gentle, cold-water cycle and drying on low heat can help protect the fabric’s elasticity and wicking properties.

Start your year off right with more advice for healthy habits around the home at Swash.com.

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Home Care

Improve your home’s air quality

Improving your home’s air quality begins with recognizing what contributes to poor indoor air quality, the potentially harmful effects and how to address these problems.

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way people spend time in their homes. From work to working out, more out-of-the-house activities have moved to the home.

In fact, according to the 2021 American Time Use Survey, 38% of employed people did some or all of their work from home. That means better indoor air quality at home is as important as ever.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be up to five times worse than outdoor air quality. With the average person taking about 22,000 breaths per day, installing smarter indoor air quality technology is key to healthier living year-round.

Improving your home’s air quality begins with recognizing what contributes to poor indoor air quality, the potentially harmful effects and how to address these problems.

Off-gassing

Off-gassing from construction materials, carpeting, adhesives and synthetic materials, as well as solvents from common household cleaners, can accumulate in even well-constructed homes. Continuous ventilation solutions can help reduce the harmful effects of off-gassing, such as headaches, nausea and irritation in your eyes, nose and throat.

Simple smart ventilation fans and good ventilation can help control off-gassing in your home. Other options for reducing the impact of off-gassing include shopping for products designed for low or no volatile organic compound emission and adding houseplants that naturally help filter and purify the air, though houseplants only offer a small amount of help.

Moisture

Moisture that is not properly ventilated can cause mildew and mold formation, which can potentially lead to structural problems and health issues. For most homes, the optimal humidity balance is 40-60%, but those levels can be hard to maintain in high-humidity spaces like bathrooms.

Antimicrobial light technology combined with powerful ventilation offers effective protection against bacteria, mold and fungi growth in your home. An option like the Broan SurfaceShield LED Exhaust Fan kills viruses and prevents mold, bacteria and fungi growth on surfaces in your bathroom or other humidity-prone environments. Featuring two lighting modes, an everyday white light perfect for task lighting and a continuous antimicrobial mode, the cover is also designed to stay cleaner longer with less louvers in which dust and dirt can get trapped.

Cooking effluents

Cooking effluents from food preparation can infiltrate the whole house in minutes. Grease, oils and aromas settle permanently into carpet, furniture, clothing and other surfaces. Kitchen ventilation solutions can help eliminate cooking effluents for a cleaner, more comfortable and healthier environment.

For example, the Broan Elite 21-Inch Custom Range Hood Power Pack offers a custom appearance while protecting cabinetry with stainless steel liners. Bright LED lighting enhances your cooking experience while the four-speed, back-lit, soft touch control and WiFi connectivity enabling voice control makes operating the hood easy. Automatic infrared sensing allows your range hood to adjust the speed of your fan based on your cooking style.

Pollutants

Stemming from sources like space heaters, gas stoves, woodstoves, indoor furnaces, dryers and fireplaces, combustion pollutants are gases or particles that come from burning materials. Examples include carbon monoxide – causing headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue – and nitrogen dioxide – causing eye, nose and throat irritation; impaired lung function; and increased respiratory infections.

When possible use appliances that vent to the outside, ventilate rooms where fuel-burning appliances are in use and ensure these appliances are properly installed, used, adjusted and maintained.

Explore more ideas for improving air quality in your home at broan-nutone.com.

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Home Care

7 Easy and affordable ways to make your home more eco-friendly

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

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The Philippines is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme rainfall and drought will affect availability of water and food; rising sea levels will flood coastal areas and dislocate millions of people.

However, simple acts done every day by millions of people can help reduce climate change. This is the principle behind the SM Green Movement—a collective effort among customers, communities, and partners to make “greener choices” that will protect people and the planet.

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

Unplug unused appliances

Appliances that are on standby or idle power mode can still use electricity. Be mindful of energy waste in your daily routine: for example, leaving a laptop plugged in even when it’s fully charged, or forgetting to turn off the coffee maker.  You can also use a power strip to group appliances—such as TV, gaming console, powered speakers—so you can turn them all off at the same time.

Invest in energy-efficient lightbulbs

Start by replacing five of your most commonly-used light fixtures with LED lights.

LED lights use from 75% to 90% less energy compared to a traditional bulb, and last 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 10 times longer than fluorescent lights. Since lighting typically accounts for 15% of a home’s average electricity use, switching to LED can also save you a lot of money!

Change the way you take a bath

A ten-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons (or almost 114 liters) of water. You can save water just by turning off the water while you soap and shampoo or using a pail and tabo. If you get a low-flow shower head, you lower water consumption by 40% or more. 

Think of greener ways to beat the heat

Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, and fluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer. Inverter air conditioners use less energy, but it’s still important to minimize use. To keep your home cool, you can:

  • Get blackout curtains. The thick lining can block up to 99% of light and 100% of UV rays.
  • Get air coolers. These are fans that blow hot hair into a wet pad, so the water evaporates and cools the air. You can find some on SM online, and even more choices in the department store.
  • Use your fans creatively. Open the window and point fans towards it so it blows hot air out.

Adjust ceiling fan settings to counter clockwise, so it pulls hot air up and pushes cool air down.

Choose eco-friendly, sustainable products

Obviously it is always ideal to have the right tools to make homes more environmentally-friendly, and – fortunately – it is now easier and more convenient to find eco-friendly products. You have thousands of choices at SM Supermalls. Watsons has over 1,200 sustainable health & beauty products. Body Shop uses ethically-sourced ingredients, and has even switched to 100% recycled hair care bottles. Kultura has handmade products with natural or recycled materials—and you can find even more eco-friendly cooking and cleaning products in SM Home.   No time to compare products? Ask an SM personal shopper to do it for you, then either pick it up or have it delivered to your doorstep. 

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