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Home Care

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

Tips to a residential refresh

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We all look for a “home”, not just a “house”. Mainly because your home is an expression of you, your personality and your lifestyle. And this is why when it comes to personalizing your home’s aesthetic, try leaning into your senses to inspire change within your space.

Talking about personalizing your home, inspiration can be found everywhere around you – from taking cues from Mother Nature to “shopping” your own house or, with a little help from Air Wick, finding and incorporating your home’s signature scent.

Give yourself a residential refresh with these tips:

Rearrange Living Spaces

Breathing fresh air into a room doesn’t always require a complete overhaul, or even any construction or DIY projects. Sometimes all you need is a little rearranging. Shifting furniture to better suit your needs or let more natural light in can significantly improve the space’s aesthetic.

Additionally, the items you currently own are most reflective of your style; try “shopping” your own house by repurposing items from other areas or rooms to give them a fresh feel. When decor pieces are overused in one spot, they may feel brand new in a different space. These are practical and cost-effective tactics to create a new and inviting space for both you and any guests entering your home.

Introduce Plants and Greenery

When sourcing your design inspiration from nature, adding greenery is an inherent way to bring in the beauty and freshness of the great outdoors. To personalize your home with plants, visit a nursery or local flower shop and choose ones that are appealing to you based on their shape, color or size. Live plants offer multiple benefits, like naturally purifying the air, and studies have shown numerous therapeutic benefits of spending time with nature. Therefore, designing with natural elements, like house plants or flowers, can bring a sense of serenity into your home.

Find Your “Scentscape”

A home upgrade rooted in nature includes more than just what you can see and feel, it also includes engaging the sense of smell. One of the latest home decor trends, “scentscaping,” is growing in popularity as a way for individuals to enhance the ambiance of their homes through tailored scent.

“Scent is an often-overlooked aspect of design,” said Egypt Sherrod, HGTV personality who is both an interior designer and real estate broker, and Air Wick partner. “People tour homes and experience spaces with all their senses. It adds a new layer to home personalization, as an authentic fragrance experience often heightens the aura of your space beyond its physical layout. Scentscaping is the perfect way to add a bespoke vibe for your home that reflects your personal style, in turn creating a welcoming atmosphere.”

With innovative devices designed to deliver carefully blended scents like Air Wick’s Advanced Plug-In Scented Oil, you can enjoy long-lasting pulses of scents inspired by nature in the comfort of your home for up to 60 days on low setting. With anti-fading technology, an on-demand boost button and adjustable intensity settings, you’ll notice the fragrances from the first drop to the last.

Update Colors

Introducing color to a room can transform its look, and the scale of change is up to you. You might repaint the entire space, simply paint an accent wall or even just spruce up a corner with a pop of color. Incorporating accessories or decorative elements with new colors can also create some variety, such as including pops of seasonal-inspired colors in artwork and textiles.

Switch Out Light Fixtures

A room’s lighting is an important detail for personalizing the type of mood and ambiance you are trying to achieve. Swapping out light fixtures for dimmers, for example, can create a brand new atmosphere, allowing you to adjust the light to the time of day and for your intended experience. Consider updating old lighting fixtures with new ones to enhance the presence of natural light or changing the bulb wattage to further impact the mood.

Embrace the Scent of the Season

If you tend to make frequent edits to your home’s design, you may also find the idea of experimenting with different fragrances appealing. A short-term scent can be ideal for seasonal swaps, like trading fresh spring blooms for sweet summer citrus, for example. Lasting for up to 45 days on low setting, Air Wick’s Essential Mist Diffuser fills the room with a gentle, fragrant mist with natural essential oils so you can set it and forget it. Adjustable settings are included on the device, and the cordless and portable design allow it to blend seamlessly into any home decor.

Scentscaping to Give Your Home a Personalized Style

Achieving your perfect scentscape begins with nature-inspired fragrances, including classics like White Sage + Mahogany, Lavender + Waterlily and Eucalyptus + Wild Berry. If sweeter scents are your preference, consider enticing blends like Pink Watermelon + Mimosa, Lush Honeysuckle + Raspberry or Hawaiian Guava + Tropical Flowers.

To establish a one-of-a-kind scentscape for your home, start with these tips from Sherrod:

  1. Identify your scent preferences, whether leaning toward citrus, spicy, fruity, floral or woody notes.
  2. Consider the scent’s intensity and the scent level you and your guests find pleasing.
  3. If you plan on creating room-specific scents, or want to use different fragrances in each room, consider how these scents interact with one another to harmonize the scents with contrasts that add dimension.
  4. Consider rotating your seasonal scents to freshen up your home and bring new energy to your space at different times of the year.
  5. Maintain a scent balance so different scents do not overpower each other. Rather, create a soft and pleasing aroma that establishes inviting spaces throughout your home.
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Home Care

6 Solutions to safeguard valuables while moving

After moving into a new space, there’s an immediate need to keep valuables and important documents organized and secure in case of theft, fire or flood.

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Moving season means packing up valuables like tech devices, family heirlooms, jewelry and beyond and trusting they’ll make it safely to your new space. Ensuring a new home or apartment is properly secured is top of mind for many homeowners and renters, for both their personal safety and their most prized possessions.

After moving into a new space, there’s an immediate need to keep valuables and important documents organized and secure in case of theft, fire or flood. Whether or not a large security system is available on-site, Master Lock and SentrySafe’s DIY security and safety solutions equip your home with an extra line of defense and provide new homeowners and renters confidence.

Bar the Door

For instance, the Master Lock 270D Folding Door Bar is a reliable, on-the-go solution that’s perfect for securing entry doors during a move-in transition. It offers an updated design from the original – now more compact with a quick-release foldable design for ultimate convenience and portability. Folding to just 16.5 inches and extending up to 43.5 inches, it’s small enough to fit in a backpack but strong enough to prevent forced entry on hinged, patio and sliding doors due to the pivoting rubber grips.

Keep Your Property Secure

Look for those that feature expanded storage capacity to accommodate keys, fobs and cards, ensuring safety and convenience when accessing a home or apartment. The dials on the lock box are easy to read and grip, providing smooth operation. Built to last, the solid metal body with a rubber bumper protects against tampering while safeguarding surfaces from scratches and damage.

Turn to a Timeless Security Device

Keeping valuables secure can start with a tried-and-true classic solution. These versatile security devices can be used for a wide range of applications. Extend the security of your valuables during a move by using it on self-storage units and lockers, trailers, vans and moving trucks.

Fireproof and Protect Valuables at Home

Consider fireproof and waterproof solutions (e.g. SentrySafe FPW082HTC Fireproof and Waterproof Safe) as these could be your line of defense against fire, water and theft. The best-in-class fire and water protection solutions feature 1-hour UL-certified fire resistance at 1,700 F and ETL-verified protection in up to 5 inches of water for 24 hours. These could also have security built-in technology that offer an advanced, multi-point protection system that effectively resists physical attacks and lock manipulation while its pry-resistant hinge bar in the safe door protects against theft attempts.

Safeguard Documents and Files

Provide yourself an extra line of defense (for instance, with the SentrySafe FHW40100 Digital Fireproof/Waterproof File Safe) that safeguards important documents and records with a durable design and peril protection. Built to hold hanging file folders for easy organization, such a safe can be easily transported with its convenient carrying handle when moving into a new home or apartment.

Opt for Renter-Friendly Security

Renters who live in a small space may not be ready for a full-sized safe. Lightweight offerings – such as the SentrySafe 1200 Fire Chest – are affordable and convenient security solutions that safeguard precious valuables and electronics from theft attempts to keep items safe and sound. It’s convenient carrying handle allows users to easily move the chest from room to room and seamlessly pack and store their valuables at the end of their lease.

Get more information from MasterLock.com and SentrySafe.com.

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Home Care

How to check for bed bugs

Following these tips to check for the pesky insects while traveling and back at home.

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Bedbugs can make you itch just by thinking about them. These tiny, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood are notorious for infiltrating hotel rooms and luggage, hitchhiking their way back to a new home virtually undetected.

“Understanding what to be on the lookout for when checking for bedbugs is key,” said Danilo Del Campo, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago. “If you’re able to catch the infestation early enough you can avoid bringing a problem home, which can save a lot of frustration. However, these insects are tiny and that’s not always possible.”

Although bedbug bites are not usually dangerous, bedbugs can come home with you, infest your home, and cause a great deal of discomfort and anxiety. If bedbugs are present in your home, you will likely find bites on your body. These bites sometimes turn into itchy, red or purple welts and are often found in zigzag clusters of 3 to 5 bites.

To find bedbugs before they find you, Dr. Del Campo and the AAD recommend following these tips to check for the pesky insects while traveling and back at home:

1. Store your luggage. 

When you arrive at your lodging, temporarily place your luggage in a tiled area, like the bathroom, while you inspect your room. There are fewer spots for bedbugs to hide in bathrooms, so you can check your room without worry.

2. Check your furniture. 

Bedbugs often hide in upholstered areas. Carefully inspect your bedding, mattress, headboard, and any fabric-covered furniture for:

  • Rusty or reddish specks of blood.
  • Tiny, blackish dots that look like dots made by a marker—these may be bedbug feces.
  • Whitish, oval bedbug eggs the size of apple seeds.
  • Shell-like bedbug exoskeletons.
  • Live bedbugs.

3. Check your room. 

Make sure to check the seams of fabric, in dressers, behind wall hangings or wallpaper, in corners, and in between cushions. If a credit card could fit in a crack, a bedbug could fit, too—they are that small. 

  • After you check your room, you can bring your luggage in.
  • Place your bags on a luggage rack away from the wall.
  • If you find signs of bedbugs, request a new room.

4. Check your luggage when you get home. 

After your trip, look at your belongings before unpacking to make sure no bedbugs came home with you.

  • Use a flashlight to check the contents of your bags, including the seams of your clothing—look closely at your luggage to make sure no bedbugs are hiding inside.
  • If you find signs of bedbugs in your luggage, wash your clothes on high heat and use a hand steamer to clean your luggage.

If you notice any physical signs of bedbugs on your body or experience blistering, a skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus), or an allergic reaction (red or purple swollen skin or hives), make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

You’ll rarely see bedbugs due to their small size, so many people mistake their bites for mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, or common skin conditions such as a rash or chickenpox.

“Unfortunately, bedbug bites can look similar to other insect bites,” said Dr. Del Campo. “A dermatologist will be able to help determine the cause of your bites and symptoms.”

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