Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a Colorful Life Inside Your Home

How to liven up your home with color

The summer months are all about color. From flowers in bloom to vibrant beach towels and colorful dresses, summer brings with it a multitude of hues. As you look around, you might start to feel like your home is a little, well, blah. If so, just adding a little pop of color into your home can help.

Once you have an idea of the color direction you are heading for your home, the fun begins. Start by thinking about the colors you want to add, where color can make the most impact, and just how much you need to give your home a fresh look.

Here are a few tips to get you started on your adventure in color.

Explore color
More than likely, you already have a favorite color in mind and would be OK seeing more of it in your home. Or, maybe a little inspiration from the season's hottest hues would help. Either way, the first step is to explore color. Take a visit to your favorite clothing boutique, stop in at a paint store or flip through home design magazines. Choose the looks you are most drawn to or the colors that evoke a feeling of happiness or calm. These colors reflect your personal style and will make you feel most comfortable in your home.

Start small
After picking a color palette, don't go out and paint your whole house with it, start small. Just changing your accent pillows, throws, lampshades or accessories can make a big impact when you are first incorporating a new color. Remember to make sure the color flows well throughout the entire space, especially if your home has an open floor plan with rooms easily visible from one to another.

Accent with artwork
Another easy way to bring color to your home is by updating artwork and wall decor. Simply moving artwork from one room to another can give your home a refreshing look, and adding some newly purchased pieces to other spaces can breathe new life into your home.

Be brave
If you're ready to go all out with color, it's OK to make a dramatic change. The kitchen is a great place to go big with color and is usually the gathering place in the home. One of the best ways to bring bold color in the kitchen and set a tone for your entire home is to change your cabinetry. In addition to traditional wood-toned cabinetry styles, there is also a growing selection of on-trend paint and stain colors like KraftMaid's new Slate and Midnight finishes. Take it a step further by choosing glass front doors and adding a contrasting back panel inside the cabinet in colors like KraftMaid's serene Aegean or energetic Envy. Cabinetry colors can bring whimsy and personality to the kitchen.

"Colorful cabinetry can be a big commitment, but it also can set your kitchen apart in a sea of design sameness," says Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education at KraftMaid Cabinetry. "This year's cabinetry trends are colorful yet timeless and work with just about any design style. The KraftMaid Style Finder on is a great way to see what cabinetry colors might work best for you."

The beauty of adding hints of color into your home is that with just a few thoughtful touches, it can feel as though your home has been completely made over. Be sure to carry elements of the color from room to room for maximum effect.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Heat Is On Outside, Keep Cool Inside

As summer heats up, air conditioning bills can rapidly rise. As homeowners feel the heat, many are looking for ways to save and stay cool.

Many U.S. consumers strive to conserve energy at home. Forty-seven percent of Americans say they try to conserve energy all or most of the time, according to researchers at Iconoculture.

One way to help lower utility bills in the summer and year-round is to replace drafty or leaky old windows with new, energy-efficient products.

According to ENERGY STAR, replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR qualified windows can save up to $126 to $501 a year on utility bills depending on your location.

For example, the Pella 350 Series vinyl windows provide durable, triple-pane insulating glass window options. These highly energy-efficient windows help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Vince Iturbe from Salt Lake City replaced a westward-facing kitchen window and immediately noticed a difference in the temperature inside his home.

"The window faces the sun the better part of the day, and it was just plain miserable during the summer," he says. "I'm so glad to be done with the heat."

Cool tips
Once energy-efficient windows are properly installed in your home, try these inexpensive, easy ways to help keep your house cool.

  • Provide shade for east and west windows.
  • When possible, delay heat-generating activities like baking or dishwashing until the evening on hot days.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air to help make the house more comfortable without over-using the air conditioning. Seal air conditioning ducts and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces and attics.
  • Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40 to 50 percent, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
  • If you like energy savings, but dread cleaning blinds, consider windows and doors with optional between-the-glass blinds or shades. Since they're between glass, they accumulate less dust and dirt than traditional roomside window treatments. Plus, they can be closed when you are away to keep the heat out and opened when you are home to let the light in. With their outstanding energy-efficiency and built-in window treatments, it's a winning combination.
Web Analytics