Create your dream patio in just 5 steps

Wisteria blooms elegantly along the back fence, temperatures are gradually nudging their way up, grilling season is oh, so close and you’re ready to give your patio or balcony a shot of pre-summer sprucing.

Few things in a busy life feel more luxurious than breakfast on the patio, deck or balcony on a gorgeous spring or summer day, so it’s worth the investment in time, a bit of money and elbow grease to create the patio of your dreams.

This week we offer up 5 steps to get your patio ready for the outdoor-living season.

1. Restore or replace?

If your patio furniture isn’t too terribly shabby, consider restoring it to its former splendor. It’s an easy and inexpensive DIY project, especially if the pieces are made of wood. Wicker or metal furniture are good candidates for restoration as well, but they’ll take a few extra steps.

Use a wire brush or sandpaper to rid metal furniture of built-up grime and rust, thoroughly clean wicker furniture and allow to dry. Then, slap on some gorgeous paint.

The Wicker Woman walks you through the process of painting wicker furniture here. Restoring wood furniture is a snap and you can learn how at Today’s Homeowner.

Need to buy new patio furniture? You can find it at bargain prices at Craigslist.org.

2. Cushions?

It does you no good to refurbish the furniture if you plan on topping it with worn, ratty cushions. New cushions or pillows will add a pop of color and texture. They don’t have to be a budget buster either. Ikea and Walmart carry reasonably-priced cushions.

Prefer to shop online? Check Lowes.com, Amazon.com or Overstock.com.

3. Provide some shade

Your patio will need a shady spot in which to escape the summer sun and there are several brilliant ways to provide it.

If you have money to burn, check out retractable awnings that will cover your patio.  Home Depot and Costco offer them. Read up on the pros and cons of retractable awnings at AngiesList.com.

If you’re on a budget, consider shade sails, which you can purchase at the major home improvement stores or online at retailers such as Coolaroo. Even an inexpensive umbrella can provide shade for people and/or plants.

Need some inspiration? Check out these cool ideas on Pinterest.

4. Water and summer – the perfect pairing

Every patio oasis needs some sort of water feature. Waterfalls and fountains are the most popular and you don’t need an elaborate electrical and irrigation system to build one.

Many of today’s fountains are solar-powered, so you won’t need to perform a major electrical system hack to accommodate them either.

Check out the selection at wayfair.com.

Need inspiration? Find it on Pinterest.

5. Light it up

Is there anything better than al fresco dining? And, no, you don’t need to visit our high-end eateries to experience it.

Once your patio is whipped into shape, all you need to do is add lighting to provide the perfect ambiance.

Get ideas on pinterest.com, hgtv.com and yardenvy.com.

If you live in a condo, the board may have restrictions on what you can do with your balcony or patio, so check with them before spending any money.

Must-have tech gadgets for the home

Last week I came across an article about the latest tech gadgets for the home. There is some pretty cool stuff out there, some of it new and some that has been around for a few years. If you’re in the market for home tech to help make life easier, read on.

Alexa

How can any homeowner get along without Alexa? Once she moves in, you’ll be saying her name more than anyone else’s.

I recently attended a family get together and, when I got home, I realized I’d left my phone behind. I had no way to call them to determine if, indeed, it was sitting on their kitchen counter.

So, I asked Alexa. “Hey, Alexa, can you make phone calls?” She then promptly asked who in my contact list I wished to call and within seconds I was speaking with my uncle over my Echo device.

Echo, for the uninitiated, is a device that has a built-in voice assistant. This assistant is Alexa and she can perform a variety of tasks from singing you to sleep, or playing music and telling jokes to locking the doors at home or turning on the thermostat (if they are enabled to work with Alexa).

In fact, Alexa has more than 7,000 skills, with more added frequently. I turn to Alexa multiple times during the day to remind me of things I need to do, to ask when it will stop raining and to answer questions that I’m too lazy to “Google” for an answer.

If you have no other tech gadget in your home, get an Echo. To learn more about Alexa, visit digitaltrends.com and to see current prices of the Echo device, visit Amazon.com.

 

The food sniffer

Ok, so it’s not life changing, like Alexa, but it may be life-saving. The Food Sniffer has been around for a couple of years, helping you avoid throwing away perfectly good leftovers or, prompting you to throw away those that are spoiled.

The Peres Company describes the Food Sniffer as an “electronic nose.” Run it over the food in question and it “sniffs out the gasses” (such as ammonia) that decomposing meat and fish release.

It isn’t able to sniff out bacteria, however.

A small device, it works via an app that’s available for both iOS and Android devices. It sells for about $130 and you can learn more about it at MyFoodSniffer.com.

 

Tile Pro

Who doesn’t misplace their keys occasionally? Or their phone?

The size of a keychain, Tile Pro attaches to anything you frequently misplace. When you need it, you can locate the item via the TileMate app.

Since it’s the phone we tend to misplace most often, Tile Mate still finds the item for you without having to consult the app — “by remotely making the Tile vibrate, flash, or ring.”

We look forward to if and when this device is compatible with Alexa. Then, she can tell us where it is.

The Tile Mate is a step down from Tile Pro, with a shorter range and less volume. Both are available at Amazon.com, Best Buy and Target.

 

Neato Botvac

Robot vacuums are nothing new, but pair one with smart tech and your housecleaning regime gets a whole lot easier. In fact, the Cnet.com review team calls it “the best-performing robot vacuum we’ve ever tested.”

Best of all? You can control it with Alexa.

Neato Botvac Connected pairs its Wi-Fi with an app for both iOS or Android devices, making it completely controllable via your smartphone. Start it, stop it, schedule it and “even steer it, right from your phone,” claims Ry Crist at Cnet.com.

Watch it in action at YouTube.com.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes: Are you prepared?

Hurricane season in 2018 was brutal. We saw eight hurricanes, with Florence and Michael producing the most significant damage.

Hurricane season this year begins on June 1.

Last month, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, declared a state of emergency in preparation for the 2019 wildfire season. The declaration allows him to waive environmental restrictions “to speed up fire prevention projects …” according to CBS Los Angeles.

Notice the key concept in that announcement: Preparation.

With a couple of months’ lead time, even the most unprepared homeowner can take steps to keeping his or her family and home safe during natural disasters.

Family first

We’ve all seen the news reports about people who wait until the last minute to stock up on supplies when a killer storm is expected. Don’t be one of them, facing picked over hardware items and empty shelves at the grocery store.

First, make a plan. Questions to have the answers to include:

How will we contact one another?

It is especially important for children to know the plan in case of an emergency. Designate one adult family member to be the designated contact. Ready.gov recommends choosing someone who lives out of town in case cell service is down in your area.

Write down the contact’s phone number and a reminder of the meeting spots and keep it in your child’s school bag. Cell phones may not be working

Where will we meet?

If your children are older, pick a meeting spot that’s close to home and an alternative spot that is outside the neighborhood in case roads are blocked.

If we have to evacuate, what is the best route?

Plan your route before disaster strikes. Figure out where you can go if evacuation is ordered. Think friends, family members or a hotel. The experts at Ready.gov suggest that you “Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.”

Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.

Always keep enough fuel in your car to get to your destination.

Do you have emergency supplies set aside? You’ll need a lot more than water if the power is out for any length of time. Find a list of what to set aside for emergencies at Fema.gov.

Keep an emergency survival kit in the trunk of your automobile (especially if you live where earthquakes occur). Include, at the very minimum a portable radio, cell phone charger, matches, flashlights and batteries, blankets, extra shoes and socks in case you need to walk to your destination and drinking water.

You’ll find a list of other items to include at Almanac.com and on the National Safety Council’s website.

Don’t forget the pets

Although many Americans consider their pets as part of the family, they’re frequently left off the to-do list when considering prepping for the expected or unexpected that nature throws our way.

So, we’ve compiled that list for you and your pets:

  • Ensure that each of your pets is microchipped. Then, if a hurricane or other natural disaster is expected, ensure that they’re wearing collars with up-to-date identification tags firmly attached to the collars.
  • Don’t leave your pets behind if you need to evacuate. Have a plan on where you will take them before finding shelter for yourself. Ideas may include hotels that allow pets, boarding facilities outside of the danger zone, a friend or relative’s home, also outside the danger zone.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit. You can buy them online or create your own. TheSeniorDog.com has a brilliant list of items you’ll need in your kit.

Get more tips at ASPCA.org.

Items you’ll need for an insurance claim

Do you have an inventory of all of your belongings? If not, get that done now, before hurricane and wildfire seasons arrive. Photographs or video are ideal ways of cataloging your belongings. Be sure to include purchase dates and places and serial numbers.

If you need help visit the Insurance Information Institute’s website.

Then, keep copies of other important documents such as your driver’s license, insurance paperwork, bank account numbers, the deed to your home or your mortgage company’s contact information, vital statistics documents (birth, marriage, citizenship or Green Card).

Go to Fema.gov for more information on how to protect important documents and which ones you may need during and after a disaster.

5 Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips

Most of us homeowners consider spring cleaning as the project that clears the home’s interiors of winter’s nastiness. You know, the mud in the mud room, the stale odors, the fireplace scent clinging to draperies and rugs.

The home’s exterior rarely gets our spring-cleaning love, but it should, according to the founder of Winkelmann Design & Construction in Akron, Ohio. In fact, he provided Weather.com a list of 10 home exterior cleaning projects that are inexpensive and won’t take up too much of your time.

Is that grime on your garage door?

When the garage is at the front of the home, it’s even more important to keep the door clean – especially if you have an overly-picky HOA or your home is on the market.

Winkelmann claims that about 85 percent of garage doors today are made of fiberglass, an easy substance to clean.

In fact, all it takes is a solution of warm water and a small amount of bleach, a scrub brush and a hose with which to rinse the door after cleaning.

Winkelmann cautions owners of metal garage doors to ensure they follow up the rinse with a thorough drying. Otherwise, you may face rust in the future.

 

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk?

Your garage, when the door is closed, is a sparkling marvel for the neighbors to behold. Open that door, though, and “all that junk” is exposed for all the world to see.

But, appearances, as we all know, aren’t the only things that matter. A garage is the ultimate storage solution, whether for your autos or for belongings. But it’s useless if it’s cluttered and disorganized.

No, it’s not exactly a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but get it done and vow to keep it organized, and it may just be the one household task you are grateful you performed.

 

Ew, what’s that smell?

Our HOA demands that our trash cans and recycling bins be kept in our garage. You can imagine what they smell like right around mid-summer after sitting, full of garbage, in a hot garage.

And, if you’re blessed with an HOA that allows your cans to reside outdoors, the stench may act as an invitation to critters. You know, rats, mice, raccoons, coyotes.

Winkelmann suggests, again, using bleach to get rid of the crud and the stench. We rather like the job that ammonia does, especially when it’s allowed to sit for a time.

Then, add water and get to work wiping down the walls. An old mop works well for this job or, purchase an extendable tub and tile scrubber, like this one.

Naturally, you’ll want to wear gloves and a mask when working with either substance – they’re both pretty caustic.

And never, ever mix bleach and ammonia. Ever.

If you just can’t stand the thought of using either substance, consider a powdered cleanser or white vinegar.

 

Keep spring showers outdoors

One of the best ways to avoid moisture intrusion in the home is to clean the gutters and downspouts. After a blustery fall and winter, they’re most likely full of all kinds of stuff that will impede drainage and end up backed up into the home.

Need some inspiration and instructions on how to get the job done safely? Lowe’s has produced a brilliant video walk-through and you’ll find it on YouTube.com.

 

Summer is coming

Whether you store your patio furniture indoors or out over the winter, it’s in need of at least a wipe down. We’d wager that it probably needs more, though.

Remove the cushions and, hopefully, they have zippers and are machine washable. If not, grab a can of upholstery cleaner (Car Guys or Resolve are both highly rated) and scrub away the grime from last year.

Then, get to work cleaning the chairs, table and umbrella.

Still have some energy? Grilling season is coming up so tear into that barbecue. Steel wool and scrubbing will get the mess off the grills.

The pros at TodaysHomeonwer.com recommend using aluminum foil and vinegar. You can learn that technique, here.

The best part about exterior spring cleaning is that it can be done in chunks. Save the projects for those spring days that aren’t sunny or warm enough to beckon you out to play.

Trending: Danish modern furniture

What’s old typically becomes new, right? Whether it’s fashion, music, dance styles or décor, never count a trend down and out, because the chances are good that it will see a revival.

Scandinavian décor hit it big again a couple of years ago, especially in the midwest United States. And now, we’ve niched that down to a return to the “Danish modern” period of furniture design.

While once the epitome of tasteful, modern décor, Danish modern is now considered vintage, and in high demand. While some authentic pieces may run into the thousands of dollars, there are still bargains available if you don’t mind using pieces from lesser-known designers.

The Danish modern period runs, roughly, from 1920 to the 1960’s.

Danish modern history

The early 1900’s saw a plethora of new inventions including adhesive tape, the airplane, the ballpoint pen and the Model T. Furniture designers around the world also became caught up in the movement toward new concepts and ideas.

Kaare Klint, a designer from Copenhagen, felt otherwise. According to Andrew Hollingsworth, author of “Danish Modern,” Mr. Klint, a traditionalist, felt that there was no need to reinvent furniture.

Changing the lines and materials were all that was required to modernize traditional pieces. Klint ascribed to a design ideal that put comfort and utility over design.

Subsequent designers of note, such as Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl and Ole Wanscher expanded on Klint’s foundation to create what is now known as Danish modern furniture. 

Form

Danish modern furniture is, overall, simple, or, as Andrew Hollingsworth describes it, “austere.” While chairs were designed primarily for comfort, designers carefully sculptured them into works of art.

Free-flowing designs, such as Finn Juhl’s Pelikan chair, are examples of this concept: comfort combined with artistic flair.

Danish modern cabinetry has simple lines, chairs typically contain pointed arms and sofas are streamlined, many with asymmetrical backs.

 Wood

One of the hallmarks of true Danish modern furniture is dark wood. Teak was one of the more commonly used materials, with European oak running a close second. Rosewood was employed in higher-end designs, according to Andrew Hollingsworth.

Mahogany, while not common, was utilized during the latter half of the period. After World War II, when materials were scarce, designers began using plywood, bending it and molding it into their designs.

The famous Ant Chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1952, used a single piece of plywood, bent into the design.

Metal

Poul Kjaerholm’s designs diverged from those of his contemporaries by his extensive use of steel instead of wood. In keeping with the main hallmark of Danish modern design – comfort – he combined steel with wood, leather and other materials.

Overall, the play of light on steel ignited his artistic sensibilities and provided stunning Danish modern pieces that today’s collectors clamor after. Check out this 3-seat sofa that sells today for more than $44,000.

Fabrics that define Danish Modern

Another common hallmark of Danish modern furniture is the choice of leather for upholstered pieces. Chairs and stools were frequently upholstered in different types of leather, with the patterns of ostrich leather in high demand.

Later in the movement, while leather was still prominent, stretch fabric was utilized frequently. While the darker colors, such as black and deep brown, were the most popular, toward the end of the period green and light blue leather were in vogue.

Learn more about Danish Modern at Collector’sWeekly.com and HiveModern.com and view creations from some of the more famous furniture designers at DanishFurniture.com.

Rental Property Tax Tips

Rental Agreement
Owning a rental property poses tax considerations that are more complex than the residential property you live in and requires a more refined tax strategy. Below is the tax information you need to know as well as some top tax tips for owners of rental properties.

Rental Property Tax Considerations

When filling in your tax returns, your rental property is listed in Schedule E, which documents your tax year income and expenses from the property itself. Income covers the rental payments you received while expenses covers your mortgage, repairs and maintenance, utilities, management fees and all other costs the property incurs.

If you pay points on the loan you used to purchase your rental property, you cannot deduct them completely from your taxable income like you can on a property purchased for residence. You must deduct the points over the whole length of your loan.

If your rental income from your property exceeds the expenses that the property incurred, that income is taxable.

If your property’s expenses are larger than the Schedule E rental income you accrued, you can deduct any losses from your taxable income if your non-property based income is less than $150,000 in the tax year. If you earned less than $100,000 in non-property income, you can deduct up to $25,000 of any losses your rental property incurred and if your non-property income is between $100,000 and $150,000, you can deduct up to $12,500. If you earn a non-property income above $150,000 you are not able to deduct any rental property losses from your taxable income.

If your earnings are above the threshold to deduct any rental property losses, you can amass losses as a counterbalance to capital gains taxes when you sell the property.

Speak to your tax adviser to see whether you can deduct rental losses from your taxable income or whether you can accrue losses against future capital gains taxes.

Tax Considerations When Selling Your Rental Property

When you sell a rental property, you are liable for capital gains taxes on your appreciation. It’s advisable that you seek out a tax adviser to give you an accurate breakdown of your costs and any profits that will be taxable as capital gains. However, there is a simple process to give you a rough idea of your net profit and estimate of your capital gains taxes.Take your property sale price and deduct the purchase price, cost of any modifications to improve the property, and all selling costs, including local taxes, agent fees, etc. The figure you are left with is your capital gain on the property, and based on your non-property income, you will have to pay up to 30% in federal and state taxes on your capital gains. Let’s see an example of how this formula works. If you bought a rental property 8 years ago for $200,000 and put 20 percent down with a standard 6% fixed rate 30 year mortgage, your current balance would be $140,435.If you made $10,000 in improvements to the property over the 8 years and sold it for $300,000, with no losses to offset you would be left with capital gains of around $69,000, after paying local taxes, agent fees, etc. Of the capital gains accrued you would have to pay somewhere between $17,000 and $21,000 in taxes, leaving around $120,000 from the sale of the property.

How To Minimize Rental Property Capital Gains Taxes

If you intend to buy a new rental property immediately after selling you can defer paying any capital gains taxes.The 1031 Exchange IRS benefit enables you to defer paying any capital gains taxes if you can identify, in writing, a new rental property within 45 days and complete the purchase of the property within 180 days of selling your previous rental property. To defer paying any capital gains taxes your new rental property should be of at least equal value of your sold property and you must invest all of the proceeds from your rental property sale.The 1031 Exchange defers and does not eliminate the taxes on the sale of your rental property. However, the IRS does not prohibit turning your new rental property into a primary residence in the future. Before taking part in a 1031 Exchange you should consult a tax advisor to ensure eligibility and how it relates to your unique tax situation.

Front yard landscaping for ranch-style homes

Designed by Cliff May in 1932, the ranch-style house was conceived specifically for California living.

Mr. May combined elements of the Spanish hacienda and Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style design and expanded on them to include large windows to bring the California landscape visually closer to the home’s interior.

Other identifying features of the ranch house include the long, low layout and the gable roof.

Ranch-style home landscaping goals

The main goals when landscaping the ranch house are to visually raise its low profile and soften its sharp, square silhouette.

While other plants, such as trees and grasses, help meet these goals, the right shrubs do double — and sometimes triple — duty.

Low-growing shrubs in the front bed also help preserve one of the ranch home’s key architectural elements: picture windows.

Break up the straight lines with curved planting beds

Widening the front planting bed to at least 4 feet, and curving it, helps break up the straight lines of the front of the ranch house.

As you design the curved bed, place the center curve directly in the center of the front of the house, curving toward the house.

Raising the bed 10 inches with topsoil helps bring the eye up when viewing the home from the street.

Shrubs

We referred earlier to the importance of shrubs when landscaping the yard in front of a ranch house.

Toward the front of the beds, plant shrubs that remain small and have a rounded growing habit, or tolerate heavy pruning to make them round.

Winter Gem or dwarf English boxwoods are ideal and will thrive in the shade cast by the house’s eaves.

Variegated or colored foliage, such as the soft yellow of the gold thread cypress, draws the eye away from the house’s low profile.

Balance is an important landscaping concept, so a tall, conical tree or shrub is something to consider planting.

Shrub Placement

Plant the low-growing shrubs in the front bed, set back from the edge, in the same arc as the bed. Consider the following:

  • Box-leaf Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Microphyllus’) USDA Zones 6 – 9
  • Prostrate white Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora ‘Prostrata’) USDA zones 6 – 9
  • Cream De Mint™ dwarf mock orange (Pittosporum tobira ‘Shima’) USDA Zones 8 – 11

Enter your ZIP Code here to find your growing zone.

Set larger shrubs, such as azaleas, or the conical tree, at the corners of the house to provide a definite end to the house’s long line. These corner plantings also add a vertical focal point.

Aim for an asymmetrical grouping of plants. Ranch houses are supposed to be informal and were designed for simple, casual living.

Spring lawn care schedule

Lush green lawns don’t happen without some serious help from the homeowner. Sure, grass may not die if not routinely cared for, but homeowners with a lawn-care schedule are the ones with the yards that are the envy of the neighborhood.

Spring is the perfect time to set about creating a lawn-care schedule. Stick to it and if it ever comes time to sell your home, its curb appeal will make it the belle of the local real estate market.

Early spring lawn care

After the gloom of winter, it’s tempting to want to jump outside and get started cleaning up what the season left behind. Tempting, yes. Wise, no.

Wait until the soil beneath the lawn is dry (or at least not sodden) and then get to work. Start by raking debris from the lawn. If it’s still a bit moist, work gently with a plastic leaf rake.

Grab a pocket knife and use it to dig out a plug from the lawn. Look particularly at the area of the plug between the soil and the grass. That layer is called thatch, a buildup of dead and living organic material between the soil and the grass blades.

If the thatch layer is more than ½-inch thick, the grass will end up rooting in that instead of the soil. This causes all kinds of problems, from making the lawn more susceptible to drought to providing safe haven for pests and disease organisms.

Dethatch the lawn by using a thatch rake. You can rent these at the big home improvement stores and learn how to use it by watching This Old House’s video at YouTube.com.

Avoid the crabgrass invasion

Crabgrass is that nasty, grassy weed that pops up when the weather warms and does its best to take over the lawn.

The best time to show crabgrass who’s boss is right now, before it shows up. Yup, it’s hiding under there, waiting for the just right time to pop from the soil.

And you can assert your bossiness by using a pre-emergent crabgrass control product. Not all of these products are safe to use on all grasses, so check the label to ensure it’s safe to use on yours.

Surflan is best for Buffalograss, for instance, since it doesn’t tolerate many of the herbicides on the market today. It’s even harder to find crabgrass control for St. Augustine lawns. Call the county extension office for ideas on what to use for our area and your specific grass type.

You’ll need a rotary spreader to apply pre-emergent weed treatment granules to the lawn and also for fertilizer application.

The first fertilizer application of the season

Wait until green-up has achieved at least 50 percent to apply your lawn’s first dose of fertilizer. Learn how to calculate how much fertilizer you need and how to apply it at YouTube.com.

If you plan on reseeding, you may want to wait until fall, but spring is the second-best time to do it. Ready for another video? Check out this one.

But, wait at least one month after fertilizing to reseed. And, if you’ve applied a weed killer, read the weed killer’s label to find out how long to wait to reseed.

Finally, mow the lawn. The first mowing of the season should be to 4 inches in height.

Now you can let the kids and pets out – that’s what lawns are for, right?

Easy ways to add more color to your home

Home improvement projects are missing from the list of Americans’ top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2019. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t undertake one or two this year, especially if what you do makes living in the home more relaxing. And changing up the color, even if it’s in small ways, can do just that.

Intimidated?

Intimidation is usually what stops homeowners from experimenting with color in the home. Despite learning the color wheel and all about complementary colors as kids, many of us still clench up when it comes time to choose a color that we’ll live with.

We scoured the internet for advice on how to choose a color you can not only live with but enjoy as well.

A good place to start

Looking at paint chips can be overwhelming if you do it for too long. Some industry professionals say the best way to start your search for a paint color is by doing so in short stretches of time.

Whether you’re standing in front of the paint chip rack at Home Depot or perusing colors on Pinterest or other online sites, don’t dwell on the process.

When you see a color that speaks to you, grab the swatch or save it to a color folder that you create on your computer. Don’t’ overthink the process. The idea is to go with your first reaction.

If it’s “I kind of like that one,” save it. You’ll revisit it later when it’s time to narrow your choices. Then, take it a step further and choose a lighter and a darker shade of that same color.

“Colors look brighter on the walls than they do on a tiny chip. You may be surprised by which you ultimately go for,” color expert Amy Krane tells Houzz contributor Tiffany Carboni

What to do with your new color

The choices are plenty. Consider:

  • Painting an accent wall. Remember, this wall will become the room’s focal point, so choose your wall carefully.
  • Accessorize with it. If you choose to start small with your new color, consider choosing fireplace mantel or coffee table accessories in the hue. Other ideas include sofa pillows, a throw or an area rug. The latter is especially useful in a smaller room because rugs make small spaces appear more inviting.
  • Painting just the trim with your new color. Unexpected pops of color are fun.

Color is the wonder drug for home interiors. It can make a space feel clean, new and energized or it can calm it down. It all depends on which you choose.

Find inspiration online at HGTV.com, BHG.com and, for ideas on how to add color to your home without picking up a paintbrush, head to ApartmentTherapy.com.