The Right Way to Pick a (Gorgeous!) Color Scheme for Your Home

Because the wrong paint job can seriously wreck your home.

Start With a Neutral And Two Other Colors

When choosing a palette, start with three colors. Three is a balanced number, and it gives just enough visual interest without overwhelming you.

Choose a neutral shade and add two more tones, all of which should come directly from your inspiration piece. As you put your palette together, keep in mind your neutral color should be in every room. That’s what helps pull the whole-house palette together.

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Add More Colors

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to three colors.

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Until next time….

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The Right Way to Pick a (Gorgeous!) Color Scheme for Your Home

Because the wrong paint job can seriously wreck your home.

First, Find Your Inspiration

Rather than picking a palette from a big box store’s paint brochures or from whatever Pinterest’s algorithm serves you up, look into your own soul. Or, at least, into your closet or out your window.

“Designers always have a starting point,” says interior designer Maria Killam, who also writes the “Colour Me Happy” blog.

It might be a favorite sweater or a photo of your favorite beach spot.

Or it could be a feeling you want your home to have: cheery, bright, dramatic, cozy … whatever feels right to you.

For Killam, it was a feeling of “fresh.” So she used a mix of flowers and foliage to come up with her inspiration:

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For HomePolish designer Melissa Mascara, wallpaper patterns inspired her palette.

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Learn (Just a Bit) About Undertones

Paint color undertones have the power to make or break your whole-house color palette — and you’re not alone if your response to that is, “Under-whats, now?”

If you’ve ever had a beige that looks just right in the can, but turns an ugly shade of pink on the wall, it’s a red undertone to blame. And it happens because undertones are almost impossible to see in the can.

But you need to because the undertones in your home’s cabinets and counters can bring out the undertones you can’t see in your palette — like that ugly pink beige mentioned above. White cabinets with a green undertone could be the culprit that changed it to something sickly.

Until next time….

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11 Striking Ways to Add Color to Any Room

#1 Paint the Inside of Your Cabinets

Because anyone can paint the doors, but getting rid of them and painting the inside is more interesting.

Using the same color on the cabinet’s back panel and the wall behind them adds continuity to the space.

#2 Paint Your Office Your Favorite Color

Because in there, you’re the boss.

The trick to making a bold palette work? Favorite color + white + contrasting color = smashing room.

#3 Dare To Have A Bright Ceiling

Because you get a pop of color by painting just one surface.

#4 Choose Retro Hues

Because throwback colors turn cookie cutter into quirky cool.

You can’t beat a kitchen makeover for the cost of a gallon of paint and new cabinet hardware.

#5 Add Wow With Wallpaper

Because wallpaper’s back, and it’s not your grandma’s tea-rose print circa 1948.

Today’s wallpaper features bold prints and colors (and can even be temporary).

#6 Focus on the Floor

Because a bright color underfoot can add big personality to a neutral room.

#7 Paint the Window Trim

Because you don’t have time to repaint the entire kitchen.

Add pizzazz in an afternoon by painting a window pane’s trim a bright color. Just that.

You’ll get an instant focal point to distract from the clutter that never seems to totally leave the kitchen. For maximum impact, choose a color complementary to the cabinets.

#8 Don’t Re-Tile A Backsplash, Stick Decals On It

Because putting fancy tiles on a wall is expensive and a big commitment.

And unnecessary.  Peel, stick, done. And if you hate them or just get tired of them? Pull off, throw away, done.

#9 Choose a Bold Hearth Hue

Because you can get a big bang of bold color by painting just one key thing.

Give your room an instant focal point by painting the fireplace, bricks, wood, and wall above it a single, brilliant color. Keep the rest of the room furnished simply and neutral, so the fireplace can be the star of the show.

#10 Paint the Backside Of A Door

Because it’s a great place to tuck in unexpected color.

This is especially effective in spaces that are otherwise neutral, like a bathroom. Because a door is a small surface, you can go bold without overpowering the room.

#11 Turn A Bedroom Ceiling Into Art

Because you spend a lot of time looking at it, so it should be interesting.

*Info provided by Houselogic

Until next time….

7 Painting Hacks to Get the Look of a Pro — Without the Pro Price

#1 Soak Brushes in Fabric Softener to Keep Brushes Soft

Every DIY painter has been privy to the horrors of a day-old brush with stiff bristles that makes round two nearly impossible.

To keep paint brushes soft:

  1. Rinse thoroughly (no soap).
  2. Mix half a cup of fabric softener with a gallon of warm water
  3. Swish brushes in the mixture for 10 seconds or so.
  4. Lay them flat or hang them on a peg for overnight storage.

“That way, the bristles won’t develop a bend and will retain their usefulness for your next painting adventure,” says Artem Filikov, vice president of marketing and product development for home improvement website HomeYou.

Also, there’s no need to rinse before using. The softener actually helps distribute paint more smoothly.  Sweet!

#2 Use Plastic Wrap to Prevent Mishaps

When painting around a large, awkward item you want to keep clean, like a toilet or a standalone sink, surround it with plastic wrap to keep drips from destroying its finish.

For an extra tight wrap, choose a wrap with an adhesive backing — your hardware store will even carry special painter’s plastic wrap, if you really want to go all out — which will help it stick to the surface and prevent the odd drop from inching its way in. Once you’ve finished the job, just unwrap for a paint-free finish.

#3 Use Vanilla and Lemon Extracts to Reduce Paint Odor

Paint’s intense odor can get really old really fast. Overpower it with a little bit of vanilla.

Although there are vanilla-scented products specifically designed to use with paint, you can get the same effect with what’s in your kitchen cabinet.

For darker paints, add a couple drops of vanilla extract (artificial is fine) per gallon to reduce the nasty smell and keep your room smelling sweet for weeks to come.

Because you don’t want the tint of vanilla to ruin the color of your paint, swap it with lemon extract for light-colored paints.

#4 Repurpose Old T-Shirts as Rags to Reduce Waste

Painting’s a messy job, but using roll after roll of paper towels is neither efficient nor environmentally-friendly.

And while you could pick up a mega-pack of plain cotton towels to keep paint from splattering, why not use something you can find stuffed at the back of a drawer?

Geoff Sharp, the owner of Sharper Impressions Painting Co., recommends cutting up old T-shirts to use as rags, saving money and resources (not to mention a trip to Goodwill).

“If paint runs down your roller or brush, it gets really messy, really quick,” he says. “Always have a rag in your pocket so you and your brush or roller stay clean.”

#5 Keep Q-tips Handy for Mistakes

Oh no! A drop of Naples Sunset just splashed on your white window frame. You’ve only got a few minutes to clean up the mess before your mistake is sealed for eternity.

That’s where Q-tips come in handy. Just stash some in your pocket for these types of emergencies.

Here’s another use for that pile of cotton swabs tucked in your jeans pocket: Use them to touch up imperfections on newly-painted walls without dirtying an entire paintbrush.

#6 Put Petroleum Jelly on Small Spots You Don’t Want Painted

A little bit of Vaseline can go a long way toward keeping your paint job clean.

Using a Q-tip (another reason to keep them handy), go over all the bits and pieces you don’t want painted, like screws or hinges. With the petroleum jelly applied, even an accidental slip won’t leave you heartbroken.

Here’s another tip for a hassle-free paint job: “Run petroleum jelly along the seals of your doors and windows to prevent them from sticking,” Sharp says.

#7 Use a Hair Dryer on Painter’s Tape for Easy Removal

Painter’s tape is supposed to make your paint job easier and stress-free.

But when strips of perfect paint peel off along with the adhesive — or you just can’t get the darn tape to come off at all — you might feel like you wasted your effort.

To help stubborn painter’s tape get a move on, turn a hair dryer (low heat only) toward your handiwork.

Holding it about three inches from the wall will help soften the adhesive and ensure an even line, making removal a stress-free affair — and ensuring you keep that dreamy, crisp paint line.

Until next time….

*info provided by

9 Gorgeous Kitchen Materials That Are Practically Indestructible

#1 Laminate for Countertops

Don’t worry — laminate won’t make your kitchen look like great-grandma’s lime-green tabletop. And it won’t stain like hers either.

This affordable and heat-, stain-, and water-resistant material has undergone quite a makeover. “The old stereotypes about the way it used to look aren’t really as true anymore,” says Ebony Stephenson, a certified kitchen and bath designer.

In fact, with super-realistic marble and granite patterns, you can be in a kitchen with laminate these days and not even know it.

What’s more, laminate is now is available in 5-by-8-foot sheets, which means it replicates pricey granite, marble, or butcher block with fewer joints. That means fewer moisture problems, too.

#2 Quartz for Kitchen Countertops

At the other end of the price spectrum, coveted quartz countertops carry a hefty price tag. But they also carry a pretty big promise: no maintenance — ever. “You don’t have to do anything to it at all.” Stephenson says.

Yeah. In case you weren’t aware, you’re supposed to maintain other countertops.

Unlike marble and granite, the manufactured quartz defies stains, mold, mildew, and bacteria with no sealing required.

As “Consumer Reports” found, hot pots, serrated knives, and abrasive pads also can’t mar quartz. And unlike stone, it doesn’t even need a special (and pricey) cleaner.

For an extra hardy variety, look for quartz composed of 93% or more quartz and 7% resins, says Adam Gibson, a certified master kitchen and bath designer based in the Indiana Design Center. They’re more expensive, but less likely to chip or stain.

#3 Luxe Vinyl Floors

We know what you’re thinking: “Luxury … vinyl?”

But it’s more than just marketing spin. Today’s luxe stuff has thicker layers that better prevent shoe scuffs, scratches, and tears.

In fact, vinyl requires less care than linoleum, which is susceptible to moisture, and tile, which comes with dirt-catching grout. The sheets come in 12-foot-wide rolls, so in most homes, “you can cover the floor in one big sheet, with no seams,” Stephenson says.

“It’s very easy to sweep up since crumbs can’t get stuck in cracks.” Vinyl planks and tiles, likewise, are a snap to clean with a broom and mop, since they click tightly together.

#4 Glazed Ceramic Tile Floors

If you love the look of tile and grout (after all, it is a classic), glazed ceramic tile is a no-brainer. It will literally outlast you.

It’s immune to moisture, shrugs off stains and acidic foods, and simply wipes clean. The tiles offer endless design possibilities and don’t require sealing, like stone surfaces do. The glazing pretty much does that.

There are many types of glazed ceramic tile. Porcelain is the hardest and densest — making it the most impervious to moisture.

But it can be a budget-killer if you’ve got a lot of floor. (Most glazed ceramic tile costs about $2 a square foot. Porcelain can cost double that — or more.)

But with so many styles and colors to choose from, you can find a glazed ceramic tile you love, porcelain or not, that fits your budget — and will take a beating.

#5 Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel may feel a bit, well, basic, but there’s a reason it’s always around.

In addition to complementing both modern digs and country kitchens, it outperforms solid surfacing, acrylic, enameled steel, and cast iron in resisting stains, abrasions, high heat, and sharp impacts, like from a tumbling knife.

Enamel can crack and chip, for example. Solid surfaces and acrylic are much more prone to scratching.

Although the material has gotten a bad rap for fingerprints, they easily wipe away with a little lemon juice on a paper towel, says Dennis Gehman, a master certified remodeler.

And given the choice between a chipped sink and one with an occasional fingerprint? Door No. 2, please.

#6 Furniture-Grade Plywood Cabinets

Can anything less than solid wood handle your heavy stoneware and frequent slams with grace? Yep, and it costs a lot less.

Furniture-grade (literally, “grade A”) plywood is composed of pressed layers of alder, birch, or cedar, which gives it composite strength (read: super strong).

Plus, this fancy plywood won’t irreversibly swell from moisture, like particleboard can, and won’t warp like solid wood.

#7 Glazed Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Just like with floors, glazed ceramic tile is great for a backsplash, but if you can afford a small splurge, choosing porcelain here is a wise choice — because it is the toughest surface.

And your backsplash does take a beating — from splattered bits of tomato sauce to bits of cookie dough; it’s where grease splatters the most. All that gunk will simply wipe off. The tiles also don’t need to be sealed — ever — and they aren’t brittle like glass tiles, so they’re practically impossible to chip.

And they happen to be gorgeous, so there’s that, too.

#8 Stainless Steel Backsplash

Sheets of this fire-resistant material have long proved their mettle in busy restaurant kitchens.

The famously tough stainless steel won’t corrode as readily as other materials when splattered with tomato sauce, for example, and doesn’t have to be polished like brass or copper.

Using a single sheet eliminates seams and makes cleaning — with just soap and water—that much easier.

But that single sheet doesn’t have to be flat and boring. Stainless steel backsplashes come in fun, patterned varieties, including options that look like subway tiles from the future.

#9 Solid Brass Faucets

A hardy faucet that can take a licking starts with a solid brass body, which can resist corrosion from hard water.

When we say body, we mean the core material for the body of the faucet — not the plating, which determines the color.

Some faucets are made of plastic or a zinc alloy, which will begin to deteriorate once their plating  wears away. Boo.

The valve matters, too. Ceramic disc valves will last years without dripping, whereas cartridge valves have seals that can wear out, and ball valves have more components — providing a greater chance that something will break.

So check the box carefully when faucet shopping, or flag down a salesperson who knows their stuff to help you find the best pick.

Until next time….

*info provided by

5 Things That Will Totally Ruin Your Bathroom Remodel


#1 Wallpaper

In a high-steam area such as a bathroom, wallpaper may start to peel in a few years, according to some designers. In fact, steam is used to strip old wallpaper off walls.

Despite the many photos of stylish, wallpapered bathrooms in magazines, unless it’s a half-bath or guest bath that’s seldom used, skip it. Really want the unique look wallpaper provides? Try a solid vinyl wall covering instead. It won’t allow moisture to seep through.

#2 Laminate Flooring

Love the look and affordability of laminate flooring? Use it in another room. Water and laminate floors don’t mix. Even tiny amounts of water will seep between the planks, causing them to expand, peel, swell, and lift from the floor.

Even laminate manufacturers advise against installing in high moisture areas. The good news? There are plenty of other products out there that work extremely well in bathrooms. Take another look at linoleum. It’s eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and comes in a wide variety of looks.

#3 Slippery or Glossy Tile or Stone

Many ceramic, porcelain, and stone floors will become slippery in wet conditions. The more polished a tile, the more likely it will become slippery when wet.

Solution: Select your bathroom floor surface carefully, vetting each against slippery conditions. Look for tiles certified to meet slip-resistance standards specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

#4 Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Carpet, while soft and comfy, isn’t ideal flooring in a powder room. Not only is the ick factor apparent, especially around the toilet, but mold and mildew can build up, which can cause health issues. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically advises against carpeting bathrooms to avoid mold exposure.

If you really want the cozy touch of carpet in the bathroom, fluffy bath mats add color and comfort — and can be regularly laundered.

#5 Yellow Paint

When selecting paint colors, remember that color will appear more intense on your bathroom walls than it would in most other rooms, especially if the bathroom relies heavily on artificial lighting.

“In that smaller space, where the mirror multiplies the impact of the lighting, the walls tend to reflect and magnify color from other walls,” says Amy Bell, an interior decorator and owner of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, N.C. Be especially wary of yellow or other colors that contain yellow — even neutrals — as yellow can feel brash in a bathroom, and you won’t like what you see in the mirror. Instead, opt for grays with a hint of green or blue, which can feel spa-like.

Until next time….

*info provided by

4 Things to Do in February to Avoid a Yucky Spring

#1 Make an Anti-Mud Plan

Mud may be the least of your frozen worries now, but it’s a-coming.

Be prepared with a remediation plan. With your yard in its frozen-tundra state, you can easily see the troublesome spots.

Research potential ground cover, like gravel, a rain garden, decorative rocks, or the right grass that’ll soak it up. Then you’ll be ready to execute your anti-mud plan the moment it’s warm enough — and do it in time to keep the mud at bay.

#2 Organize Your Cleaning Closets and Laundry Room

Before the madness of spring cleaning begins, organize (or even renovate!) your laundry room and clean closets or cupboards.

This will not only breathe a new life into these oft-ignored areas, but perfectly pampered cleaning stations can seriously rev up your spring cleaning motivation.


#3 Deep-Clean Your Entryway

Snow. Salt. Boots. Shovels. Your entryway floors, baseboards, rugs, and more have had a rough few months. Give that smallest of rooms some deep cleaning love now, before the salt crust becomes a permanent part of your entryway decor in spring.

#4 Hail a Handyperson

Spring and summer are peak handyperson seasons. Skip the surge pricing and the agony of waiting for callbacks by hiring someone now. At least for the indoor chores.

Plus, you may be surprised at what outdoor chores can be done.

You’ll be spring-ready before the first flower buds.

Until next time….

*info provided by