If you love the idea of filling your home with greenery and life, houseplants may be your next decor solution. But, if you are short on time because of your job or family, or simply don’t have a green thumb, it may seem impossible to take on this responsibility. There are, however, plenty of low maintenance plants out there for those who are either busy, inexperienced or have what they consider a black thumb. Here are five houseplants that you can add to your home without worry about them taking up too much of your time and energy.
If you’re looking for a stylish, yet low maintenance plant, this is a great start, especially for beginners. Snake plants thrive in any lighting or humidity conditions, making it a great choice for any space, whether the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or office. These plants also don’t need to be watered daily, but in fact can go two to three weeks between watering.
Similar to the snake plant, ponytail palm can thrive in almost any condition. Classified as a succulent, this plant doesn’t need water often, only every 2 – 3 weeks, or even longer. Though it doesn’t require direct sunlight, this plant would do best in a brightly lit space, such as a living room.
This is a great choice for a low maintenance indoor plant, especially for those who work in an office away from a window. They can thrive in very low light, but still do well in bright, direct sunlight. ZZ plants are able to store water in their stems, so even if you forget to water it for two weeks, it will still survive.
This adaptable house plant can survive in many environmental conditions and maintenance levels, making this a top option for black thumbs. They do extremely well in hanging planters and in both high, medium and low light. Though they require more watering, about every 1 – 2 weeks, they are known to be almost impossible to kill and can survive some neglect.
This is a stylish and unique option if you’re looking to add some greenery to your bathroom. Philodendrons thrive in humid environments and indirect sunlight. Because it likes humidity, this may not be a great option for bedrooms or living rooms, especially in warmer climates where the house is constantly air conditioned. If it is watered every 1 – 2 weeks, there is a high chance for growth within a year, however, growth also depends on the amount of light it receives.
No matter how hard you try to keep your home organized, you may find that either you or your family members have bad habits that undo all of your efforts. There are often hotspots around the house for clutter, from the kitchen to the bedroom, and once you fall into certain habits, they can be hard to break. Here are some common household habits that cause home clutter and solutions to keep your home organized.
Tossing Items Into a Closet
In almost every home, there is a closet that holds a bunch of different items. From linens to cleaning products to winter coats stored away, this space can quickly become a catch-all for things you don’t use daily or are simply hiding away when family and friends visit. With a cluttered closet like this, it can be hard to find the things you need.
Solution: Instead of tossing these items into the dark depth of a closet, create a system. Install shelves from the floor up. This will help determine how much space you have for storage. Use bins, baskets or boxes with labels so nothing will be missed. For items that don’t belong together, such as cleaning supplies and winter coats, find appropriate homes for these items in different areas of the home.
Throwing Mail on the Counter
One of the most common causes of kitchen clutter is stacking piles of mail and paper on the counter. Come home, check the mailbox, head inside and toss it out of your way, as the last thing you want to do after a long day is sift through your bills. Not only can this cause clutter and stress, but it also takes up valuable counter space.
Solution: Start with an organization system for your mail. Place a stylish, yet discrete tray on your entryway table or kitchen counter where you can place your mail until you are ready to read it. Avoid mixing important mail, like bills and insurance information, with junk mail, like menus and unwanted catalogs, by placing a simple, design-friendly waste basket in your entryway. Just be sure to take one or two days a week to go through your tray and empty out your wastebasket to keep it from overflowing.
Leaving Shoes Around the House
If you have a family full of children, it’s common to find their shoes strewn across the house. From a pile of sneakers in the entryway to a pair of shoes on the living room floor, this can quickly become a tripping hazard, in addition to adding unwanted clutter and dragging dirt and grime throughout your home.
Solution: Put a shoe rack in your entryway, mudroom or garage to keep shoes organized and reduce the amount of dirt tracked throughout your home. If you have a closet by your door, consider adding shelving to the bottom to create your own shoe rack that is also hidden behind the door, clearing up space to reduce clutter and tripping hazards. Consider putting shoe racks in every bedroom as well to store shoes for different seasons.
Piling Dirty (and Clean) Clothes on a Chair
Whether you get home from a tough workout at the gym or you are tackling multiple home chores at once, clothes often don’t find their way to the dresser, closet or hamper. Clean clothes may get folded, but never put away, sitting on a chair in your bedroom. Dirty clothes may end up piling up on the bathroom floor or in a corner of the bedroom. Either way, this causes clutter that can result in a musty smell and increased dust.
Solution: Invest in a few hampers with lids and place them in convenient locations throughout your home. Place one in the bathroom (or two, one for clothes and one for towels) and one in each bedroom for dirty laundry. This will give you a place to store your dirty laundry without being able to see it everywhere. For clean laundry, get in the habit of putting it away immediately. Keep spare hangers near the washer and dryer for easy organization. Working with labels on dressers and in bins and baskets in the closet can also prompt you to stick to an organizational system.
An outdoor living area is like an extension of the home that can serve many different purposes. From afternoons spent lounging around the pool to al fresco dinners with the family, the right design can provide you with a versatile setting that caters to any occasion. Here are a few of the most important considerations to take into account to get the most out of your next outdoor space.
During the warmer months of the year, there’s no better place to host a small group of family and friends than the backyard. That’s why so many luxury homeowners can appreciate an outdoor living area that’s built for entertaining with a seating area that everyone can gather around in the evening, and perhaps even a fire pit, audio system and outdoor lights to complete the ambience.
If you plan on enjoying dinner in the open air, then there are few key features to keep in mind. A designated spot for your dinner table is essential, and if it boasts a view, that’s even better. In addition to that, you’ll probably want an outdoor kitchen and barbecue area nearby where you can prepare wholesome meals while spending time with the rest of the family.
The backyard is a place to cut loose and have some fun, especially for those with young kids running around. You can ensure there’s never a dull moment with a luxurious swimming pool and spacious lawn where everyone can play games like croquet and bocce ball. For those who want to take it to the next level, a sports court or putting green are two more exciting features to have.
After a day of work, you might prefer to simply step outside to unplug and have some downtime. Your outdoor area should certainly be designed with this in mind, providing a place to immerse in nature and simply enjoy a little peace and quiet. A casual seating area where you can curl up with a book amidst mature trees and plantings is all it takes to create the perfect escape in your backyard.
The colors that you see on paint cans or cards in a store may not reflect the way the paint would look on your walls under different lighting. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a few samples and test them all in your home before you make a choice.
Lighting and Décor Can Impact Perception of Color
The lighting in a room will influence the way you see a paint color. Even if you use the same paint and the same number of coats on each wall, the shade on one wall may look different than those on other walls depending on the way light hits each section of the room. Those differences may be more pronounced than you would expect.
Natural lighting can change throughout the day, and the types of artificial lights, their locations and the brightness of the bulbs can affect the way the paint color looks. The furniture, curtains and artwork in a room can also affect your perception of paint colors and may therefore influence your choice. It’s important to take all those factors into account.
How to Choose a Color
Get at least three paint colors that are close to what you want. You can paint sections side by side on a wall to see differences between the shades and make comparisons. Make the sections at least 1 square foot and use two coats of paint. Painting swatches on walls that get different amounts of natural light and arranging furniture, lighting and other décor the way you plan to have it after you finish painting can help you see how everything looks together.
If you would rather not paint directly on the walls, you can paint sample boards or sample sizes of drywall and tape them to a wall. One of the benefits of that approach is that you can easily move sample boards from wall to wall to see how colors look under different conditions.
Don’t Rush to Make a Decision
Think about when you are most likely to be in the room and the amount and type of lighting that will be present. If you will spend a lot of time in the room during the day, focus on how each paint color looks in differing amounts of natural light. If you plan to use the room more at night, pay attention to how artificial lighting influences the way you perceive each color. Taking your time will help you be confident that you’re making the right decision.
A coffee bar is an increasingly popular home feature these days. With more people working from home and spending less time in cafes, it should come as no surprise that so many homeowners are creating a designated space specifically for a good cup of joe. Here are a few tips for designing the perfect coffee bar.
Pick the Location
Before you get started, take some time to consider the ideal spot. The kitchen or a nearby pantry is often the first choice, especially if it’s close to a breakfast nook where you enjoy your coffee each morning. Another option, however, is to place it in your home office, so you can stay energized throughout the workday without leaving your desk. Some homeowners even choose to put a coffee bar in the master suite, allowing them to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee the minute they roll out of bed.
Get the Appliances
The only piece of equipment that you really need, of course, is your preferred coffee maker, but there’s no reason why you have to stop there. A compact refrigerator will allow you to keep milk and cream nearby, and a sink will make it much easier to clean mugs if your coffee bar is not located in the kitchen.
Consider Your Storage Needs
Chances are you’ll appreciate having some storage available to keep all the essentials, like your favorite beans, mugs and more. The right amount of cabinets and shelving space will make all the difference and provide the utmost convenience during your daily java ritual.
Create a Mood
Don’t forget to have fun with the design. You can look to your favorite cafes or find inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest to design a stylish coffee bar that gets you excited each day. Whether you’re going for a chic and modern aesthetic or decorate with a few vintage and reclaimed objects, there are plenty of ways to create the perfect spot to channel your inner-barista.
Small rooms can feel cramped and uninviting. Incorporating the right paint colors and selecting appropriate light fixtures can create an optical illusion to make a tight space feel larger than it really is.
How to Choose the Right Color for Your Walls
Lighter colors, such as off-white and light shades of green and blue, can reflect more light than darker colors. That can help you capitalize on natural light and can make a small space seem more open. In a room that receives a large or moderate amount of natural light, painting the walls in a shade of white, light taupe, grey or pink can create an impression of space.
A dark paint color can be overwhelming in a large room, but it may work perfectly in a tighter space. Using a darker color, such as charcoal or black, on the walls can make a small room seem cozy. If you decide to use a dark paint color, balance it out by incorporating furniture and accessories with lighter hues.
How to Use Accent Colors to Make a Room Seem More Spacious
You may want to paint one accent wall in a different color than the rest of the space or use a lighter color for the trim and moldings than for the walls. Painting the walls and trim the same color is another way to make a small room seem more spacious. The lack of a visual difference from one area to another will make the ceiling seem higher. Painting the doors, trim and ceiling in a single color can also unify a space and make it feel larger and more open.
How to Choose the Right Light Fixtures
Don’t rely on only one source of light in a small room. That can cause the room to be bright in the center and darker in other areas. Instead, use multiple light fixtures and lamps to illuminate the space. You can incorporate a combination of overhead lights, wall fixtures and lamps to brighten the area and make it seem roomier.
If the room has a relatively high ceiling, take advantage of the vertical space by installing a light fixture that will hang down. That will draw people’s eyes upward and take their focus away from the room’s small footprint. Recessed lights, backlighting and light fixtures that draw attention to artwork and other focal points can brighten the entire space and make it feel larger and more open.
Consult a Design Professional
Choosing the right paint and lighting for your home can be complicated. Many variables can come into play, including the size and layout of the space, the locations of windows, the amount of natural lighting, your personal preferences and how your family will use the room. If you need advice, get in touch with a local interior designer.
Saving money can be difficult, and sometimes your frame of mind can hold you back. Here are some negative thoughts to overcome:
I Don’t Make Enough Money to Save
You are more than likely wrong about this one. Sometimes it’s about writing down your numbers and determining what you can cut and save on.
With the improving economy, it’s becoming even easier. Household incomes have been increasing and the unemployment rate has been falling the past few years, giving more people a chance to save. And many are doing it. The personal savings rate in the U.S. rose to 5.9 percent in March after rising steadily since 2013. But there’s room for improvement. The personal savings rate averaged 8.29 percent from 1959 until 2017.
I’ll Start Saving When I Earn More
How many times have you told yourself that you’ll start saving when your income rises enough so you can afford it? Unfortunately, this kind of thinking won’t get you anywhere. Expenses often increase as pay does, so putting off saving for this reason doesn’t mean you’ll do it later. Start now instead of waiting.
I’m Young. I’ve Got Decades to Save
Telling yourself that you’ll save later can affect your retirement planning. It’s a problem that can be dealt with later, the thinking goes, and it can be hard to imagine what will happen decades from now.
The value of compounding and saving early in life are explained on the website interest.com. Waiting only five years, not decades, can require a higher savings rate to reach a retirement goal of $1 million by age 65.
According to the site, if you save $405 per month by age 25 at an average annual return of 7 percent then you’ll have $1 million at age 65. But if you wait until you’re 30 to start saving then you’ll need to save $585 per month to reach that same goal.
It’s Too Difficult
Saving money isn’t easy, but it isn’t as difficult as you might think. Some apps can help. Digit monitors your spending and moves money from your checking account into savings when you can afford it. Meanwhile, a finance app, Acorns, automatically invests your spare change.
Some retirement plans take the work out of investing with target-date retirement funds. Workers select a fund closest to their retirement date and the portfolio changes automatically as they age—aggressive investing when they’re young and more conservative as they near retirement.
Enrollment in a 401(k) retirement plan can be automatic when a worker joins a company, allowing them to opt out if they want to. Employee contributions can also be automatically increased over time.
Whether you suffer from migraines, tension headaches or the occasional run-of-the-mill headache, there are limits to the value of over-the-counter meds, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. While they may bring pain relief in the short term, doctors say that overusing such meds can induce more frequent headaches in the long run and may even leave the sufferer resistant to other treatments.
Chronic headache sufferers and medical professionals offer six holistic tips for getting the best of headaches.
How medical debt and other collection items are tallied in a credit score is changing, potentially increasing the credit scores of millions of people.
Called the FICO 9, the new credit score changes how medical collections are treated from non-medical changes, such as credit cards. A medical debt will now damage a credit score less than paying a credit card bill on time, for example.
FICO 9 came out in 2014, but the improved credit scores could just now be coming to fruition for many consumers because it can take a few years for banks and other lenders to implement the new system.
The new FICO 9 score should give responsible borrowers better access to credit and lower rates on existing credit once the changes are accepted by the industry.
Part of the thinking behind the changes is that for many people facing medical debt collections, it isn’t something they have a lot of control over. People get sick or are in an accident and can’t control how high their medical bills are, and may not even know that their medical debt is in collections.
More than 64 million Americans have some kind of medical collection record on their credit reports, according to Experian, a credit bureau. Almost all medical debts are reported to credit bureaus by collection agencies.
The FICO score is the most widely used credit score in the country, and is used by companies selling mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and more.
Another change with FICO 9 is that older collection items will have less impact on a credit score. Other types of debt that are sold to a collection agency—such as an unpaid utility bill or phone bill, school loan or rent—can still be reported to a credit bureau, but older collections will have less impact on a credit score. If the collection item is paid back, the score will improve.
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When people are searching for a home to buy, they think about more than the purchase price. They consider the overall cost of ownership, including utility bills. Rising energy costs have affected homeowners across the country and people naturally want to find ways to keep those bills under control. Many people are also conscious of the impact that their lifestyle has on the environment and want to reduce their energy usage.
Potential buyers may choose a house that has undergone upgrades to make it more energy efficient over another house that is less efficient. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the next few years, making some improvements now can save you money while you live in the house and may help you attract a buyer in the future.
Figure Out Where to Make Changes
Contact your local utility company to schedule a home energy audit. A representative will inspect your windows, insulation, appliances and other features to identify areas where your home is wasting energy and recommend ways to make it more efficient.
If your house has leaks around the windows, you may be letting cold air enter and letting warm air escape in the winter. In the summer, hot air may be coming in and cooled air may be escaping. That means that a lot of the energy used to heat and cool your house may be wasted. Installing new, more efficient windows can help you avoid wasting energy. Increasing the amount of insulation in the attic, basement and crawlspace can also help you control the indoor temperature.
With a programmable thermostat, you can avoid spending money to keep your home heated or cooled when no one is there. Instead, you can automatically adjust the thermostat so the house will be at your desired temperature when you and your family are home.
Older appliances may use a lot more electricity and water than newer ones. Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances may dramatically lower your utility bills and make your home more appealing to prospective buyers.
Make Smart Long-Term Investments
It can be difficult to know whether a renovation or a remodeling project would be worthwhile, but energy efficiency improvements are almost always a wise investment. Making your home more energy efficient can save you money while you live in the house. If you stay there for several years, you may recoup most or all of your investment.
Those upgrades can also help you get a higher price when you eventually sell your house. People who are concerned about the environment and who want to save money may be willing to pay more up front to enjoy lower utility bills each month. If you decide to sell your home in the future, discuss any energy efficiency upgrades you have made with your real estate agent so they can be highlighted in the listing.
Great information in this one!