Month: May 2012

Light Up Your Summer Nights

5 Tips and Ideas For Outdoor Lighting

1. It doesn’t have to be fancy

Hang inexpensive pendant lights — or make your own, like HGTV’s designer Jamie Durie did here out of candle holders and basic pendant lights on a cord.

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(photo from

2. Light the way

Nothing’s more romantic than softly lit pathways winding their way through the night, whether you tuck lights above in the branches or nestle them low to the ground.

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3. Mix it up

Different areas call for different light — although you’ll need plenty of strong task lighting around your grill area, dimmable lighting, or even a chandelier with real candles, will provide light and ambience for your dining area.

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4. One if by land, two if by sea

Lanterns are lovely to look at and quite practical. Enclosed in glass or metal, their light is protected from wind and rain. They can be hung, placed on tables, or on the ground near pathways and steps.

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5. Use your holiday lights all year round

Holiday string lights (make sure they are rated safe for both indoor and outdoor use) are perfect for your summer backyard — they can be strung across the top of your patio, around trees, along fences — the possibilities are endless.

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For more outdoor lighting design ideas and installation tips, visit these resources:

Pinterest for Homeowners

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, innovation, or procrastination — you’ll find it on Pinterest.

1. home & furniture

Nearly three million users follow this board full of design ideas and products for the home.

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2. Storage Solutions

“So many things, so little space. Imagine the perfect storage solutions for every room in the house and even outside in the garden.”

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3. Small things that work very well

“This is about utility and function, the small workhorses that smooth out the bumps of daily life.”

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4. closet love

From fantasy two-story closets to simple ways to dress up an ordinary closet, this board has a closet-ful of ideas to offer.

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5. Creative Storage

From the bathroom to the kitchen, books to art supplies, baskets to armoires, this board has storage on the brain.

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6. home goods

One of the most popular home décor boards, Jonathan Lo pins photos of Tom Ford’s London house, gorgeous furniture, color trends, and nifty products.

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7. Outdoor Yard Inspirations

Ideas for outdoor spaces and style from Japanese serenity to English cottage romance and more.

8. Garages

Storage ideas, nifty gadgets and handy projects to make the most of your garage space.

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9. Home Remodeling

Tips, resources, videos and design advice to “make the most difference” in your home.

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10. cleaning tips + tricks

Gathering cleaning tips — like a no-scrub cleaning method for your microwave — cleaning tips sites and resources and must-have cleaning products, this board helps you keep your home spic and span.

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This Summer, GYOV — Grill Your Own Veggies

3 Reasons It’s Easier Than You Think to Grow Your Own Produce

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1. You don’t need as much space as you think

Square foot gardening is an alternative to traditional “row gardening” that offers more produce from less space, time and effort. A gardening method tailor-made for beginners, it is also great for experienced gardeners.

  • An area just four feet by four feet can hold about 130 plants and yield enough produce to feed one person all summer long.
  • Square foot gardens use about 20 percent of the space and 10 percent of the water to produce the same amount of vegetables as traditional gardens.
  • Spend less money on tools, supplies and seeds — the only tool you’ll need is a hand trowel and rather than sprinkling seeds widely, you plant them according to precise formulas.
  • To learn more about square foot gardening, check out Building a square foot garden on Journey To Forever, Square Foot Gardening, the non-profit organization and 9 Reasons You Should Try Square Foot Gardening on HouseLogic.


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2. You don’t even need a yard – you can garden in containers

Perfect for beginners, container gardening is one of the easiest ways to grow your own vegetables. If you don’t have space in your yard (or you don’t have a yard), you’ve never grown vegetables before, or you’re put off by weeding and watering, container gardening might be just your ticket.




3. You can be better at it than you think

With the nearly infinite resources available at your local home store and online, it’s easier than ever to get your garden right.

When Form Meets Function Meets Frugality

Ceiling fans are one of the unsung heroes of home décor — and here’s why:

1. Fans are…  energy efficient

Consider this: ceiling fans use a fraction of the energy as air conditioning and can reduce the temperature in a room by up to eight degrees. Ceiling fans can now qualify for an Energy Star rating — Energy Star fan/light fixtures are more than 50 percent more efficient than other fan/light units.

2. Fans are.. simple

Ceiling fans are easier and less expensive to install and maintain — a good handyman should be able to handle anything that comes up.

3. Fans are… not just for summer

Most ceiling fans available these days offer forward and reverse direction for the blade rotation. In the cold weather, reversing the direction of the blades will help move heated air that has risen to the ceiling out to the edges of the room and down the walls, maximizing your heat and helping to reduce heating costs. 

4. Fans are… good for outdoors too

Installing ceiling fans in outdoor patios, porches and decks can make a huge difference in the comfort of your outdoor space. Creating a constant breeze and air flow, fans can combat not only the heat, but also bugs.

Small DIY Projects With a Big Impact

3 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value Up To $7,000

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HomeGain released its annual home improvement and home staging survey for 2012 last week — questioning 500 real estate agents across the country regarding the top 10 DIY home improvements under $5,000 that home owners should make to increase the value on their home, weighing both cost and ROI. (For the full list from HomeGain, click here.)

Fundamentally, the practical value of your home, or anything for that matter, is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. So the more appealing your home is to buyers, the more valuable it will be — and the trick to that is presenting a home buyers can imagine themselves living in. And the more of an ideal, fantasy-worthy home you can create, the more buyers will salivate to move right in.

Which makes it hardly a surprise that the number one project on the list is one that will most likely cost more time than money — and for many, require ruthless determination.

“Less is more.”
~Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (famous architect)

#1 — Clean and de-clutter

For the tenth year in a row, cleaning and de-cluttering your home ranks as the number one recommendation by agents to increase the value of your home. Back to that “ideal fantasy home” you are creating — don’t most people dream of living an organized, clutter-free life? Walking into a home that feels that way instantly creates a “boy, I wish my home looked like this” feeling.

According to the survey, the average cost of de-cluttering a home is $402 and the average value benefit is $2,024 — giving a 403% ROI.

#2 — Lighten and brighten

You can’t appreciate — or covet — what you can’t see. Not only do plentiful light and bright windows (cleaned and unblocked) shed light on your home, light rooms are inviting and friendly. While mood lighting has its place and time, when you want to show your home to its best advantage, light up the joint. When museums mount an exhibition, the first thing planned is the lighting. Place table or floor lamps in dark corners, make sure every bulb is working, and think about putting light in unexpected places — like closets and counter tops.

According to the survey, the average cost of lighting and brightening a home is $424, with an average value benefit of $1,690 — giving a 299% ROI.

“The devil is in the details.”
~Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (again)

#3 — Repair electrical & plumbing

Think about your ideal home — wouldn’t it be one where everything just… works? It probably wouldn’t be one where the hall light doesn’t turn on when you flip the switch, or where the kitchen faucet drips incessantly. While everyone has lived with a blown bulb for days before changing it, nobody goes out of their way to do so.

According to the survey, the average cost of electrical and plumbing repairs for a home is $808 with an average value benefit of $3,175 — giving a 293% ROI.

One chance to make a first impression

Ultimately, you want your home to feel perfect to buyers. When they walk in, you want them to feel that your home is not only a home they could live in, but a home they want to live in — a home where faucets don’t leak, closets are organized, lights always come on, keys are always where you put them, toilets don’t run — a home where life runs smoothly.