Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Six tips to liven up your laundry room

Check out these tips from Jenny, The Home Depot, Tide and Maytag for the Brilliant HE Clean campaign on how to create more efficient and enjoyable laundry rooms:

*Dealing with a dark, cave-like laundry room is a chore in and of itself. By taking off the doors on a few of your upper cabinets, you'll open up the space and create a place to store baskets. Assign baskets for every member of the house, which makes sorting a breeze.

*Why not decoupage or paint the insides of your cabinets for a fun pop of color? It's a guaranteed smile each and every time you reach for your detergent. Also don't ignore the door. Adhere some cork panels on the inside of the cabinet doors and create a space to pin all those stain removal tips.

*Don't like the cabinets, floors and countertops in your laundry room? Every surface can be painted or resurfaced. Update your laundry room with paint and a concrete overlay for less than $30 in materials. Say goodbye to the outdated linoleum, brick pavers and old, dark cabinets.

*A rolling laundry butler can be your best friend, doing triple duty with a hanging bar, a rolling basket and a drying rack. It's the perfect choice for smaller laundry rooms that haven't been updated in a few decades.

*Don't neglect your laundry room walls. Hanging interesting art and mirrors will elevate your room and make it feel less utilitarian and a little homier. Suddenly those 400 loads of laundry most of us will do this year might actually be enjoyable.

*A folding station makes all the difference. Use a slab of stone or a simple piece of painted medium-density fiberboard (MDF) on top of washer/dryer units to create a folding station that also prevent socks from slipping in between the appliances.

Learn more about the campaign and enter to win a $5,000 laundry room redesign from Jenny and a Maytag Washer and Dryer by visiting www.tideandmaytag.com.

Escape from reality by creating at-home retreats

Life is hectic. And although technology has made our lives easier to multitask and stay connected, it also means that no matter where you go, it's hard to fully escape. While traveling to a remote island to get away for peace and relaxation would be a wonderful retreat, you can easily avoid the hustle and bustle of your daily routine by creating peaceful escapes throughout your own home.

Bliss in the bath

The bathroom is the only place where you can shut the door and have complete "you time" with little to no interruptions. "As people's lives get busier, multitasking is the norm - and our time in the shower is no exception," says Jack Suvak, senior director of market research and insights for Moen. With 54 percent of respondents to a recent survey on showering behaviors saying they have children living at home, a shower means a bit of precious alone time, and people take full advantage of the peace to think about the day, their lives and more.

To add a bit of bliss in the bath, add a spa-like shower with multiple spray settings to meet every mood. The Moen Caldwell Shower Combination offers a spa of multiple sprays and a variety of spray patterns - creating the perfect shower retreat. The collection features an incredible selection of options - both a five-setting wallmount showerhead and a five-setting handheld showerhead with five unique spray settings. And the best part? It won't cost a fortune.
"It's been interesting to watch how the bathroom - and the shower in particular - has become a therapeutic retreat in homes of any size," says Rebecca Kolls, senior director home strategist at Iconoculture, a Corporate Executive Board company. "Living today is a juggling act. Consumers want balance, peace and tranquility, and that is now as easy as stepping into the shower. An effective showerhead brings an experience that's as good as it gets - the golden ticket for relaxation whenever someone wants, or needs, it.

It's a step away."

It's time to truly enjoy your shower and create the ultimate getaway. After all, you deserve it. And the multiple spray settings of the Caldwell collection are perfect for everyone in the house, with a slide bar that allows users to easily adjust the handheld showerhead up or down to the preferred height with just the push of button.
Escape%20from%20reality%20by%20creating%20at-home%20retreats Zen in the den
The TV is blaring, the phone is ringing off the hook, and power cords from everything from the Blu-ray, to the Wii, to the table lamp are refusing to stay neatly tucked away. Your den area might be a go-to hangout place, but it's still easy to create peace among the chaos.
De-cluttering is one of the simplest things you can do to create order and a sense of calm. Remove items that haven't been used in months and get rid of furniture that serves little to no function. The less clutter your den has, the better you'll feel. It's also important to open the windows whenever possible. Less mess and fresh air can easily change the outlook of a room.

Perfection on the patio

Don't let that drab patio furniture or lackluster backyard get you down this season. A few pieces of bright colors can really change your outlook. Start off by planting flowers to spruce up the look of your space - no matter how small. Even if you don't have a yard to put them in, flowers can be housed in pots, on balcony railings and even hung from the ceiling. They are the perfect addition of color and soothing smells.

Another great idea is to update your seating areas on your patio. A comfortable rocker, glider or lounge chair could be the perfect addition to create an inviting area for you to escape in a book or relax and unwind socializing with friends. If you already have seating, create an attractive and comfortable update with seat cushions, which can be found for reasonable prices at local retail stores and even outlets - giving your wallet a break.
Follow these tricks, and you'll be on your way to feeling great, inside and out.

For more information about Moen and its products, call (800) BUY-MOEN or visit moen.com.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Save money and do a world of good with reusable containers

Good news. There are simple ways to save money especially if you go back to the time-honored concept of BYO - "bringing your own" container of coffee, lunch or water as part of your daily routine. This can do a world of good not only for your pocketbook, but also for the environment, and even your health. Here are some tips to get you started:

* Bring your own coffee or tea

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 billion foam cups each year. And 500 years from now, those cups will still be sitting in a landfill. Despite the convenience of foam cups, small changes such as bringing coffee or tea in a reusable container can have both an environmental and economic impact.

For example, Genuine Thermos(R) Brand makes a vacuum insulated commuter bottle that will keep a beverage hot for eight hours or cold for 12 hours. Not only is this great for a day at the office or running errands around town, it saves the cost of purchasing beverages day in and day out. If you still like an occasional custom-made coffee or chai latte, some retailers will fill your own bottle.

* Bring your own lunch

Many grownups still have fond memories of a school lunchbox featuring their favorite TV or movie character. Bringing your own lunch in an insulated lunch carrier is a good way to keep your favorite foods fresh and tasty, and a smart way to save money. According to a report in Time magazine, bringing your lunch to work can cut your weekly costs by 80 percent.

To keep foods fresh while on the go, insulated reusable containers are an ideal option. They come in all shapes and sizes to keep snacks or lunch foods hot or cold for hours, saving you the cost of going out and making it easier to stay away from unhealthy temptations.

* Keep yourself hydrated

As you get in the habit of bringing your own reusable portable container, don't neglect the one thing every human needs for basic good health - water - to help you hydrate throughout the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Lack of appropriate water intake can lead to dehydration, draining your energy and making you feel tired.

The Institute of Medicine determined that adequate water intake for men is roughly 104 ounces and is roughly 72 ounces for women. Instead of purchasing bottled water in containers that will also end up in landfills, bring plenty of your own water in a portable, reusable container. One easy option for quenching thirst while on the go is the 24 oz. Hydration Bottle with Meter that is made of BPA-free Eastman(TM) Tritan and has a rotating meter built into the lid to help keep track of your daily water consumption.

Embracing the bring-your-own mentality can make a world of difference economically and environmentally. So, take the first step to "bringing your own" on May 23, which is the inaugural National Fill Your Thermos Brand Bottle Day, and celebrate the doing-good and money-saving power of the reusable container.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Greener decorating for your deck and patio

If you're planning some outdoor decorating or renovating this summer, here are some tips to make your exterior living spaces green and inviting:

Eco-friendly construction materials

For many homeowners, decks and patios are key elements of outdoor living spaces. If you plan to add either this summer, be sure to look for environmentally friendly materials like natural stone or responsibly harvested wood. When choosing wood, look for products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) as having been harvested following sustainable principles that minimize the impact on the environment. If you're building a patio, choose reclaimed brick or stone pavers that have been recycled from other installations. If you can't find reclaimed pavers, look for natural stone that's been quarried locally or bricks that have been locally produced to minimize the energy spent on transporting the products.

The Sierra Club recommends you seek a deck builder that is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. These builders will have advanced knowledge of eco-friendly practices.

Icing the cake

The accessories - furniture and decor items - that you add to your outdoor environment should be as green as possible, too. Choose patio and deck furniture made from eco-friendly materials, such as recycled plastic (but avoid anything that contains PVC), reclaimed wood or FCS-certified wood. Rehabilitating older iron or wood furniture is also a great way to achieve a singular look while keeping those items out of landfills.

Opt for decor items that minimize their impact on the environment while providing maximum impact on how great your space looks. For example, a wallpaper mural can create an eye-catching focal point and set the tone for your outdoor room. Yet traditional mural painting can be expensive and traditional wallpaper can involve less-than-eco-friendly paste. A removable wallpaper mural creates a striking visual in outdoor spaces without the need for paste or glue. Murals Your Way offers a high-end product that can be moved and reused hundreds of times without losing adhering qualities. Plus, it clings to virtually any flat surface, including glass. You can choose from a myriad of graphic patterns, nature scenes and other images, or have the company produce a custom mural from your original photograph or artwork. Learn more at www.muralsyourway.com.

Continue the eco-friendly theme with lighting for your deck and patio. It's easy to find a variety of solar-powered accent lights online and in home improvement stores across the country. You can even find decorative post caps for your deck railing that are solar-powered. Solar lights create a soft glow at night and provide accent illumination without the expense - and carbon impact - of electric power.

Finally, as you're landscaping, keep sustainability in mind. By choosing plants native to your region, you not only minimize the transportation impact involved in getting the plant from the production point to point-of-sale, you can also ensure they'll require less watering and work to thrive.

Plants native to your environment are pre-disposed to do well in your backyard. Be sure to choose plants that will do well in your particular setting, too. For example, if your backyard is very shady, plant greenery that requires less sun. If your yard gets a lot of sun throughout the day, choose plants that can stand up to hours of sunlight without the need for extensive irrigation. Check with your local agricultural extension to find out what plants will do well in your environment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a free online listing of extensions throughout the country.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Three ways to give energy savings the green light in your home

Red means stop, green means go - we learn that axiom as children. When it comes to home energy costs, however, going green can help homeowners put a stop to runaway utility bills. And maximizing your home's use of natural light - call it green lighting - is a great way to boost your home's energy efficiency.

Here are three ways you can put Mother Nature to work, and use natural light to lower your energy costs:

Minimize use of artificial lighting

Anyone who's ever paid an electrical bill knows that the simple act of turning on a light can directly impact your monthly expenses. Homeowners looking for a long-term way to power down their lighting costs may consider Energy Star-qualified skylights a good investment. While skylights' cosmetic appeal can't be argued, their value goes far beyond good looks.

By admitting natural light into your home, skylights can help reduce use of artificial light sources - and help you save on electricity costs. Pair powered venting skylights that come with automatic rain sensors with efficiency-enhancing accessories like designer blinds (available in a varied palette of colors and patterns), and you can improve energy efficiency as much as 37 percent, according to skylight manufacturer Velux America. And, with tubular products like Sun Tunnel skylights, you can even bring natural light into ground-floor rooms or spots where a traditional skylight may not work, such as a first-floor powder room, hallways, or walk-in closets.

Reduce hot water costs

Long gone are the days when solar powering your home was an idealistic, but impractical dream. Solar technology is more useful, accessible and cost-effective than ever. Solar water heating systems are becoming mainstream, and offer homeowners a great, green way to trim energy costs. What's more, the cost of installing these systems has been steadily declining as the technology advances, and you may find adding one makes you eligible for tax credits or incentives from your local, state or the federal governments. You can calculate the costs and possible paybacks online at www.veluxusa.com.

Make home a healthier place

Every year, ill health costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars, experts say, and your own health woes can have a significant impact on your pocketbook. The health benefits of natural light are well-documented, from reducing the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and promoting the body's production of Vitamin D, to improving mood and even learning ability.

Simply opening blinds and curtains to admit more natural light can directly affect the mood inside your home - not to mention the mental state of the people living in it. Take your green lighting efforts to a higher level by adding venting skylights, and you can also help improve the air quality inside your home. While skylights admit ample natural light, their natural chimney effect works with your windows to bring in and circulate much more healthful fresh air. They also passively vent fumes and dampness that can lead to mold and mildew.

By incorporating natural light and passive ventilation into their home decor and improvements, homeowners can put the brakes on rising utility costs - and give the green light to energy savings.