Weekly home rail, with items on upgrading your kitchen, how to go green this winter, and more.
Tip of the Week
To design a kitchen that meets the multiple needs of today's modern family, including standing up to its daily wear and tear without breaking the bank, homeowners can transform their kitchens with a few tips and tricks from interior design experts and companies that have created more durable and affordable yet equally beautiful products.
- Begin redesigning your kitchen to address multi-functional needs with some smart planning, and consider remodeling in phases rather than all at once. Begin with the easiest area: replace aging countertops with materials that are beautiful yet durable and versatile. Counter space for food preparation can be optimized for laptops and other electronics while you keep an eye on dinner and the kids. Design at the appropriate height and allow space for your legs under the counter so that the same space can be converted to an ad-hoc desk when you aren't cooking.
- Incorporate a distinct play and work area for kids to do homework or create a crafting or game area for school and art projects, and family activities that can be tucked into a corner when not in use. Include flat-panel screens in a back splash or a separate lounge area adjacent to the workspace to entertain family and friends.
- Making the most of the countertop requires the right material for aesthetics and functionality. While there are numerous options, today's laminate countertops feature beautiful designs that mirror granite and other natural stones at a fraction of the cost, and with scratch-resistant finishes that are not only easy to clean but also resist common stains like peanut butter, permanent marker and red wine. Because laminates are made from recycled content and are easy to install and maintain, they make an eco- and budget-friendly choice for consumers.
- Before embarking on a renovation project, talk with the family to determine what the ideal kitchen will look like. Read home improvement magazines, watch remodeling shows for inspiration, and ask experts for tips and tricks at your home improvement store.
Try a new take on a traditional favorite. Candles are an easy way to add instant ambiance to any room. Flameless candles are a long-lasting alternative that gives the same beautiful look and feel of traditional candles. - Brandpoint
According to FrontDoor.com, when you update the look of your home’s interior with paint, don’t use one color for the whole house. Good options are pale green and muted beige.
One of the easiest ways to go green during winter is to install a programmable thermostat. That way you can automatically keep the temperature lower when you’re not at home. - Earth911
The maker of Boxee Box plans to discontinue the product and focus on the new Boxee TV, according to PC Magazine. The device streams media to your TV, and new features of the Boxee include live TV and a virtual DVR.
If you find boxelder bugs indoors, remove by vacuuming. Remember not to crush them, or they will leave a red stain. Caulk all cracks and crevices to reduce their chances of entering the home. They may still enter through doorways. Eliminating seed-bearing boxelder trees may help reduce the boxelder bug problem.
- University of Illinois Extension
GateHouse News Service