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Top Home Décor Trends for 2014

Should you put in a black and white kitchen, paint your dining room radiant orchid and add a large, extravagant bath?

Staying abreast of the latest trends in home décor helps you extend the life span of your next remodeling project. Here are some of the top trends for 2014 in home remodeling and redecorating:

Kitchen Trends

Kitchens featuring black countertops, open shelves or glass-front cabinets and darker paint tones are popular with homeowners, according to Zillow Digs’ Home Design Trend Report for 2014.

But Elle Décor  predicts jewel tones and rich colors will dominate kitchen design in the year ahead.

If you can afford to update again in a few years, you can take the risk of putting in trendy countertops that look like malachite, agate or other stones.

But, if you’re going to have to live with your kitchen for many years or you plan to sell in a few years and don’t want to have to remodel again, stick with neutrals for countertops, walls, flooring and cabinetry. Save the bolder patterns for less expensive accents like curtains, rugs and pillows.

Industrial Accents

Sophisticated industrial revolution accents will remain strong next year, according to the Delta Faucet design team. This trend includes unique materials that look like they came from an architectural salvage yard.

To build this look on a budget, keep the accents in their simplest form. Light fixtures stripped down to nothing more than sockets and wires, open metal shelving stacked with cast iron cookware and reclaimed wood elements can easily reinforce this look with minimal cost.

Navy Blue Or Radiant Orchid?

House Beautiful says  the most popular color for home décor in 2014 is blue. “From rich, saturated colors like navy and indigo to bright, vibrant shades like peacock blue and cobalt, blue will continue to reign supreme in the coming year,” design blogger Paloma Contreras told the magazine.

The color experts at Pantone disagree and choose Radiant Orchid as the official color of the year. Can’t make up your mind which you like? Get them both with York Wallpaper’s Martini print.

USB Sockets

With so many devices to charge, homeowners are replacing a few of their home’s traditional electric outlets with outlets that pair one regular outlet and two USB ports to power cell phones, gaming devices and computers, say the design experts at Neil Kelly Remodeling in Portland.

Swapping a regular electric outlet for a USB outlet (get them at any hardware store) is simple for a do-it-yourselfer who understands home electric wiring. Neil Kelly recommends looking for a socket that has a smart sensor to shut off the power when your device is fully charged.

Small, Efficient Bathrooms

The downsizing trend isn’t just influencing homes, it’s also showing up in the bathrooms inside those homes, says Remodeling blogger Lauren Hunter.

Manufacturers have responded to the desire to right-size homes by coming out with smaller-scale bathroom fixtures.

Green living has inspired water-saving fixtures that don’t sacrifice performance. And an increasing number of multigenerational families are fueling a trend toward ageless bathroom design to ensure everyone can use a bathroom for years to come.

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4 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS THAT SAVE HOMEOWNERS MONEY

The start of a new year is a great time to make changes in your finances and the way you maintain your home.

If saving money is one of your New Year’s resolutions, I’ve got four smart ways for you to do just that:

Refinance

If you haven’t yet refinanced your mortgage or home equity loan to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, there’s still time to lock in a great deal. Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, expects mortgage rates to rise above 5 percent in 2014 and to 5.5 percent by the end of 2015.

If your current mortgages exceed your home’s value, you may still be able to refinance using one of the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Change Your Furnace Filters

New Year’s resolutions don’t get much easier than vowing to change your HVAC filter once a month in 2014 to increase your furnace’s life span.

To make this task easy, buy 12 filters and store them in the furnace room so they’re at hand when you need them. Put a reminder on your calendar or tie this chore to another monthly chore, like paying your household bills, so you remember to do it each month.

Seal The Air Leaks In Your Home

Sealing the air leaks in your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut your utility bills. Check to make sure your winders are caulked around the outside of the trim on the inside and outside of your home. Use foam to fill large gaps where the plumbing, electric or cable comes in the house.

Shop Your Insurance Policies

Yes, it’s a bother to shop for insurance, but if you haven’t checked what’s out there lately, you may be overpaying. The easiest way to get this chore done is to delegate.

Copy the declarations pages from your current home, auto, life and umbrella policies and ask an independent insurance agent to look for a better overall deal for you. You can also visit your current agent or call your insurance company and ask for an annual review to make sure you’ve got the right coverage and are getting all the discounts for which you qualify.

Home Maintenance Checklist for the First Year

Keeping folks informed about the home buying process start to finish is very important to me.  Whenever I find a story that may be of interest to you or improve your lives in any way, I will gladly repost it.  Some solid tips and advice!
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 After buyers move in to their new home, they should be prepared for some home fixes to present themselves each season, says Rich Escallier, a handyman in Chicago. “If you can go six months without finding something that raises your blood pressure, you’re lucky,” Escallier says.

CBS MoneyWatch recently released a checklist of routine maintenance and small home repairs that home buyers should expect to do their first year to help avoid more costly problems from surfacing later on:

During move-in week: Turn on all major appliances and run them for a complete cycle. Even if the buyer already completed a home inspection, they should test again, experts say. After all, “if you have a minor leak under the dishwasher, that water leaks into the subfloor and you can’t see it,” says Daniel Cipriani with Kade Homes & Renovations in the Atlanta area. “But you’ll start to notice the hardwood floor buckling.”

45 days after move-in: Change the HVAC system filter and vacuum out the air intake vents. “Capturing dirt and dust with the right filter can go a long way toward preserving the new home appeal for a few years,” CBC MoneyWatch notes.

Six months after move-in: Inspect the exterior of your home in both the summer and fall to ensure rainwater is draining away from the home properly. Also, clean out clogged gutters and downspouts. “Landscaping should be negatively graded away from the house,” Cipriani says. “People don’t think it’s a big problem, but otherwise water pools against the foundation and doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

Every year: Inspect the home’s roof for any missing shingles and gaps around the chimneys. Also, check the ceilings inside the home for any water spots and indications of potential leaks.

Experts also note that every two years, home owners would be wise to hire a professional HVAC contractor to inspect their furnace, air conditioner, and hot water heater. A ruptured reservoir could potentially spill 40 gallons of water in a mere few hours so experts recommend home owners install a water alarm with sensors in the collection pan underneath the hot water heater. The sensors cost about $25 and can help save home owners from costly water damage.

Source: “Repairs Every New Homebuyer Should Make,” CBS MoneyWatch (Aug. 26, 2013) via http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/07/home-maintenance-checklist-for-first-year

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