Lighting for Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living spaces have become more popular and have moved beyond the basic deck with table and chairs. Homeowners are creating beautiful outdoor spaces with a warming and peaceful atmosphere to enjoy their backyard’s comfort. Just like inside your home, your outdoor space requires proper lighting. 

Whether your style is traditional or modern, outdoor lighting options come in many shapes and sizes. Ultimately, you will want to choose a combination of outdoor and landscape lighting to create the ambiance you are looking for. Keep reading to discover the best illumination options for a more striking backyard. 

 

String Lights

A budget-friendly option, string lights are the easiest way to create a relaxing environment in your yard. All you need is a power outlet and structures to attach the lights. If you don’t have any accessible outlet, opt for solar-powered string lights. 

 

 

 

Ceiling Lights 

outdoor fan

Ceiling lights can provide more direct and general lighting. Consider installing a ceiling fan, which will help keep your outdoor areas cool during the hot summer months. Just keep in mind many ceiling fans are required to be installed by a professional, but you don’t need an expert to help you pick one out!

 

Pendants and Chandelier

outdoor pendantIf you are looking for more decorative options, hanging a pendant or chandelier will transform your outdoor living space into a stylish and elegant backyard escape. This is a great lighting option for counters and bar areas, creating an intentional space for entertaining that you and your family can enjoy year-round. 

 

Landscape Lighting

landscape lightingHave you been working hard on your landscaping all summer long? Landscape lighting can be used to create focal points in your yard to highlight your landscape elements such as trees, plants, and flowers. Not only will this lighting option create a soft glow, but it will also provide a focal point in your yard. 

 

Path Lights

path lighting

Path lighting is designed to help navigate walkways to help you and your guests move safely and comfortably after dark. Use outdoor lanterns near driveways and deck railings and wall-mounted lanterns next to doors to create a welcoming space. 

 

 

 

Table and Floor Lamps

outdoor lighting - lamps

If you don’t have the structure to hang string lights or install a ceiling fan, a table or floor lamp is made for the outdoors too! Create a cozy reading nook or a relaxing conversation area with a wet-rated lamp or lantern. 

 

 

It is also important to factor in lighting control for your outdoor living spaces. Consider using dimmers to adjust your light level or timers to turn on and off lights automatically. Whether you are creating a relaxing escape or an entertaining space, well-planned lighting will help you achieve the ultimate outdoor experience. 

Bathroom Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’re planning to sell or trying to make your home more comfortable, a bathroom renovation is one of your best investments. While remodeling is an exciting project, it requires careful planning to ensure the space is both functional and serene. Save yourself some stress and money by learning about these bathroom remodeling mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

Mistake 1: Not Setting a Budget

Before you start remodeling, make sure you know how much money you are willing to spend. Bathroom remodeling can become expensive, so it is important to prioritize. What are the top three items on your wishlist? Factor in the cost for those items first, and then determine what you can do with the leftover budget. 

 

Mistake 2: Neglecting Layout

Before installing your new shower, take some time to consider how it will affect the layout of the bathroom. Nothing is worse than a bathroom that feels cluttered and uncomfortable. If the room is too small for a bathtub, opt for a luxurious walk-in shower. Simply changing out a swinging door for a sliding door can improve the use of the existing space. 

 

Mistake 3: Poor Lighting

By prioritizing lighting, you can transform your bathroom. Recessed lighting in the shower is mounted in the ceiling and won’t get in the way. Good lighting over the sink is essential, as that is where you spend time getting ready for your day. Wall sconces over a vanity mirror cast fewer shadows than other lighting options. 

 

Mistake 4: Not Enough Storage

Just like every room in the house, storage is essential in the bathroom. You need plenty of space for towels, cosmetics, hair care, and other bathroom essentials. Opt for a vanity drawer with plenty of space, and include some shelves in your shower for shampoo and soaps. A linen closet is ideal for extra towels and bulkier items. 

 

Mistake 5: No Ventilation 

Proper airflow will prevent your walls from peeling or growing mold. Especially if you don’t have a window in your bathroom, high-quality ventilation is critical. Don’t forget to ask your contractor how to ensure air circulation before beginning your renovation.  

 

With these tips, you’re on your way to a bathroom tailored to your comfort and budget. What does your dream bathroom look like? 

 

How to Plan Your Next Renovation

What is your plan for tackling your next renovation project? A home renovation project can be overwhelming, but with a little prep work and organization, you’ll be able to plan a home improvement like a seasoned pro. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on the work that goes into planning a remodel. 

Develop a Plan

plan for your renovation

First things first, you can’t start your project until you know what the final product will be. Begin with a clear understanding of your renovation goal. This is truly a process where you have to work backward, but once you have your endpoint in mind, you can create a step-by-step plan on how to get there. Your project plan should include blueprints or sketches of the finished project, a list of needs and wants, and a detailed list of project steps. 

Determine Your Budget

determine a budget for your renovation

Next, determine your budget. We recommend speaking to a professional contractor to help you set an estimated budget. Consider factors such as permits, materials, and expected labor costs. In addition,  plan for some unexpected costs. If your budget estimates are not what you expected, go back to your plan and eliminate project elements that are lower priority. 

Build a Timeline

timeline

At this point, you should have a solid idea of all the required project steps. Choose your desired start date and work with your contractor to schedule a projected completion date. Be sure your timeline includes time to clean out the work area and allows for shipping and delivery of materials. 

Look for Professionals

The Horton Group

The quality of your home renovation project and completion depends on the expertise of the workmanship. Discuss with your contractor what you expect of them, the terms and conditions, and notify them in advance of your expected timeline. Even if this isn’t your first time planning a remodel, don’t be afraid to rely on professional advice. At The Horton Group, we are always willing to answer any questions you have about your future remodeling project.  

Taking the time to create a solid plan before you start construction will put you on the right path for home improvements. If you have any questions, contact us!

 

Organization at Home: Make the Most of Your Storage Space

Have you ever heard someone complain about having too much storage space? Probably not. Organizing at home doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult – with a few small changes, you can tame your clutter in no time. Whether you’re dealing with a small space designated for storage, a large basement, or just reorganizing a bedroom, we are sharing five tips and tricks to make organizing a whole lot easier. 

 

Declutter

declutter

Before you get started, the first step is to get rid of items you’re not using. One of the best ways to make the most of your space is to learn how to declutter. Pull everything out of your closet or storage room and evaluate everything you have. Are there things you could give away, sell, or donate? If you’re feeling overwhelmed because your rooms are large or complicated, break them into zones. For the items that you’re ready to get rid of, there are several great options other than just throwing it away. Consider donating them to your local donation center. 

 

Picking Best Storage Options 

furniture for storage

For storage rooms, we recommend using clear plastic containers because they allow you to see inside the container, ultimately saving you time when searching for an item from storage. To keep items organized in a living space, opt for decorative baskets or pieces of furniture that double as storage. Assess how much storage space you need in each room to find the perfect fit. 

 

Label 

organization at home

If you want to take the extra step in your organizing process, label the containers for easy access later. This is especially helpful if you’re using them in a storage space like an attic or basement. A piece of tape and a marker will always suffice, but a label maker will make things a lot easier. 

 

Vertical Space

vertical storage space

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, you can instantly create more space by utilizing your vertical space. Installing a simple set of brackets and plywood is an affordable way to create shelves. Instead of having a couple of shelves in your closet, take them to your ceiling to maximize the space. If you can’t go high, go low. 

 

Think Outside the Box

storage space

There is plenty of space when you are willing to be creative. Add hanging shelves, a towel rack, or a shoe organizer to the back of a door can help cut down your clutter. The space behind your bed is usually used for a headboard or artwork, but why not shelving? Built-in drawers or cabinetry can also be added to an entertainment unit for storage in the living room. 

 

Our units at The Residences at 66 High Street are filled with optimal storage spaces in living areas, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Paired with select pieces of furniture and organization tips, and storage issues become a thing of the past.

 

What clever organization ideas do you have? Let us know! 

 

Products for a Sustainable Kitchen 

Going eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch and do everything at once. Slowly replacing items in your home for more sustainable versions is something we can all do without getting overwhelmed.

Any changes made toward an eco-conscious home are steps in the right direction, benefiting both the environment and your personal health. Keep reading for small changes you can make in the kitchen!

Kettle

Ovente Electric

Electric kettles are more energy-efficient than stove-top kettles. An electric kettle heats up on an electric coil that boils the water directly. Look for ‘quick boil,’ ‘one cup,’ ‘automatic stop,’ or ‘eco-friendly’ kettles. These types of kettles can prevent too much electricity being wasted by up to 50% and still boil your water just as fast. 

 

Coffee Maker

eco-friendly coffee maker
Eco-Carafe by Perfect Pod

For many, a coffee maker is a must-have. Our number one tip is to avoid single-use pod coffee makers. This type of coffee maker is harmful to the environment because the pods are not biodegradable. Disposable paper filters are bleached and inevitably end up in our landfills. Try swapping out these products with reusable options. Environment-friendly options that require less electricity and heat than your standard coffee maker are french press coffee makers and pour-over coffee filters. 

 

Alternatives to Paper Towels & Napkins

cloth napkins
Threshold Cotton Napkins

A simple and affordable way to transition to an eco-friendly kitchen is by swapping out single-use paper products for a reusable option. Cloth napkins and towels go a long way in reducing waste and depletion of paper. 

 

Food Storage

glass food storage
Glass Food Storage Containers

Are you looking to eliminate your use of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and Ziploc bags in your home? Reusable storage bags and glass storage containers are environmentally friendly and feasible ways to store food and leftovers. The simple act of cutting out single-use plastics can help avoid hundreds of plastic baggies ending up in our landfills and oceans. 

 

Pots and Pans

cookware
Green Life

Making the wrong decision on cookware can have a bigger impact than you think. Avoid any non-stick cookware made with Teflon, as these are chemical-laden, while eco-friendly cookware avoids chemicals and coatings.  

How are you taking the steps to a more sustainable kitchen? Let us know!

Protect your Home from Termites

Termites have been around for millions of years. While the insects are small, they can cause major damage to the structure of homes. Since they work from the inside out, the destruction begins without you knowing it. Cindy Mannes, vice president of the National Pest Management Association, said,

 

“Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage in the U.S. annually, which is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance.”

We know this sounds scary, but don’t worry! There are numerous things you can do to prevent termites in new builds and existing homes. As you prepare complete spring home maintenance tasks, make sure you add in preventative measures against termites and other insects. 

 

New Homes

If you are building a new home, termite prevention begins with the foundation. Termite mesh, a termite barrier, and concrete can be packed beneath a house, making it impossible for termites to pass through the ground and into the house. Pressure-treated wood is also highly recommended for termite prevention.

 

Existing Homes

Homeowners can take measures to prevent an infestation in existing homes as well. Create a barrier between your home and the ground, so only the concrete foundation of the house touches mulch, plants, and soil. The siding should begin at least 6 inches above the soil, making it difficult for termites to reach. 

 

Tips to Protect against Pests

  1. Reduce moisture in and around the home.
  2. Repair leaky faucets, pipes, and exterior HVAC units.
  3. Repair rotted roof shingles. 
  4. Replace weather-stripping around windows and doors. 
  5. Check to ensure gutters and downspouts divert water away from the house.
  6. Inspect your home throughout the year for evidence of termite waste, patterns in wood, or mud tunnels leading up the house. 

You can also get a yearly inspection completed by a pest professional, who can treat both the yard and structure of the wood, should there be evidence of termites. 

The trick with termites? Prevention! Take the time each year to check for signs of termites so you can get ahead of any damage they may cause. 

10 Tile Trends of 2020

Before events were put on hold, Coverings led the fourth annual National Tile Day celebration in January. Now that people have spent a couple of months indoors, many are considering ways to add new life to their homes.

Tile is a timeless design element, as it is both durable and beautiful. While the trends and colors vary throughout the years, tile remains a popular option for flooring and backsplash in residential and commercial design. 

As the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, Coverings gathered with sponsors Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America, and Tile of Spain to report 2020’s top 10 Tile Trends. 

If you’re considering new flooring, check out what’s trending this year:

1. Mixed Color Palettes

Classic blues, blush pinks, sage green, and dusty oranges create a calming environment. 

2. Refined Natural Wood Looks

If you prefer a natural look, wood continues to be prominent in interior design. Digital printing technology has made excellent advances, making it possible for tile to mimic natural wood. 

3. Precious and Gemstone Style Made Sustainable

Precious materials are beloved, but not sustainable. Similar to wood, the evolution of technology allows for tile to look and feel like rare marbles and semi-precious stones. Onyx, agate, and Akoya pearls can all be emulated with tile. 

4. Mixed Geometrics

There’s more to tile than the color and finish. Non-rectangular shapes, including trapezoid, rhombus, and diamond shapes, allow for attractive layouts. 

5. Counter Culture

Flooring, backsplashes, and don’t forget about countertops! Tile is durable and stain-resistant, making it an excellent choice for counters. 

6. Psychedelic

Bright colors and psychedelic patterns will be making a comeback this year. This trend is for the bold!

7. Industrial Chic

Concrete and stone create an industrial vibe. Just like tile that resembles wood or gemstone, this trend can replicate the look of concrete, or add in variations on color and patterns. 

8. Modernized Marble

Ceramic materials, which in the past were inspired by traditional marble design, are being modernized for people who love a contemporary look. 

9. Speckled Surfaces

Technicolor dots and specs, along with modern terrazzo styles, will make an appearance in 2020. 

10. Large-Scale Patterns

Ceramic tiles will be used to create bigger, bolder patterns. 

The versatility of tile allows it to be used in any room, no matter your style. Which of these ten trends are you most likely to bring into your home?

Working from Home? Design a Productive Home Office

With a sudden shift to working from home, many people created make-shift work environments. Some have the luxury of a complete home office, and others are utilizing their kitchen tables or living rooms.

 

While these temporary home offices have played their part in the short-term, they may not suffice for people who continue to work from home.  According to Global Workplace Analytics, many people will continue to work remotely, even after offices start to open back up.

 

“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”

– Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics. 

With this rise in remote employees, home offices are becoming increasingly important. It’s essential to have a place that signals it is ‘working time,’ where you can focus and stay on task. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing a home office: 

 

Natural Light

Whenever possible, maximize natural light. Natural light boosts mood, increases productivity,  and creates a feeling of openness. When arranging your desk and office furniture, place it so you can see out the windows, but out of direct glare from the sun. Ideally, you should be able to work all day with blinds open. 

 

Add Lighting Options

Natural light isn’t always enough. Add a variety of lighting options in your home office so that you always have plenty of light for work tasks. Overhead lighting, combined with lamps at your working space, is often plenty of light. If you want to add in more, you can incorporate a floor lamp and recessed lighting in the ceiling. 

 

Storage

Storage is needed in any work environment. Whether you need a filing cabinet, a bookcase, or a closet with shelves, make sure you have a system in place to stay organized. 

 

Ergonomics

Ergonomics aims to design the workspace to improve performance and productivity. Often, seemingly small adjustments make a huge difference to how we feel physically and mentally after the workday. Set up your computer and keyboard so you eliminate the hunched over stance and find a chair that is both comfortable and supportive. If you have enough space, create a couple of working areas, including a place to stand, a place to sit, and even a small couch to change things up. 

 

Office Nook

Not everyone has an entire room that can be dedicated to a home office. You can create an office nook that contains most of the above elements. Select a corner of a room that is seldom used, and add in floating shelves, a desk, and lighting. Some people even transform a closet into an office space. 

 

If you are going to continue working from home, we recommend taking the time to design a space that fits your needs. Your home office should reflect your style, be a place that you enjoy, and an area where you can tune out distractions to accomplish your work goals. 

Spruce up your Outdoor Living Space

We’ve all been spending more time at home, and many are making the most of this time to clean, organize, and even complete some DIY projects. 

Now that the weather is warming up, we can all start utilizing our decks, porches, and patios, giving us a change of scenery and making out homes feel more spacious. 

Keep reading for tips to spruce up your outdoor living space. 

Replace hardware. 

How old are your doorknobs, house numbers, and outdoor light fixtures? Dingy fixtures can bring down the entire curb appeal. Replacing hardware creates a new style at a low cost. 

Add some color. 

Sometimes all it takes to spruce up an outdoor living area is to add a pop of color. This can easily be done with some fresh flowers and planters, which are readily available this time of year. If flowers aren’t enough, consider repainting your doors, or add a colorful outdoor rug to your space. 

Power wash your deck or patio. 

Winter elements can leave your deck or patio looking dingy. Power wash your outdoor living space for a quick revival. You can also give a fresh coat of paint or stain to the deck if needed. 

Clean up your patio furniture.

Don’t stop with the deck and patio – clean up your patio furniture. A deep clean might be all it takes to brighten up a table and chairs. Want to add a bit more comfort? Get new seat cushions or opt for some bright pillows that make seating more comfortable. 

Set the mood with outdoor lighting.

Efficient lighting allows you to use your outdoor space after the sun goes down, adds security, and can change the entire vibe. Accent lighting highlights beautiful landscaping, while bistro string lights set a fun mood. 

Add in some fun.

What does your dream backyard look like? Yard games, a new grill, outdoor bar, or firepit can all be easily incorporated into your living space. You can involve the whole family by taking on some DIY projects and designing the space together. 

Working on your outdoor space now will give you time to enjoy it during the summer. What outdoor projects are you taking on right now? 

31 Home Maintenance Projects to Complete Now

We all have a list of home maintenance projects we would love to take on “when we have more time.” Now that many of us are spending more time at home, we can begin to tackle those projects. Some of you may have already started your spring cleaning and organizing, while others may be overwhelmed with the thought of doing all the tasks you usually put off.

Either way, you can use this checklist to help you get started. No need to do everything at once – pick one or two small projects to get started, and determine where you want to go from there.

Deep Clean

Spring is synonymous with cleaning and airing out. After you complete your basic cleaning routine, dive into these projects to make your home feel brand new. 

  • Clean vents and baseboards.
  • Wipe down blinds
  • Wash windows, window tracks, and screens.
  • Wash curtains.
  • Scrub tile grout. 
  • Wipe down light fixtures and fans.
  • Sanitize garbage cans. 
  • Clean under your furniture.
  • Clean cabinets and drawers (inside and out). 
  • Clean the inside of your dishwasher and oven. 
  • Descale faucets and shower heads. 
  • Wipe down doors and walls.
  • Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator and freezer.

Organize

If you tend to hold on to everything you’ve ever gotten, now is an excellent time to sort through your belongings and get rid of what you do not need or want. Here is where you can start:

  • Closets
  • Drawers and cabinets
  • Entryway
  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Shed
  • Pantry

Rearrange

All of the cleaning and organizing may get you in the mood for a whole new look. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend money on new furniture and decor. Try rearranging what you have to change things up.

  • Furniture layout (in any room!)
  • Books on bookshelves
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Wall art

Landscape and Property

You can also give some attention to your property and outside living space. Here are some outside projects to work on:

  • Clean up the lawn from leaves and winter debris.
  • Sweep or power wash patio and deck. 
  • Prune shrubs.
  • Clean patio furniture.
  • Wash siding of the house. 
  • Prep for planting.

Are you doing any home maintenance projects right now? Let us know what they are in the comments!

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