Seven small changes to get a house holiday-ready

Looking for a change -- but not that expensive a change -- before the holiday season starts and folks crowd into your home? Look at surfaces -- not appliance changeouts or huge remodeling projects -- and quick jolts of color and style. (submitted photo)

Ever envy those beautiful homes that seem to get redecorated with every new season? Thinking that the family and friend get-togethers at your home deserve an updated setting?
The latest and greatest looks are easy to incorporate if you keep your furnishings neutral and the decor uncluttered. From there, it’s just a matter of bringing in a few simple touches that create a big impact.

Start with one or two easy projects and you will quickly transform your house into a place you’re proud to call home.

• Transform With Paint -- Every interior designer will tell you the quickest way to transform a home is with a fresh coat of paint. Greet guests with a beautiful new door color or a splash of vibrant hues on a kitchen or living-room wall. It will give your entire home a facelift with very little time and effort.

• Warm Things Up -- The look of hardwood brings warmth to every room in the house. Even kitchen and bathroom spaces can benefit from the addition of wood-look tiles which are easy to clean, water resistant, and durable, but with the beauty and ambiance of traditional hardwood. Throw rugs are a great way to accent a wood-look floor and are easy to swap out with the change of season or style.  

• Keep it Clean -- Kitchens are prime gathering places. Not only can you keep mess to a minimum with new backsplash treatments, seamless counters and even a new coat of paint, just keeping them uncluttered will transform their look and feel. Leave just one or two appliances on the countertops, add fresh flowers and hang a pair of colorful kitchen towels to brighten the space.  

• Make a Space Pop -- Add a pop of color and texture with new tile, such as glass tile. The tiles, which can be seen at, come in various shapes, sizes, colors and patterns, so you can easily show off your own creative style anywhere.

• Throw on Some Pillows -- Filling a room with furnishings in neutral shades is actually the simplest way to embrace new decorating trends. Give a monochromatic room an instant makeover with colorful, patterned pillows, throws and artwork. It’s an inexpensive way to change things up with the season or whenever the mood strikes.

• Consider the street view -- Even if you only have room for a small pot of flowers, make your front porch welcoming. Consider updated paint, a bench for seating (or taking off snowy boots) and improved outdoor lighting.   

•  Let There Be Light - Instantly change the look and feel of a room just by changing the lighting. Simply change your bulbs to one offering more natural light or swap out the entire light fixture for instant beauty.

Whether you update one room or transform your entire house, these simple changes will turn your home into a sanctuary that truly reflects your own personal style.

— StatePoint Media

Simple tips for easy cleanup

With a few simple tools you’ll be able to keep your kitchen squeaky clean so it can continue to be the favorite hang-out for the entire family. (submitted photos)

From rushed morning breakfasts to hurried dinners, the kitchen is often the busiest room in the home.

• Line the refrigerator: Hardened mustard or sticky soda spills can be hard to remove from inside the refrigerator. For quick clean up, line the drawers with plastic placemats. When a mess happens, just pull out the mat, scrub it off and place it back in. As a bonus, these mats often come in fun colors or patterns to help jazz up kitchen décor.

• Let the kids help clean: Many kitchen and bath manufacturers, such as Pfister, offer faucets with flexible, pull down spouts for kids to help clean and rinse dishes after dinner. Just be sure to invest in a sturdy step stool to keep your little helpers safe while they’re at work. For more information, visit

• Clean with baking soda: Backsplashes and tile flooring can be cleaned in a breeze with a simple solution made from things you may already own. Just mix a half cup of baking soda into a two gallon bucket of water and scrub those splatters away.

• Brighten brass and copper: To clean up tarnish on pots and pans made with brass or copper, use a small amount of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub. Once the tarnish is gone, rinse with warm water and towel dry.

• Outfit with smudge-free features: With all the upkeep required in a kitchen, cleaning build up on the faucet can be a bothersome task. The new smudge-free Slate finish from Pfister retains its shine after being handled, even after little hands. Plus, its warm, grey metallic color blends perfectly with other appliance finishes.

• Remove countertop stains: Kids love their juice with breakfast just like mom loves her coffee, but little spills happen. To remove such stains, simply add a little hydrogen peroxide to water and a few small drops of ammonia and scrub with a soft cloth.


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