Wednesday, August 22, 2018




Outside In: Decorating Your Home To Reflect Nature

Outside In: Decorating Your Home To Reflect Nature

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aoe oils Outside In: Decorating Your Home To Reflect Nature

Outside In: Decorating Your Home To Reflect Nature

Maybe you have dreams of living at the beach in your retirement years. Maybe you would like a home in the mountains, where the landscape is lush and full of wildflowers. Or, maybe you love the serene vistas of the French countryside. Why wait until you can afford to relocate to experience these pleasurable environments every day? Bring your favorite scenes from outdoors inside when you choose artwork to decorate your home that reflects your love of nature.

Choose Artwork that Reflects Your Favorite Things

If you love the beach, choose paintings and photos that reflect those images. Even in abstract art, you can hang paintings that feature the colors of the beach, such as the deep blues and teal greens of the water, or the soft, muted tones of shells and sand. If you love the mountains, you might like images of babbling mountain streams and budding trees to fill your home with the fresh outdoors.

If downhill skiing is your passion, opt for wintry images of snow-covered hills, or cozy, little cottages in the woods that remind you of your favorite mountainside bed and breakfast. Many websites, like artismo.com, offer contemporary art for sale that features a natural scene with soft soothing colors.

Bring Harmony to Your Home

When your living environment reflects all things you love, it brings peace, happiness and harmony to your home. If you have traveled to exotic places, the beaches of the world, or ski resorts, you can bring home souvenirs of your excursions to remind you of that particular time and place in your life. Each time you look at an object d’art that you acquired on one of your trips, you will feel the emotions you felt when you were actually there. This can bring much happiness into your day and into your home.

Soothing Colors of Nature

When you want to create a sanctuary-like setting in your bedroom or meditation room, surrounding yourself with the colors of nature can help you relax. Some of the most calming colors that you can choose for artwork or even to paint your walls are blues and muted shades of greens and other earthy tones. Green, specifically, is a restorative color, bringing calm and healing energy into your home. When it comes to artwork, choose images of green plants or abstract images of flowing shapes in greens, blues and beiges.

Natural Elements

In addition to choosing artwork and wall colors that reflect your favorite outdoor environment, you can also display natural elements such as flowers, branches and stones. Fill a large vase with dried branches and put it by a window. Set up a small, decorative fountain so you can listen to the soothing trickle of running water while you read. Fill a wide bowl with natural stones and place a candle in the center. All these things will function to bring nature inside your home and create a more peaceful indoor environment.

Human beings reap many benefits of being outside. When you are in an office all day, or inside your home during cold weather, it helps to bring that nature inside. Let your home reflect these images through artwork and décor, and you just might be amazed at how happy you feel, right now.

One of Melanie Fleury’s favorite places growing up was Wilmington, NC ,located less than a mile off the beach. Her favorite artwork often includes elements from that beach life, from the colors to the themes. A simple search of contemporary art for sale online can help you to find pictures that will transport you back to your happiest place or to extend that scene into your own home.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spablab/7475094526/



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5 Feng Shui Dining Room Decorating Tips For A New Home

5 Feng Shui Dining Room Decorating Tips For A New Home

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The right Feng Shui decorating tips can help create a harmonious atmosphere to your home. This involves combining the right colors and decor that can transform your home into a lush, relaxing, healthy and welcoming living environment most especially in the dining room which often goes neglected. Our fast paced lifestyles and busy career schedules have made it somewhat impossible for families to have meals together regularly and in the Feng Shui perspective that means missing out on a sacred aspect of life. This is how Feng Shui color combinations and decorating ideas for your dining room can make your home pleasant, energetic, healthy and re-establish strong family relationships.

feng shui dining room decorating 5 Feng Shui Dining Room Decorating Tips For A New Home

Your dining room must have a gentle flow of energy that never goes stagnant. Applying Feng Shui to the dining room interior of a new home, allows you to eliminate the pent up negative energy of the past and introduce a new beginning of change for a healthier and wealthier life for the family. This is especially essential when you move into a new home and want a fresh start in life. Here are some basic Feng Shui tips you can use for your new dining room –

1. Dividing The Dining Room And Living Room

A dining room and living room that are openly connected to one another must be divided with open shelves and other Feng Shui furnishings to mark the dividing line. Your dining room must be decorated with analogous interior colors that slightly differ for the living room and dining room, so that visually separate zones are created inside an inviting space. If you are unable to find Feng Shui furnishings to act as a divider between these two significant rooms, you can use a tall house plant instead.

2. Using Mirrors To Double Health And Wealth

A popular Feng Shui decorating idea for dining rooms is to utilize a mirror to help improve the chi flow inside the room, while reflecting pleasant artwork, furniture and windows, as well as expanding the space in your dining room. As a favorite element in Feng Shui, it is also essential to choose a mirror that can reflect food on your table which symbolically doubles your money, while amplifyng the natural light in your dining room. It can also double the number of dishes and glasses placed on the table for impressive table decor and festive dining room decor.

3. Higher Ceilings For Spacious Dining Spaces

Spacious dining rooms with high ceilings help people feel healthier, enjoy meals together and relax. Look for Feng Shui decor that can raise the ceiling visually or use scones on your dining room walls with soft light directed towards the ceiling for a spacious and comfortable environment.

4. Dining Room Tables And Chairs

It is never recommended in Feng Shui that small dining tables be used for a family of four because the number four in Chinese culture has always been associated with death. A dining table for six with an even number of chairs is highly ideal in Feng Shui. Though rearranging chairs after meals is not always possible in modern homes with small diing rooms, Feng Shui decorating ideas from ancient culture recommends placing the dining chairs near the walls after dinner to create more space and breathing area.

The location of your dining room table is also crucial and it must not be positioned on the line that connects the window and door to prevent health, happiness and luck from leaving the home. People sitting at the dining room table must not also face a bathroom door, as it can affect the appetite and the health and welfare of both family members and guests. It is also important to note that dining rooms with adjacent bathrooms indicate various health problems. If you are unable to position your dining room table the suitable Feng Shui way, then incorporate Feng Shui bells and wind chimes to maintan positive energy flow throughout the home.

5. Dining Room Table Decor

Feng Shui dining room decorating does not only mean proper placing of the dining room and furnishings, but it also includes decorating with the right colored fabrics, crystal glasses and tableware. The table clothes and napkins to be used must be in colors that suits the dining table, location and the room’s interior. When the table is positioned in the northern area of your dining room, opt for the color blue table acessories, while shades of green are Feng Shui colors suited for tables positioned in the eastern part of the room. However, if you have a preference for neutral colors or dark elegant colors, try to incorporate the recommended Feng Shui colors through candles, flowers, vases, napkins and other tableware.

It is ideal to use octagonal shaped tables in your dining room to help improve communication and comfort when dining. Try to avoid oval and round tables as these can encourage guests to leave early as Feng Shui interprets round and oval tables to increase the energy flow and suddenly leave the room. Square shaped tables on the other hand make people feel happy and secure, while long rectangular tables can make people sitting at both ends feel unimportant and left out.

Valerie Peters is a DIY home improvement enthusiast and freelance writer specializing in Feng Shui interior designing. She offers an array of interior designing tips following Feng Shui ideas for various types of homes and DIY home improvement ideas for new and trendy modern Hayden Homes.

Photographed by : mensatic



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Does My Home Harbor Termites?  Signs Of Termite Infestation

Does My Home Harbor Termites? Signs Of Termite Infestation

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Termite infestation is one of the most expensive and damaging pest infestations around. This is because termites not only chew through wood and other organic matter, they can also dig tunnels through concrete foundations. Because termites can chew through any type of wooden structure – furniture, floors, walls, roof, wood siding, crawlspace, etc. – your home may end up with a weaker foundation, rotting wood structures, and a termite-infested home. In the end, the cost of repairs and replacement of the damages as well as elimination of the termite infestation can be very high. You can prevent this though by early detection. Here are some common signs that your home is infested with termites.

home harbor termites signs termite Does My Home Harbor Termites?  Signs Of Termite Infestation

The Appearance of Termite Swarms

The most visible sign of a termite infestation is the termite swarm. You will most commonly see them near window sills and near gaps and cracks in the walls. In addition to termite swarms, you should also watch out for scattered insect wings. Again, you will see them near windows, doors, and walls.

Dirt Tubes as Clues

Termites create tunnels to and from their colony. These are called mud tubes or dirt tubes, which connect their colony to their food source. You will usually see these tunnels in the support pipes, and you will also see them in the floor joists. When you break apart a tube, you will get to see the termites. If there are no termites inside it, then it means that the tunnels have been abandoned.

Of note though; although there are no termites in the tunnels when you break it open, it does not mean that you have no termite infestation in your home. Yes, they might have abandoned the tunnels, but they could have created new ones, and there can still be a termite infestation.

Soft, Rotting Wooden Structures

Just because the wall looks okay it does not mean that it is okay. When you knock on it for example, the sounds seems hollower compared to other parts of the wall. When you poke a hard object through the wall like a hammer or a screwdriver, it will easily go through the wall because it has become soft and spongy. Upon further inspection, you will notice that it is starting to rot in some places. Wooden structures like these are a sure sign of termite infestation.

The Presence of Termite Feces

The color of termite feces ranges from powdery light brown to brownish, and you will often see them piled near holes or cracks in the walls. Termites usually push their fecal matter out through the holes as they create more tunnels to keep the tunnels well-ventilated and “clean.”

Dealing with Termite Infestation

Termite infestation is hard to detect, and more often than not, you will only know that your home has termites when these telltale clues become more visible. However, there are ways for early detection, and one of them is by hiring a reliable and trustworthy pest control company. They have devices that can help detect a termite infestation, and their products are not only safe but very effective against termites.

Jennifer Dallman is a freelance content provider for home improvement sites. She usually writes about DIY home improvement projects as well as pest control articles. If you want to know more about pest control, she recommends visiting Preventive Pest Control.

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Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

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top three list home buyers Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s important to keep in mind what buyers’ expectations are today. By knowing what house buyers are looking for in their next home, you can make your house more appealing to them by transforming it into a space that they won’t be able to resist. Make sure that you follow the list of common requests that buyers make, located below, so that you can watch the bidding wars begin and sell your home at the highest price possible.

Open Floor Plan

top three list home buyers1 Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

One of the first things that people look for in a house is an open floor plan. Rather than designating a separate area for a living room, dining room, and kitchen, today’s buyers are looking for open concepts that allow everyone to mingle at the same time, no matter what room they’re in. This is especially important for those who wish to entertain in their home, as well as for parents who want to keep an eye on their children who may be playing in the living room while they’re preparing dinner in the kitchen.

If your home has an open floor plan, make the most of it by arranging your furniture in a way that really shows off the amount of space you have. You also want to remove any clutter by organizing your belongings.

On the other hand, if you do not have an open floor plan, you will need to invest quite a bit of money into hiring a construction crew that can knock down walls and open up the space for you. If you are finding it really difficult to sell your home, this investment may be necessary, but rest assured that it will pay itself back by allowing you to sell your home at a higher price.

The Right Floors

top three list home buyers2 Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

Many homebuyers today prefer the look of hardwood floors instead of other types of flooring. If you want to quickly and cheaply update your floors, you can opt for laminate flooring, which looks just as good but is less expensive than actual hardwood. Make sure that you choose the right colour flooring to match the rest of a room’s décor and to create an inviting, uniform space that buyers can envision themselves in. If you already have hardwood floors in place, make sure that you really polish and buff them so that they look clean and new.

A Modern Kitchen

top three list home buyers3 Top Three List Of Home Buyers Requests

The right kitchen can really add value to a home, so if you need to update yours in order to lure more buyers in, you can rest assured that your investment will pay itself back. A modern kitchen that includes updated wood cabinets, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances will really lure buyers in and make them want to stay.

If you want to sell your home quickly, you need to know what buyers are looking for. From the right floor plan to the right kitchen, basic changes can make a huge difference in your ability to sell.

This post is contributed by Ridley Pierce, who works at Broadway Hardwood Flooring Ltd., providers of quality laminate floors in Ontario. He enjoys cooking in his spare time, especially Italian cuisine.

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The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

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When you look around a room and decide that it feels untidy or unclean, what is it that gives you that impression? This is more of a feeling you get usually rather than something you actually think about, so what is it that makes you instantly feel ill-at-ease in a room or vice versa?

small changes home look much The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

Well of course it’s not down to any one thing, but rather the overall ‘vibe’ that a room gives off, which is much more than the sum of its parts.

But that ‘vibe’ is made up of lots of much smaller details. And actually it’s sometimes the tiniest details that have the biggest overall impact on how clean your home feels. Read on to discover the tiny changes that make all the difference when it comes to making your home look clean and tidy.

The Doorknobs

small changes home look much1 The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

Many estate agents tell their clients that the first thing they should do to help their homes sell is to polish the doorknobs. This is a perfect example of something that we normally don’t give much thought to, but which will make all the difference to the overall vibe of the room. Most of us will look down when we open the door, and whether we see something shiny and clean or grubby and warn will greatly impact on our opinions of that space.

The Windows

small changes home look much2 The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

An even more important change to make is to clean your windows. Not only are your windows one of the only things that you see from both inside and outside a room, but they are also important of course because they let light in. If your windows are dirty, then you will make your rooms look dimmer which makes them feel smaller and less clean.

Likewise, you also need to ensure that there is less blocking the window. So take away any net curtains that might be blocking out light, and remove unnecessary decorations from your windowsills too.

The Wardrobes

small changes home look much3 The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

A mistake many of us make is to think that we have free reign to stash anything we want to on top of our wardrobe where it will be out of the way. Although it’s out of the way, those things are still visible in our peripheral vision and make a room feel unconsciously more closed in and more cluttered. Trust me on this: try removing the boxes from your wardrobes and then just see how much more ‘open’ the rooms feel. The same goes for shoving things under your bed: don’t do it!

The Rugs

small changes home look much4 The Small Changes That Will Make Your Home Look Much Cleaner And Tidier

We all know by now what a huge difference carpet cleaning can make to a room, but what about using a rug cleaning company? Make sure you don’t forget to wash these too, particularly if they take up a lot of floor space. It will make the room feel brighter, more colourful and newer.

Likewise you should also consider washing other important upholstery such as your curtains and the covers on your furniture. And no, a vacuum does not do the same thing.

Today’s guest writer, Malcolm Hall, is an avid blogger who writes about topics related to home improvement and renovation online. He works for Sonic Care, a team of carpet cleaning experts based in Toronto. His hobbies include reading and woodworking.

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How To Build A Unique Space-Saving Door For Your Modern Home

How To Build A Unique Space-Saving Door For Your Modern Home

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If you’re in the habit of surfing the net for new house accessories or styles, then you must’ve noticed how a lot of websites are featuring barn doors. Those old doors, which are typically found in farms, are now gracing even the most classy pads, apartments or office buildings; and yes, you’ll even find them in some ultra posh TriBeCa lofts.

Why Barn Doors?

So, what’s so appealing about barn doors? There are so many nice things about barn doors. One major advantage is that these are space-saving. If you don’t have enough space for a regular door, then you can use a barn door, which you can just slide to open or close. A lot of people also like the fact that these are multi-functional too. Barn doors can be used as main doors or as dividers. These can also be repurposed to make tables, shelves, bed headboards, and many more.

barn door

Still, though many want to put up barn doors, they hesitate because of the price. Most barn doors, particularly those made of top quality wood, can be quite pricey. But with some web surfing and price comparisons, you’re sure to find alternatives that are definitely much cheaper. Another option is for you to create your own barn door depending on the budget that you have.

Cheap DIY Barn Door

In case you are installing a new door or putting up a divider to isolate a small home office, you can consider having a simple and more lightweight barn door. Here are a few tips on how to make one that’s nice and cheap.

1. Make a list of everything that you need.

A simple barn door is not that complicated to build. List all the hardware and wood supplies that you are going to use. Some hardware supplies that you’re going to need are — door pulls, box rail, brackets, tracks, tubing, and wheels. Don’t forget the screws that you are going to use to mount the tracks. You also need wood of various sizes depending on the dimension of your door frame.

Barn door hardware, especially tracks, can be pretty expensive. But you’ll find cheap options by checking out Amazon.com or going to a local tractor supply store and asking for more affordable tracks, flexible hangers, or box rails. As for wood, you can buy some for less than $50 and these will be enough to make a simple plank door. In order to make it easier for you to connect wood boards, buy boards with tongues and grooves. There are also pre-made doors that you can utilize as barn doors.

2. Build the plank door.

First, cut each board according to how big or wide you want the door. Then, use a strong wood glue to attach each plank to each other. After gluing, tighten the fit using straps that you can easily adjust. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.

After the glue has completely dried, nail two cross boards – one on top and the other at the bottom. This will provide more support and add visual appeal as well. You can even add diagonal accents if you like. Then, apply the finish that you prefer. Paint the door or apply a varnish.

3. Mount the hardware.

The easiest type to use is a combination of box rails and trolley hangers. Use strong and long screws to attach the box rail on the ceiling. See to it that this is firmly attached because this will hold most of the door’s weight. Attach the door pulls and the trolley hangers. The latter should be on the top part of the door; and then set the door onto the box rail.

You can readily accomplish a barn door DIY project. If you are hesitant about cutting boards or metal parts, ask someone to help you out. Maybe you have a friend who is a carpenter or a builder. Or, ask someone from your hardware store to cut everything for you so that all you have to do is attach all the parts.

Claire Willows is a freelance writer and a homemaker who has blogged about home improvement issues since 2008. Her write-ups have been featured in blogs and websites, like www.basincustom.com.

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3 Ways To Create An Asthma Free Home For Your Child

3 Ways To Create An Asthma Free Home For Your Child

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It is important to create a safe environment at home if your child has asthma. You can do this by knowing what type of asthma triggers can be found in your home and how you can eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure. The task of proofing your home from possible asthma triggers may seem overwhelming, but it is necessary especially if your child has the tendency to react to multiple triggers. Aside from proofing your home, you might want to consider having your child take maintenance medication or receive allergy shots. Through asthma prevention and management, there will be a lesser risk of asthma attacks and the need for asthma medication may be reduced as well.

1. Improve The Air Quality In Your Home

Improving and maintaining good indoor air quality inside your home is an important factor when managing asthma. Asthma can easily be triggered by irritants such as perfumes, wood smoke, and tobacco smoke, cleaning products and cooking gas. To be able maintain good air quality inside your home, here are a few useful tips –

  • Never allow anyone to smoke inside your home
  • Refrain from using scented products and opt to wash clothes with unscented laundry detergent
  • Avoid air fresheners and scented candles
  • Change the air conditioning filters regularly
  • Invest in an air cleaner with a HEPA filter for your child’s playroom and bedroo

2. Eliminate Or Reduce Dust Mites And Mold

Two common asthma triggers are dust mites and molds. Dust mites are tiny pests that live in household dust feeding on shed dead human skin cells. They are often found in bedrooms, in rugs and in upholstered furniture. Mold on the other hand is tiny plant like organisms that thrive on any type of surface in damp places such as basements and bathrooms. They quickly multiply by spores which can trigger asthma.

Tips To Reduce Dust Mites

  • Avoid feather and down pillows
  • Vacuum and dust your home at least once a week
  • Use damp cloths when dusting
  • Wash and dry bedding in hot settings and use mite proof covers
  • Remove carpeting, upholstered furniture and rugs from the bedroom
  • Wash or clean window treatments regularly
  • Wash and dry stuffed toys in hot settings

Tips To Reduce Mold

  • Fix leaking faucets and pipes
  • Ventilate bathrooms and basements
  • Remove wallpaper and wall to carpeting from bathrooms
  • Use anti-mildew paint when painting damp areas in your home
  • Replace moldy shower curtains
  • Avoid placing plants in the home
  • Clean visible mold with a chlorine bleach and water solution

3. Control Triggers From Roaches And Animals

Animals and cockroaches are also major asthma triggers that can be quite difficult to control. The protein found in urine, dander and saliva of animals can cause severe allergic reactions which is dangerous to your child with asthma. Animal hair and droppings can also collect pollen, mites and mold.

Just like how animals can trigger reactions, allergens found in the droppings, urine, saliva and bodies of cockroaches can also affect your child severely.

Tips On Controlling Animal Triggers

  • Keep pets outside the home and out of the bedroom and playroom
  • Do not allow your child to touch and play with your pet
  • Wash and groom your pet every week
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet

Tips On Controlling Cockroach Triggers

  • Remove piles of newspapers, paper bags and boxes from your home
  • Never leave dirty dishes and open food around
  • Keep the trash container closed and bring them out of the home every night
  • Have a pest control professional treat your home every few months

Valerie Banks is a freelance writer specializing in health and well being. She offers information on how to keep homes safe from various illnesses and recommends http://www.rovepestcontrol.com for professional services to prevent the infestation of pests in homes that can trigger asthma and other illnesses.



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At Home In Chattanooga: Tips To Improve Home Security

At Home In Chattanooga: Tips To Improve Home Security

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We are here in the land of the free and the home of the brave so there are a lot of great places to live. Cities such as New York, L.A., or Miami get a lot of attention but those of us living in Chattanooga realize that we have one of the country’s best-kept secrets. There aren’t many cities out there that can cater to tourists and residents alike but Chattanooga does just that. Whether you’re new to Chattanooga or are a longtime resident you will certainly agree. With attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum of American Art or beautiful spots like Lookout Mountain and the Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga offers much to its residents. One of the city’s recent struggles, however, has been a relatively high crime rate. While Chattanooga certainly isn’t competing with big cities like Chicago or Detroit for dangerous levels of crime, we aren’t immune to theft. The safety of our families and homes is likely a priority for all of us so here are a handful of simple tips to follow to effectively improve your own home security.

chattanooga At Home In Chattanooga: Tips To Improve Home Security

1. Try Breaking in to Your Own House
It sounds a little silly but locking yourself out and trying to break in to your own home is the best way to figure out your home’s weak spots. (It might be a good idea to keep I.D. on you just in case the cops show up.)

2. Put Interior Lights on Timers for When You’re Out
Burglars will be severely deterred if it looks like somebody is home so putting lights on timers when you leave helps a great deal. Timers are especially helpful for those times when you go out of town because it will allow you to have some lights on without running up your electricity bills.

3. Install Exterior Motion Lights
There are a lot of burglaries that occur during the daytime but nighttime burglars will have a much more difficult job breaking into your home if they are bathed in bright light as soon as they approach primary access points such as doors and windows on the main floor.

4. Change Locks Immediately when Keys go Missing
We all misplace our keys from time to time but we shouldn’t wait too long to give up the search and replace our locks. A set of keys in the wrong hands is a serious danger and a burglar won’t wait long to use them so it’s worth the inconvenience and extra cost to get locks changed as soon as you’ve expelled every reasonable effort to find the missing set.

5. Communicate with Your Neighbors
The safest neighborhoods are those wherein neighbors are looking out for each other. Even if you are not close friends with your neighbors it is important that you maintain good lines of communication so that suspicious activity can be reported right away.

6. Proudly Display Your Security System
The goal is to keep burglars away from your home so the earlier that that can be achieved, the better. Prominently displaying a sign for your security system will let potential burglars know that your house is not one they want to mess with.

David Glenn is from Tennessee and often freelance writes for Vivint. He is a retired home improvement professional with over 30 years experience in the industry. He spends his freetime keeping up on home technology advancements and eco-friendly initiatives around the world.

Photo Credit: Steve Hankins



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Keeping Your Home Safe: 3 Security Tips While Out Of Town

Keeping Your Home Safe: 3 Security Tips While Out Of Town

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Whether you’re taking advantage of “vacation season” in the summer or trying to escape our cold Baltimore winters, home security is always going to be a concern when you go out of town for any period of time. If it’s a vacation that is taking you away from home then you won’t want to waste any of it by worrying about the safety of your home and if it’s a business trip then you likely won’t have time to worry about things back in Baltimore. There are a lot of simple things that can be done to put your mind at ease while away from home but here are three of the best.

house keys Keeping Your Home Safe: 3 Security Tips While Out Of Town

1. Talk with Neighbors

Neighborhoods are safest when all the members of the community work together as a team to protect each other’s homes. You should be careful not to advertise too much (don’t announce you’ll be out of town on social networks or post pictures until you get back, for example) because if knowledge of an empty home gets to the wrong ears your home becomes a sitting duck for burglars. Telling trusted neighbors, however, is a great idea because they’ll be able to keep an eye on your home while you’re away and can report any suspicious activity. If you don’t want to put temporary stops on mail or newspaper services then you should ask a neighbor to collect these for you while you are gone because piles of mail or newspaper are dead giveaways that you are out of town and burglars will key on that.

2. Remove Hidden House Keys

Many people hide spare keys somewhere on the exterior of their homes or in the immediate yard. Be careful not to hide the key in an obvious location and remove all keys from their hiding spots before going out of town. If you are worried about the need for someone to gain access to your home while you are away then you might consider leaving a spare key with a trusted neighbor so that access to the home is still a possibility even while you are away.

3. Keep Exterior Clean

Most home robberies are not personal attacks, which means that they are based primarily on what a burglar can observe from the outside of the home. The appearance of your home can either invite or deter burglars based on a few very simple things. Homes that are well maintained (regardless of the size of the home) are less likely to be targeted because the assumption is that the homeowner takes care of their property. It is especially important to keep primary access points such as doors and windows clear because overgrown shrubs or trees at those points can provide cover for burglars when attempting to break in. It is important to maintain your yard immediately before leaving on vacation because an overgrown lawn or un-weeded garden are indicators that nobody has been home for some time. If you will be out of town for a period longer than a week or two then it is a good idea to hire a professional service or pay a trusted neighbor to maintain your yard while you are away.

David Glenn is a home improvement expert from Baltimore that frelance writes for Vivint. He occasionally freelance writes about home automation and making your home more green.

Photo Credit: Denise Mattox



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Is Home Automation Worth The Investment?

Is Home Automation Worth The Investment?

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You may be aware of the buzz surrounding home automation. If you haven’t here is a brief description of what it is. Home automation connects the technology in your home, everything from the thermostat to the entertainment system, to a handheld device (usually a smartphone or tablet) allowing you to control your home from anywhere. For example, you can lock or unlock your home doors from your desk at work or even turn on a movie, adjust the volume, dim the lights and start the popcorn all while sitting on your couch. That’s some pretty futuristic stuff, right?

home automation Is Home Automation Worth The Investment?

While it sounds fun and all, consumers also know that technology comes with a price. Families are especially sensitive to cost given the nations poor economy. So apart from having a home that feels like a space ship is home automation really worth the investment?

It will end up saving you money

While there will be significant costs upfront, many users find that home automation saves them money in the long run. For example, you will cut quite a bit out of your next energy bill by having technology that turns off lights when you aren’t home or adjusts the thermostat to be more efficient. If you use home automation for security purposes you wont have to pay those expensive monthly charges to security companies to monitor your home. Finally, a high tech entertainment system will keep you in the home, rather than going out to a movie every week. Over time, home automation will pay for itself.

You can build as you go

Another benefit of home automation that may make it worth the investment is the fact that you don’t have to buy everything at once. You may want to start out with a couple security cameras and slowly build your security arsenal with each paycheck. Eventually you can add on some new speakers, new lights and a new movie screen for your entertainment center. You can buy many of these items individually. For an example of a list of individual products to buy, look here.

It saves you time and energy

People are constantly investing in technology that makes life more convenient, and home automation is no exception. It takes care of the mundane and repetitive tasks that may keep you from focusing on what you really want to do. For example, home automation products will adjust the temperature for you, protect the home with sensors and updates on your smartphone, and even trigger a system to water the lawn when you are out of town. If you are looking for ways to save time and energy, home automation is likely worth the investment.

Home automation is growing rapidly

Whether or not you feel ready to make the switch to home automation, the reality is that the future is headed that way. Many new housing developments for example are being built with home-automated services already installed. Home security systems are moving away from the traditional model and more towards user friendly and home automated systems. By investing in home automation sooner rather than later, both and your home will be more prepared for the future.

Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in practical technology.  She also is a freelance writer for Vivint.  Be sure to check them out on Vivint’s Facebook as well.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Boullosa (CC BY 2.0)



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