Spring is the perfect time to refresh your home and your daily habits. This issue of Good to Be Home is here to help you embrace the season with tips for adding color into your kitchen decor, simple ways to reduce your trash production, ideas for creating a home that’s reflective of your personality, and a guide to purchasing a second home.
Neutral decor is a great way to create a calming space, but there’s also something to be said for embracing bolder colors in your home design. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so why not make its decor livelier? This issue includes five ideas for bringing more color into your kitchen.
Every year, millions of pounds of trash end up in landfills across the nation. This ultimately damages the health of our environment both short-term and long-term, making it important for each of us to create habits that limit this impact. Check out the article inside for simple tips for reducing your daily waste.
Decorating a home can be a lot of fun, but it can easily become overwhelming due to the sheer amount of design styles and trends. To help you better decorate your living spaces, use the tips inside to create a home that’s reflective of your personality and interests.
Owning a vacation home or rental property could be a great opportunity for you and your family. If you’re considering purchasing a second home, this issue includes an informative guide on everything you need to consider before you take your next steps.
Here’s to a sensational spring! As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. It’s a place where you can laugh at your poor attempt to recreate a recipe or make memories cooking with your loved ones. So why not decorate it in a way that reflects this happiness? After all, the kitchen doesn’t have to be an all-white or neutral space. If you’re looking to bring some liveliness to yours, here are some ideas for incorporating more color into your kitchen decor.
If you aren’t interested in doing a major remodel to your kitchen, try adding a rug as an inexpensive and simple way to bring more color into the space. A rug is great for experimenting with new tones or patterns without making a big commitment since you can easily swap it out for a different one in the future. Consider searching for a fun-patterned or brightly colored runner to act as the one pop of color and brightness in an otherwise neutral room. You could also pick a color from the rug to then carry into the other textiles, like your curtains and hand towels.
Spending time in nature has long been proven to have many health benefits, including reducing stress and improving your mood. Now you can experience that right in your own home thanks to biophilic design, which is the use of plants and natural elements in interior decorating. Since we tend to spend a lot of time in our kitchens, why not start there? Hang a potted plant from a planter on your ceiling, stack a few plants on top of your cabinets, or try growing an indoor herb garden on your counter. It doesn’t matter if they’re real or fake; any pop of green can go a long way toward making your kitchen a special place that you’ll relish spending time in.
The cabinets are arguably the most dominant component of a kitchen since they often take up the most space. If you have neutral-colored or wood-stained cabinets, consider adding a fresh color to their doors. A shade of yellow, green, or blue can brighten the room and completely transform the feel of it. You can opt to paint all your cabinets the same color, or you can go for a more modern look with two-toned cabinets, which is a style that uses a different color on the top and bottom cabinets. For instance, you could paint the top ones a bright blue or mint green shade and leave the bottom ones white or wood stained. However you choose to paint your cabinets, be sure to take your counters, flooring, and backsplash into consideration when picking a color. The paint should complement these elements to create a cohesive look.
A backsplash can really make your kitchen, so if you’re considering adding color to the room, try a bolder tile or wallpaper. There are a variety of styles to choose from for both, including floral, geometric, scenic, and mosaic. You can opt to simply cover the wall between your counter and upper cabinets, or you can extend the backsplash to the ceiling for a grand, elongated look. Colorful and bold tiles and wallpapers can elevate the space and make it appear like an entirely different room.
The little details within a room can really bring a design together and make the space stand out, whether it’s the trinkets you’ve collected through the years, the antiques that have been passed down through your family, or the art pieces that hold personal meaning. But these elements are also a good way to bring in more color to your kitchen. For instance, if you have a cookbook collection, consider displaying some of your books on floating shelves or neatly stacking them on your counter. You could also print and hang photos of your loved ones in colorful frames on your kitchen walls. These accents will liven up the space and give the room more meaning than it might have had without them.
Color is certainly something to embrace in your kitchen decor. Vibrant colors can make it a happier, more welcoming space for you and your loved ones.
T he average American produces almost five pounds of trash daily, which amounts to nearly 1.7 billion pounds of waste every single day. This almost incomprehensible amount of trash may seem too overwhelming to do anything about, especially when you think about the harm it causes: polluted waterways, endangered wildlife, contaminated soil, and higher health risks for people living near landfills.
However, there are multiple small ways to reduce the quantity you throw away and mitigate your waste’s impact on our planet. Rather than a complete overhaul, these steps are convenient, easy to implement, and potentially fun for your family.
With our waste accumulating by the day, it’s become even more essential to recycle goods like plastics, cardboard, aluminum, and paper. Though not everything you put into your recycling bin will get reused, the potential impact is still enormous. That’s because recycling doesn’t just keep waste out of landfills and delicate ecosystems like rivers; it also reduces the need to harvest, refine, and transport raw materials. For example, the EPA estimates that recycling ten plastic water bottles can save enough energy to power a laptop computer for over twenty-five hours. Meanwhile, one ton of recycled office paper can save the energy equivalent of a whopping 322 gallons of gasoline!
Keep in mind, however, that not all materials can be recycled in the same way. If you need help recycling at home, refer to the simple guide at the bottom of this page.
This method of converting food scraps and other organic waste into enriched soil has dozens of environmental benefits, like reducing greenhouse gases emitting from decomposing food scraps and keeping other organic waste out of landfills. The US Composting Council (USCC) has step-by-step instructions on its website to help you get started today.
You can find outdoor composting kits at your local lawn care store, or consider using an indoor kit, an innovative small bin that can compost organic waste right in your kitchen. All you’ll need to do is toss in food scraps, such as coffee grounds, rotting produce, and eggshells, inedible plant parts like banana peels, and even yard waste like leaves and grass clippings. The composting system will convert this matter into fresh soil for your garden in a safe, nonpolluting way.
One of the simplest ways to minimize waste is to carry reusable bags. Mesh, cloth, and canvas bags are far easier to reuse than paper or plastic ones, and they’re hardier too. Switching to reusable bags alone can help reduce the whopping five trillion single-use plastic bags produced worldwide every year.
Select bags that reflect your personal style or interests, like a favorite film series, and you’ll enjoy using them every time you shop for groceries, clothes, home supplies, and more. For sanitary purposes, select mesh bags for fresh produce, and wash them regularly.
Your shopping destinations can also have a positive impact on the world. Before you buy just about anything new, consider giving used items a home instead. Shop at consignment and vintage stores to find furniture, decor, clothing, electronic supplies like chargers, and more. You can also sell or donate items to these stores as another way to help keep waste out of landfills.
Social media also puts a wide range of products at your fingertips, such as with “buy nothing” groups that allow users to exchange gently used goods at low prices. Shop smarter, and you’ll decrease the need for environmental resources to generate new products and keep unwanted goods out of landfills—all while saving money and maintaining the joy of shopping. That’s a win for everyone involved.
This may sound dramatic, but it doesn’t have to be. There are two minor tweaks you can make to your shopping list and cooking tasks that will significantly reduce waste.
First, try to shop locally for food as much as possible. Visit farmers markets and shops like butchers that sell locally harvested goods (and remember to take your reusable bags). Much of the waste associated with the food industry is attributed to long-distance shipping, so buying and eating local foods has a huge impact. These fresh, seasonal foods often taste better too!
Secondly, try to reduce the amount of food you throw away at home. This doesn’t mean you should binge-eat until the fridge is empty; rather, try to plan simple meals that use up as much of your fresh, perishable food as possible. Soups, stir-fried noodle dishes, and casseroles are great “food dump” meals that seamlessly blend a variety of fresh ingredients. If you’re seeking inspiration, visit a food blog to search for recipes that require ingredients you already have on hand.
However, despite your careful planning, you may occasionally find that you still have too much food. If you end up with a surplus—maybe there was a special on locally grown apples, for example—store what you can in the freezer or refrigerator in reusable containers. Also, share bulk meals with loved ones, coworkers, or anyone in need of a fresh meal rather than throwing the extra portions away.
The steps in this guide require very little of you aside from some mindfulness and slight changes to your habits. How comfortable or essential is a plastic bag or a can of imported food to your life, anyway? You don’t lose much when you make these swaps. Instead, you gain the peace of mind that you are making a difference for ecosystems, animal life, and the next generation of young lives that will inherit this planet.
Decorating your home is no easy feat. With so many different design styles, there’s a lot to consider when adding furniture and fixtures to your living spaces. Ultimately, however, your home should be reflective of who you are and what you like—you live in it every day, after all. So instead of just going along with what’s trendy, try out these tips for adding your personality to your home and creating spaces that you can feel the most comfortable in.
When decorating, you should always keep your preferences top of mind. What kinds of fabrics, colors, textures, and elements do you tend to gravitate toward in your daily life? If your wardrobe is mostly black-and-white, for example, you might enjoy having neutral decor or incorporating more Scandinavian design elements. Conversely, if you tend to dress in eclectic fabrics and colors, you may want to consider taking a more maximalist approach to your design. And if there are multiple people and personalities in your household, you can find ways to incorporate different styles so everyone can feel at home. Add bright pillows to an otherwise neutral living room, or mix in midcentury elements to a minimalist kitchen. Whatever you choose, it’s all about creating cohesive spaces.
As you’re decorating your home, think about what you enjoy doing. Do you like to read, travel the world, or go to concerts? These hobbies are a part of what defines you, so find creative ways to incorporate those interests into your home decor. For instance, if you collect knickknacks from your travels, you could place them on shelves in your bedroom. Or if you love vinyl records, you could create a listening space within your living room where you can also display your collection. These little touches add personality to your spaces, telling a story about who you are and what makes you unique. And when you have friends or family over, they give you an opportunity to share these interests with them.
Different decor aesthetics and colors can create varying vibes within a room. Bright colors like yellow, red, and orange are more energetic and can make a space feel lively and active. On the other hand, muted earth tones can create a sense of comfort and ease, making a space feel warmer and more welcoming. This means certain colors are more conducive to specific areas in your home since each room has a different purpose. For your kitchen, you could use vibrant colors and patterns to create more energy. In your main bedroom, you may want to lean more toward neutral colors to create a space of relaxation. By picking the right colors, you can ensure that your rooms work for you and help you feel more at home within them.
It’s easy to see a home online and think, “I want that,” but someone else’s design isn’t necessarily going to be representative of you and your personality. If you simply mimic what one person has done, you may wind up feeling uncomfortable in your home. Instead, when designing a space, think about what you like rather than what’s popular online. Your home doesn’t have to look like it’s taken directly from a home magazine, so try to surround yourself with decor that will help you relax, unwind, and feel at peace and make you actually want to spend time in your living spaces.
At the end of the day, decorating comes down to one thing: What brings you joy? If a decoration or color makes you happy, don’t be afraid to bring it into your home. You can mix colors, patterns, and styles until you arrive at the perfect design for you. There’s no official rule book when it comes to decorating, so you can add as much of your personality into your home as you want. If you prefer a clean design, keep your decor minimal. If you’re a maximalist, add as many pieces and elements to your rooms as you see fit. Simply have fun with your decorating, and enjoy turning your house into a home.
Many people enjoy a second home as a vacation spot, a weekend getaway, or a means to collect extra income through renting. However, purchasing such an asset requires careful consideration and planning before signing on the dotted line. Here are several factors to consider if you’re thinking of purchasing a second home.
Before starting your home search, you’ll likely need to consult with a lender who can outline the parameters of securing a second home loan.
As a general rule of thumb, conditions for approval include a down payment of at least 10 percent, a minimum credit score of 640, and a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or less. Also expect to be quoted a higher interest rate with a second home loan as lenders consider it a higher risk—your primary mortgage will likely take priority if you experience financial difficulties.
As with any loan, discuss the various options with your real estate agent and lender.
Based on your preapproval, you can determine how much you can afford, where you can purchase, and what type and size of home you want, such as a condo, townhome, or single-family home.
First, consider what you want your second home for. How often do you plan on occupying it, year-round or seasonally? Perhaps you’re retired and want to be in a more temperate climate during winter to socialize and enjoy outdoor activities. Maybe you want to use it for weekend trips or as a destination where friends and family can converge. You may also want to weigh your preferred activities when deciding on your home’s location. For example, is having entertainment, dining, and shopping at your fingertips a priority, or is going on a hike, hitting the beach, or participating in mountain sports more your vibe?
Of course, if your goal is to be near family and friends, their location may influence where you ultimately decide to purchase. Be sure to vet the neighborhood and town before making your final decision. Consulting with a local real estate agent who is well versed in the area where you want to buy can help you with this search process.
Purchasing a home for rental income can be quite lucrative, especially if it’s in a desirable location near a beach, lake, or mountain resort or close to excellent amenities and activities. But you’ll want to look at the rental market rate to compare it against how much you’d need to charge to cover your mortgage, taxes, and insurance (or at least part of it). You should also check if there are any rental restrictions for the community you are purchasing in, such as ones regarding pets or lease length. Most importantly, seek the advice of an attorney to secure an airtight rental agreement.
Whether you’re purchasing a second home for your own enjoyment, for tax benefits, or as an income-producing property, understanding the costs and responsibilities associated with owning another property will help you manage your finances and avoid potential pitfalls.
Maintenance and repairs
As a second-home owner, you’ll need to prepare for the cost of repairs and maintenance. Whether you intend to occupy it or not, you’ll want to decide whether to take care of it yourself or hire a property management company. If you plan on renting it out, you will likely need a property manager to oversee cleanings between tenants, complete necessary repairs, and do general maintenance.
Secondary homeowner’s insurance
Your homeowner’s insurance premium may be higher for your second home than it is for your primary residence for any number of reasons, including it being vacant for long periods (exposing it to potential damage), the property value being higher than your primary residence, or emergency services not being close by. If you plan on renting the property, you will also probably need to add landlord insurance.
If you’re purchasing the property for rental purposes, it’s vital to understand your financial responsibilities as a landlord. For instance, you will be responsible for paying your mortgage, property taxes, homeowners association (HOA) dues, and insurance on time and for absorbing the costs to maintain and repair problems promptly. Additionally, you’ll incur the fee of finding qualified tenants, whether you do it on your own or develop a relationship with a real estate agent who can assist you with the task.