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Home Decorating

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Add living space to your home with an easy...

(BPT) - Everyone looks forward to a shift into summer mode, with its sun-soaked days, flower-scented breezes and velvety nights under the stars.

Now's the time to take advantage of a golden opportunity right outside your door. Celebrate summer and all it offers by recreating your outdoor space. Whether it's a balcony, a patio or a deck, a few touches are all you need to turn it into a highly functional living space.

When done right, a patio makeover is like a boost to your home's square footage of living space without straining your wallet. Think of the patio as a summer room, and the possibilities really open up.

One approach to making your summer room perfect is to start by thinking of your needs and what you love to do. If you could add any room to your home, what would it be, and what would you use it for? Then, turn to a resource like Big Lots, which offers everything you need to build that summer room, while keeping you within budget.

Your summer living room

Transform any outdoor space into a relaxing oasis that's perfect for unwinding and summer daydreams. Your key piece is a comfortable outdoor couch you can really sink into.

It's always best to start with a neutral-colored cushion, then work the accessories and accent pieces, including side tables, brightly colored throw pillows and outdoor lanterns to make the space feel extra homey and just like an authentic living room. These decor pieces can be easily and affordably switched out year-over-year to make your outdoor space feel fresh and new.

With an easy assembly gazebo, you can also keep the space cool and comfortable in the heat of the day.

Finally, if your patio faces an open or public area, a row of evergreens planted in large colorful pots will transform it into an intimate space with a perfect touch of nature.

Your summer party room

With the right pieces, you can set the scene for any gathering of friends and family. Start with ample seating. Add to the traditional living room setup with an outdoor cushioned bench, and position some accent chairs and tables in a nook or two for conversation clusters. A patterned outdoor rug also helps to delineate spaces on a large patio or deck.

A fire pit always creates a natural centerpiece and gathering spot. Some designs take this up a notch and incorporate the soft glow of fire right into a tabletop, making it easy to talk long into the summer night. As a finishing touch, be sure to have a wireless speaker and playlist ready to set the mood with music.

Your summer kitchen

The downside of summer living is building up unwanted heat in the kitchen from cooking dinner. The best solution is to take it outside. Don't limit the grill to weekends and burgers and brats. Explore the many grilling recipes out there to expand your repertoire. While you're doing this, set up your patio as an outdoor cooking station that's ready to go whenever you're ready to start cooking.

Set up a sturdy table for prepping veggies and meats and a selection of lightweight, outdoor serving dishes. The variety of colors and designs are endless and add to the space aesthetic. (Just as you would indoors, make sure the surface is clean before you get started.) Use colorful crates to keep grilling tools, potholders and outdoor dishes and glassware organized and handy.

Finally, pick up some bright-colored pots that match your decor style and plant rosemary, parsley, basil and other herbs so they're within easy reach to add fresh flavors to your grilled fish and chicken, as well as those tasty summer veggies. These potted plants also make for beautiful, easy centerpieces.

Your summer dining room

Dining outside is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy food as well as the company of your family and friends. When you choose a patio table, choose one with ample seating, and keep things comfortable and colorful with waterproof cushions. Umbrellas can throw shade on a sun-drenched deck or patio, making daytime dining (or your morning coffee time) more pleasant and easy on the eyes. If you're looking for something different, a patio umbrella outfitted with lights on the underside will let you linger over dinner longer.

Creating beautiful outdoor spaces can be easy, but it also doesn't have to break the budget. Big Lots has a wide variety of affordable patio furniture and décor so you can create an outdoor scene with indoor style. Visit BigLots.com or a store near you for all your patio and outdoor accessory needs.



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5 renovation resolutions for your home this year

(BPT) - It’s no secret that springtime is synonymous with spruce-ups. But, as is often the case, homeowners hone in on prettying-up patios and backyards with fresh florals and new outdoor furniture, leaving the inside of the home as “same old, same old.” This spring, resolve to reinvent your home from the inside out with stylish décor sure to add the wow-factor it deserves.

The five refreshing projects below will to help create a beautiful setting worthy of the new season — and beyond.

Address those kitchen cabinets. The cabinets are a major focal point in a kitchen, and even the smallest changes can have a major impact on its look and feel. Start with a subtle, functional update by replacing old hardware with modern metal accents. And, for a slightly bolder change, consider a fresh coat of paint to infuse a new design persona throughout the space.

Set the perfect scene. Take advantage of the spring weather and longer days with perfect natural lighting. Hunter Douglas’ PowerView Motorization is a sophisticated wireless operating system that allows homeowners to program their shades to automatically adjust throughout the day to make the most of natural light as it changes. Start by creating scenes — different combinations of shade positions in one room or throughout the house — to achieve perfect room lighting, window privacy and energy-efficiency. Then, schedule the scenes to activate at the times you choose, like opening to greet each morning’s sunrise, closing mid-day to deflect the heat of the afternoon sun, and closing each night to protect your privacy. PowerView motorized shades also seamlessly integrates with other sophisticated whole-home automation systems to add another level of convenience to everyday living and greater connectivity to your smart home.

Add comfort and style to hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are a popular style for any home, and adding comfort to the chic–but sometimes unforgiving–look is easy with the right accessories. Place comfortable, eye-catching rugs in key areas throughout the home, including the foyer or beneath the kitchen and dining room tables. These subtle accents will create a striking contrast, soften acoustics and add stylish comfort for your feet.

Keep cool as the weather warms. Window treatments can serve as great accessory or accent, and the right window dressings will provide beauty and function in one. With Duette Architella honeycomb shades from Hunter Douglas, sophisticated fabric choices add a modern touch to any space, while its unique cell-within-a-cell design can significantly reduce the amount of solar heat transferred through windows to keep you cooler as the summer heat kicks in. This smart upgrade lends an elegant touch to kick off air conditioning season.

Build the bathroom of your dreams. The bathroom is supposed to be an oasis, and if it’s lacking in spa-like comforts, now is the perfect time to whip it into shape. Enjoy a luxurious massage without stepping out of the house by swapping out outdated shower heads with high-pressured and multi-setting ones that transform water into soft mists, relaxing pulses, or powerful cascade indoors.

With these easy décor updates, making your home more comfortable and stylish is a bright idea sure to last all season and through the year. To learn more about PowerView Motorization and Duette Architella honeycomb shades, visit www.hunterdouglas.com.



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Uniquely you hues: Decorating with your...

(BPT) - Whether you realize it or not, the colors you select for your home and your personal belongings tell a lot about your personality. In fact, according to a recent survey by PPG, 58 percent of 2,500 consumers surveyed agree that colors selected for their home, car and consumer products — such as appliances and electronics — reflect their personality and style all or most of the time. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed agreed color selection is important when purchasing paint for their home. So, how do these color preferences come about?

PPG, a global leader in paint and color, knows that consumers’ color preferences aren’t random. One’s desire for certain colors can be quite personal, as each color evokes different emotions based on our unique experiences, current events, memories and style preferences. By determining the paint color schemes that positively reflect your personality, you can identify your unique style and ultimately add a more personal touch to your home décor.

Pulling inspiration from your wardrobe is a great way to determine your color preferences. Evaluating what clothing items are your go-to staples will help inform you of the colors and styles you find most appealing. Do you live in dark denim? Paint a rich navy accent wall in your dining room. Do you love your little black dress? A front door painted PPG Paints Black Magic (PPG1001-7) makes a stunning first impression. Your favorite vacation spot can also serve as a muse in realizing your design sense. If thoughts of weekends at your family cabin bring warm memories, then deep, earthy tones will likely evoke nostalgia in reminiscing about your favorite spot.

To make paint color selection easier, the PPG Paints brand offers five-color collections that help consumers see various paint hues in context with the colors of other existing home elements, such as flooring, tile and furniture. Seeing these five-color pairings next to each other allows you to easily visualize how wall and trim colors will work with other colors in a space. Arranged by personality, style and the five senses, the collections can serve as a compass for determining which groups of colors best fit your design preferences, and ultimately, your personality.

* If you are a peaceful person that craves calmness, blues may be your go-to hue. The Blue Persuasion paint color collection by PPG Paints provides a selection of blue paint colors, including Stormy (PPG10-14), Aqua Smoke (PPG1034-5) and Gale Force (PPG10-08), all perfect for creating a tranquil atmosphere to make you feel at ease. By incorporating minimalist and modern décor elements, you can further create a sense of serenity and clarity within your space.

* Do you consider yourself charming and carefree? Then you may describe your home décor as pretty in pink. The brand’s Pastel Wonders paint color collection involves a wonderful mix of pink, red and beige paint colors that create dreamy ambiances that exude elegance. Colors such as Peach Brick (PPG18-26) and Subdued (PPG1015-4) provide the perfect muted backdrop for a bathroom or entryway. Consider adding a farmhouse feel to the space with distressed wood elements to embrace country charm and create a modern rustic look.

* For spirited extroverts, plum, cherry and purple hues may adorn your space. The PPG Paints Precious Tones paint color collection provides majestic shades that radiate passion and sophistication, such as Amethyst Haze (PPG13-23) and Heart’s Afire (PPG13-14). Show off your bold nature by adding a touch of glam with metallic elements to infuse drama into the space.

Using the five-color pairings alone or in conjunction with the PPG Paints The Voice Of Color game, you can discover exactly which color collection best suits your style. In examining the color schemes that are most attractive to you, the décor elements that make you feel at home, and the sentiments that you value most, among other qualifiers, you will determine which five-color collection best represents your décor preferences and ultimately which colors to incorporate into your home to best express your unique personality. Once your perfect colors are chosen, you can digitally (and easily) paint your space in a variety of colors using the PPG Paints online room painter tool. Upload your own photos, browse designer color collections, and explore popular colors by visiting www.ppgvoiceofcolor.com/digital-color/paint-color-visualizer to use the tool.



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Big-impact ideas for small patio spaces

(BPT) - Do you have a small patio? Do you think you can't do much with the space due to its size? There's probably a lot more potential than you think.

From the influx of urban dwellers, empty-nesters in transition and even the tiny-home movement, the trend of downsizing continues across the United States. Contrary to popular belief, you can have an impressive patio even if you have a smaller abode.

Here are a few design ideas to help bring your limited patio area to life while maximizing the space:

Rugs

Add visual interest under foot with a patterned rug. A rug properly placed under a table can break up a smaller floor, giving the illusion of more square footage. Colored rugs are readily available in a variety of designs. Pick your favorite striped, chevron or paisley variety and see what a difference it makes.

Water features

The natural elegance, gentle gurgle and sparkle of a flowing water feature can add a sense of peacefulness to any patio. For smaller spaces, easily turn a decorative waterproof container or planter into a beckoning water feature by simply adding water and a smartpond Low Water Shut-off Fountain Pump. This smart pump automatically shuts off if the water becomes too low, preventing pump burnout. It's also a great replacement pump option to revive a decorative premade fountain that has quit working. Learn more at www.smart-pond.com.

Think vertical

To get the most out of a limited space, think upward instead of outward. Hanging plants are a classic option, but vertical wall gardens are a top trend that's sure to be a conversation starter. You'll enjoy plenty of greenery but also open floor space for your furniture, water feature and entertaining to ensure a welcoming area for hosting summer parties.

Built-ins

To get the most out of every inch of your petite patio, look for furniture and features that multitask to help save space while maximizing functionality. An easy solution is to opt for a table that opens to become a cooler for beverages or a bench to hold blankets and other patio extras. Just remember to keep scale in mind so you don't overwhelm your space with massive furniture.

Mixing materials

Matching is out for 2017, so forget about perfectly paired combos and explore a variety of decor. A great way to try this trend is to add visual interest by experimenting with different materials. Inject your own personality through various finishes. One example: consider setting black resin pots next to a handwoven wicker for an eclectic blend of textures.

Vibrant colors

Don't make the mistake of thinking a small space must have muted colors. Vibrant hues inject energy and style, often making a small patio feel larger than it is in real life. From ocean blues to ferocious fuchsia, an accent pillow here and a throw blanket there will transform your space dramatically.

From DIY water features to vertical gardens, a small patio doesn't have to be short on style or functionality. Let these top trends guide you to create a space you'll enjoy all year long.



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Hardworking kitchens can still have style

(BPT) - Years ago, the kitchen served a very utilitarian function - a place to prepare food and clean the dishes. Today, it's truly the nerve center of the house where people eat meals, discuss the day's events, plan calendars, do homework, check e-mail and entertain guests.

With that increased demand on the kitchen, and the trend towards creating flexible living spaces, homeowners are seeking ways to maximize their overall layout and make their kitchens work harder.

Expanded work surfaces, smart appliances and carefully thought-through floor plans are just a few elements that have recently emerged in kitchen trends. But one of the most noticeable differences in today's kitchen is the demand for multiple sinks and various water sources.

According to Katherine Riley of Danze, a manufacturer of decorative plumbing products, many homeowners are using multiple sink areas to increase efficiency and literally spread out the work. However, they don't want to sacrifice the ability to showcase their personal tastes and eye for design.

"Homeowners and designers place a lot of emphasis on a sink's role when planning a kitchen remodel," says Riley. "While convenience and functionality have always been key factors, today's homeowners also want to enhance the room's ambiance and decor they've worked hard to achieve. In fact, the kitchen is one of the best rooms in the house to showcase a home's personality through design.'

If you're looking for ideas on how to make your kitchen more functional and stylish, consider integrating these options into your kitchen remodeling plan:

Main sink

An all-purpose station primarily used for clean-up duty, the main sink often features a deeper, single basin to handle dishes and oversized pots and pans. Riley suggests pairing these sinks with a pre-rinse faucet such as the Danze Parma Pre-Rinse or its new The Foodie faucet. These faucets improve functionality of the sink area by allowing users to literally "take the water to the work," but are noticeably fashionable.

In addition to the primary functional faucet, many kitchens feature a water filtration faucet or tap as part of their main sink configuration.

Second sink

Often located in a center island, this sink helps avoid congestion at the main sink and is a great way to increase a kitchen's workflow. Many refer to this sink as a prep sink, which quite literally is one of its primary uses. Homeowners commonly use this extra workspace for cutting vegetables, chilling wine or washing hands before a meal. Choosing a faucet style and finish that complements the room's decor can add an eye-catching decorative piece to an otherwise "ho-hum" island.

Bar sink

Sometimes referred to as a convenience sink or a beverage center, this area is traditionally used for entertaining purposes. It's occasionally located on the center island, but is often placed on a separate countertop in the kitchen or adjacent room (if space allows). Make sure to choose a faucet that matches the other kitchen faucets. Danze offers several types of bar faucets, including high-arc options, small-scale faucets and pull-down faucets. Choose a style that will make this space "entertaining."

Looking for another water source without a full sink? Try incorporating a pot filler faucet at your stovetop. These faucets provide a convenient, safe way to add more water to boiling pots or saute pans.

As you plan your kitchen remodel or look for ways to maximize your work areas, don't be shy about making your sinks, work surfaces and water sources work hard for you. However, since this space serves as the epicenter of most homes, be sure to also use the room as a way to express your unique style.

Visit www.danze.com for more kitchen (and bath) solutions from Danze.



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3 ways to personalize your home's curb appeal...

(BPT) - At its core, the desire to create a home with curb appeal is a desire to make a home uniquely one’s own. After all, no matter how beautiful they are, rows of homes that look the same inherently fail to capture attention. Using personal touches, people want friends and family to know which home is theirs.

Among the dozens of affordable ways you can personalize your home’s curb appeal, the first tip from Better Homes and Gardens is to “dress up the front door.” One way they note to do that is by installing a custom wood door.

“Wooden doors are most often used in custom or specialized design situations since they are easiest to manipulate,” explains the DIY Network. “With the countless options ([wood species], side lights, transoms, decorative glass, etc.) you can custom design the specific look you want for your entryway.”

To achieve a one-of-a-kind look for your front door, consider these three ways to personalize your wood door.

1. Choose your favorite wood

From modern to traditional, doors are available in many different wood species to meet your personal taste. If you like the look of high-end furniture, cherry or walnut might be right for you, while exotic woods like sapele mahogany have distinctive patterns for an eye-catching door. Woods like knotty alder create a casual, rustic look, while Douglas fir provides a timeless appeal.

“We’ve built doors out of more than 100 different wood species — everything from ash to zebrawood — so you’re sure to find a wood that’s right for you,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “We will also make doors using multiple wood species, for a look none of your neighbors will have.”

2. Go big

If you’re planning a new home, or a remodel of your existing home, replacing the front door with an extra-large door is an impressive way to fashion a grand entry. To make a big impression, wood doors can be custom ordered in virtually any large size. For example, a door that is 5 feet wide by 8 feet high is almost two times larger than the typical front door, and is sure to capture the attention of visitors to your home. Wood door manufacturers recommend that if you have a large door, consider making it 2 1/4” thick, which is a common thickness for a custom entry door.

“Another attractive quality of wood doors is that they can be custom made to fit any size opening or trimmed to a specific size doorway,” says the DIY Network. “In this regard, wood is a material that is easy to work with and can be made to fit your exact needs.” Compared to other materials like fiberglass and steel, wood doors offer the flexibility to “create virtually any shape, or make just about any door a Dutch door, move design components around and change the door thickness,” says Loveless.

3. Add a touch of class with glass

Wood door manufacturers offer a wide range of glass designs to complement your door. Depending on the look you prefer, these range from a full lite door, in which the glass extends from top to bottom, to quarter lite doors, in which the pane is limited to the top one-fourth of the door. Glass is tempered to resist breakage and to help keep intruders out. Additionally, you can choose from options with a wide range of transparency, to ensure the right balance of privacy and natural light for your situation. Some manufacturers, like Simpson, offer easy-to-use design tools for choosing door and glass designs. The company’s online Glass Taste Test tool, for example, enables homeowners to see how different glass types will look in their door, and the degree of privacy the glass provides.

Although homeowners can choose from several different materials for their front door, wood allows greater flexibility for customization and creates enduring value. “It's easy to understand why many of us still like our doors to be made of wood — nothing else matches the material's warmth and satisfying heft,” says This Old House magazine.



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Top 6 home decorating trends

(BPT) - If you're planning to tackle a home decorating project this year, here are the top trends you should consider:

1. Marble wallpaper: A lot of the 2017 trends are about going back to classic styles, and it doesn't get much more classic than marble. Few materials evoke high-end living as simply and effectively as marble, a global symbol of refined taste and sophistication. Marble was a big trend in 2016, and it looks like it's here to stay. With faux-effect materials and faux-marble wallpapers such as this beauty from Murals Your Way growing in popularity, you can count on the soft, subdued design to be a top pick for accent walls, powder rooms, kitchens and more. It's a seriously impressive way to dress up your walls!

2. Deep blues: Though black has long been a decorating darling, designers are now recruiting deep blues for their go-to power hue. It's a bit more approachable than pure black, and it has a lovely nautical vibe when used in conjunction with materials like rope, brass and wood. Navy velvet couches are a popular way to incorporate the color into your home. And if you want to keep your space light, wallpaper with blue accents is a great solution. Whether you go for indigo, cobalt, navy or some other blue hue, a dramatic, deep blue color will add interest to your space.

3. Acrylic everything: Acrylic was a trend that picked up steam in 2016 and will keep going strong this year. Because most acrylic is clear, it works with almost any type of design style or color scheme. Acrylic furniture pieces and accessories have been around for years, but they primarily came in very modern shapes that wouldn't work well in a more traditional home. All of that has changed, and now you can find the best of both worlds with this more modern material being used in furniture with traditional designs. Bring acrylic into your space by choosing a larger piece, such as this coffee table from Wisteria, or simply use smaller accessories, such as an acrylic floating frame. Whether it's a coffee table or floating frame, acrylic accents and accessories are this year's clear favorite for adding a gleaming finish to a space.

4. Farmhouse chic: Reclaimed wood, aged metals and distressed details are showing up everywhere in interior design and are not going anywhere in 2017. Farmhouse chic decor is a spin on the classic farmhouse style with an added soft elegance. Classic shapes, rustic simplicity and natural materials celebrate country-inspired charm, while soft and cozy neutrals evoke a luxurious and chic style.

5. Greenery: Named the 2017 Pantone color of the year, greenery is meant to represent refreshment, revitalization and our connection to nature. It seems to be an instant hit for those looking for a back-to-nature hue that brings zest while still managing to work with warm wood tones. Greenery is an attention-grabbing color, and it can be used to add pop and contrast to the overall interior. The earthy tone is a welcome complement to some of the more neutral hues that have gained prominence in the past year.

6. Forget hygge: This year is all about lagom: The year 2016 was about reaching the highest level of coziness and comfort, an outlook encapsulated by the Danish term hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Now there's an even more sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle we'll all be wanting in 2017: lagom. It's a simple Swedish philosophy on everyday life that means "just the right amount." The lagom home strikes the perfect balance between minimalism and cluttered, resulting in a clean, calm space that is also warm and inviting. This Swedish concept of 'not too much, not too little' may just dominate in 2017.



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5 tips to create an affordable and rewarding...

(BPT) - When it comes to home improvement, DIY is more popular than ever. There's just something satisfying about improving your home with your own two hands and being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, day after day. However, home improvement projects can be expensive, and many people shy away from tackling home improvements they know they would enjoy because of their skill level or the fear of high costs.

This doesn't have to be the case. While some projects - like a complete bathroom remodel - are going to be expensive, other DIY projects can be tackled in an economical and enjoyable way. These projects may include repainting a room, installing a new ceiling fan or replacing old, damaged baseboards. The limit is your imagination, so look around your house to see what home improvements could enhance your home and then apply these tips for an affordable and rewarding experience.

* Find your motivation. The most rewarding DIY projects are those that satisfy a real need in your home and those you'll use or see every day. Whether it's to spruce up a room's appearance, enhance its usability, repair existing damage or another project that may increase your home's resale value, select one that will be meaningful. Find out where your motivations lie and choose a project that satisfies the goal. You'll put more effort into the project and be happier with the result.

* Know your limits. The "do" in "do it yourself" varies tremendously based on who you are and the skills you possess. If you're a licensed contractor, your ability to "do" is probably quite high. But for most people, focus on projects you know you can handle. If you're unsure, surf the web for a how-to video on your chosen project and watch it closely to see if it matches your capabilities. Tackling a project you can handle on your own will protect you from calling in a contractor last minute and incurring unexpected expenses.

* Turn loose coins into value. You have more money lying around your home to support your DIY project than you may think - and it's nestled in that jar of coins you keep on the dresser, under the couch cushions or hiding on the closet floor. The average home has an estimated $42.92 in unused loose change, according to data from Coinstar. That's money that could easily be turned into a couple cans of paint or tools for your next project. So collect your coins and bring them to your nearest Coinstar kiosk to put your newfound money toward that DIY project.

* Make it a family affair. Turn your DIY project into lasting memories by including your children in the work. Assign them tasks you know they can accomplish. Ask younger kids to sort supplies or carry lightweight materials, while older children can be tasked with painting large spaces or performing simple hammering tasks. Work closely with your kids and celebrate their victories at the project's end. You'll find that your little helpers may even be eager to sign up for your next DIY undertaking.

* Take pics to record your accomplishment. Your DIY project will spawn many memories, so take pictures to capture them all. Before-and-after pictures can be a fun way to see how your project improved your home, and while you're at it, why not brag a little by posting photos of your accomplishments online. And don't forget to take pictures throughout the process as well. Your entire family will enjoy looking back at the progression years down the road.

To learn more about how Coinstar can help you find the cash you need for your next DIY project, visit coinstar.com.



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4 design upgrades for a spring refresh

(BPT) - With warm weather knocking at the door, it’s time to rejuvenate your space and rid the home of winter clutter. While it may be the perfect time of year for a refresh, it can be challenging to find exciting new ways to decorate. With top design trends in mind, here are four simple solutions to spring into a new look this season.

Mixed materials

To entertain the eye, coordinate mixed materials and beautiful textures in unexpected ways. From a warm Champagne Bronze finish juxtaposed against matte white tiles, to espresso-stained wood contrasted with clean marble, this trend is all about bringing the unexpected together to create a unified design aesthetic. Quick refreshes to any room can include accessories such as modern paintings or wall planters and potted succulents. These quick additions serve as simple ways to complement what is already in the room, eliminating the need for a full redesign.

Global inspiration

As an increasingly connected society, incorporating design inspiration from around the globe has become an ever-present trend that is sure to make an impact. Influenced by the most cosmopolitan cities around the world, the Pivotal single handle bath faucet serves as a beautiful centerpiece for the vanity. With clean lines and contemporary form, this collection is perfectly suited for all generations and all style preferences — from millennial to baby boomer. While simple in design, Pivotal makes a bold, modern statement with its sleek handles and angular spout. To further amplify the contemporary aesthetic, focus on simplicity by installing mirrored cabinets to store toiletries. For a more traditional look, pair a stainless faucet finish with warm cabinetry such as toasted almond oak.

Wallpaper wonder

For people who choose to rent instead of purchase, creating the warm, comfortable environment we all know and love can be a challenge. Removable wallpaper is a great way to implement a design refresh and make a temporary space feel like home. The beauty lies within the name — it’s removable! Intricate designs and lively patterns are now easily accessible; perfect for an accent wall that needs a pop of color. If you yearn for a new design, simply remove the existing paper and replace with a new pattern.

Bejeweled beauty

This spring, channel your inner artist and incorporate a sense of vibrancy into living spaces. Jeweled tones are experiencing a resurgence this year, proving there is no better way to energize a space than with a brilliant emerald green or a lively turquoise accent. If the idea of painting a room is too daunting, opt for smaller updates that bring a punch of color. Thrift stores are great places to find unique accessories or that perfect piece of furniture, such as an ottoman or tufted bench that can be re-covered with a rich magenta or sapphire blue fabric. These easy art projects serve as a great afternoon project that can refresh a neutral space.



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Spring home improvements you can do in 24 hours...

(BPT) - For most of us, the idea of spring cleaning probably sounds refreshing after a winter of bundling up against the cold. Now that spring has arrived, it's finally time to get started! Sprucing up your home doesn't have to take lots of time, and is a great way to leave you feeling reinvigorated after a long winter.

To help you spring into warm weather home improvement, here are 24 simple projects that take 24 hours or less to accomplish:

  1. Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Standard paints can take a long time to dry, especially if you live in a humid climate. SnapDry(R) from Sherwin-Williams(R) dries in as little as one hour, and you'll be able to close the door without it sticking. The paint can be used inside or outside the home and it resists dirt, fingerprints, UV rays and weathering.
  2. Update kitchen cabinets. Recently, homeowners are changing the facades of their kitchen cabinets and painting them instead of staining them-a trend that has grown tremendously. Add new knobs to complete the look for an easy, inexpensive way to give your cabinets a facelift.
  3. Swap pillows and throws. You can't change your couch every time the season changes, but switching out pillows and throws is a great way to give seasonal flare to your living room decor.
  4. Create a statement wall. Installing graphic wallpaper or wood planking on one wall, or simply painting one wall or the ceiling a contrasting color, can add drama to any room in the house.
  5. Spruce up the deck for summer enjoyment. A refinished deck looks great, and doesn't have to be a lot of work. SuperDeck(R) from Sherwin-Williams goes on fast and easy, and protects the integrity of your wood deck. It can even reduce the surface temperature of the wood, making the deck barefoot-friendly on a hot summer day.
  6. Add wow factor to your entryway. Large planters with hardy, bright blooms add curb appeal when positioned on either side of the front door.
  7. Update your lighting. Modern light fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms shed a whole new light and look on the room. Consider installing a dimmer so you can create the right mood, any time of the day. While you're upgrading lighting, be sure to replace old-style incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient ones that will last longer and cost less to operate.
  8. Create a gallery wall. Hang multiple family photos and/or chic prints in varying frame styles and sizes on one wall of the living room.
  9. Rearrange your furniture. Talk about a no-cost way to get a totally different look. Experiment with different furniture configurations, and don't be afraid to move pieces from room to room.
  10. Create a recharging drawer in your kitchen. Clean out that junk drawer, add dividers and a power strip and you have the perfect place for recharging your family's electronic devices.
  11. Install a ceiling fan. Nothing says spring and summer like a ceiling fan wafting gentle breeze through a room. Choose the style and size that's right for your space. Bonus: ceiling fans can help reduce energy bills by cheaply supplementing air-conditioning and heating.
  12. Organize your mudroom. Whether it's a formal mudroom or a corner of the entryway, every house has a spot where shoes, backpacks and other personal items collect. Organize that area with hooks for hanging and cubbies or shoe racks for storage.
  13. Add a display shelf above a doorway. A wooden shelf above a doorway is a great place to feature collectibles.
  14. Add vintage class to a powder room. Replace the ordinary doorknob on your powder room door with a vintage or replica glass knob.
  15. Install decorative house numbers. You can purchase decorative tile or glass numerals from a variety of sources.
  16. Stencil some fun. Add animal or character stencils to the walls of a child's room, staircase or kitchen, or patio table for a quick, artsy take.
  17. Add a ceiling medallion. Draw attention to a light fixture by installing a decorative ceiling medallion that has a slightly different color than the ceiling.
  18. Replace a kitchen faucet. A new kitchen faucet can be practical and decorative, but can also control water flow, saving money.
  19. Pressure wash siding and walkways. Power washing exterior home areas makes siding and walkways look fresh.
  20. Hang a new mirror in the bathroom. A decorative framed mirror in place of a standard bathroom mirror adds interest, elegance and even light to the space.
  21. Put a decorative decal in the laundry room. Create some fun in the laundry area by adding a decal with a humorous saying, such as 'Life is too short to fold fitted sheets!'
  22. Upgrade bathroom towel storage. Replace those builder-issue towel bars and rings with decorative options that add pizzazz.
  23. Make your own art with a shower curtain. Love large-scale artwork but have a smaller scale budget? Use wood to frame a decorative shower curtain and turn it into wall art.
  24. Wash windows! What's the one spring DIY task that will make all the others in your home look even better? Wash windows to allow spring and summer sunlight into your home.

Trying just a few of these easy home-improvement tasks is a fast way to perk up your home for spring and summer.



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5 fast shortcuts to make your home sparkle this...

(BPT) - We all know that one person who just adores cleaning. But for the rest of us, it's a necessary evil that gets old very quickly!

Before you tackle that long list of spring cleaning tasks, try some of these cleaning hacks designed to make these chores faster and easier. When cleaning is fun and even effortless, you'll feel more energized and gain the momentum you need to knock out your list of chores. Afterward, your house will sparkle from top to bottom, which is its own reward!

1. Find smarter tools

Throw out the messy bucket and mop and reach for a smarter floor solution that's efficient and fun to use. For example, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System has a built-in wringer that offers superior moisture control of the mop, which makes it safe and easy to use on all hard floor surfaces - even hardwood! The hands-free wringer requires a simple press of the foot pedal to easily spin out the water and help finish the job with less mess and faster drying times.

2. Try natural solutions

Commercial cleaning solutions can add extra costs to your deep cleaning session, not to mention the harsh chemicals can leave behind unpleasant odors. Why not experiment with everyday pantry items? These often cost less and are just as effective in their cleaning power.

A simple solution of warm water and vinegar removes built-up grime from your floors, while leaving a clean, rinse-free finish. Just add a half cup of distilled white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and start mopping.

If you dislike the smell of vinegar, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil - the fresh scent will be like a small reward!

3. Shortcut to shining windows

If you want streak-free mirrors and clean windows without the hassle, Cas Aarssen, author of 'Real Life Organizing: Cleaning and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day' and the YouTube channel ClutterBug, has this expert tip: Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to your favorite glass cleaner and shake until dissolved. Cornstarch improves the cleaning power of the solution and makes streaks a thing of the past, so you'll get the job done more quickly.

4. Use a cleaning method that also protects

Aarssen has an easy tip that will not only shine up your kitchen appliances, it will repel fingerprints and food splatters often left behind. Just spritz on a little wood furniture polish and rub in with a soft cloth until the surface shines like new.

5. Clean up top

Dust can collect on those high, hard-to-reach places, such as decorative molding and ceiling fans, making cleaning day more difficult. To clean your ceiling fan without showering dust bunnies everywhere, an old pillowcase is your best tool. Spritz the inside of the pillowcase with a vinegar and water solution and slip it over the blades of the fan, pulling it back to trap the dust.

For those tough to reach moldings and corners, use a sturdy rubber band to wrap a microfiber cloth around the end a broom, and give those hard-to-reach areas a clean sweep!



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Beauty and utility: Designing a functional,...

(BPT) - Spring is a time of renewal and home improvement. More and more, homeowners are looking for maximum practicality and durability from everything in their home. They won't, however, sacrifice style and aesthetic to achieve it. Fortunately, home products continue to advance, be it waterproof technologies or scuff-proof surface finishes, all while maintaining the on-trend style and beautiful details design-savvy homeowners seek.

Form and function of flooring

The most impactful way to refresh the home is starting from the ground up with flooring. Many homeowners are drawn to the beauty of wood floors, but worry about spills or kids and pets tracking messes through the house. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators offer an array of waterproof and water resistant flooring styles. Lumber Liquidators' new Dream Home Ultra X2O laminate comes in a variety of styles and a wide color spectrum, and X2O has twice the water resistance of standard laminate flooring.

Scuff and scratch resistant baseboards

Adding baseboards and moldings to walls creates a rich and custom look. However, these finishes are often the first to show the wear and tear of high traffic areas. Baseboards treated with a high gloss, washable and stain-resistant paint are better able to withstand abuse, and they come clean with just a little soap in water.

Busy and beautiful kitchen countertops

Countertops are another design centerpiece of the home, and beautiful products abound. Quartz brings the look of stone and the variation of granite, with less maintenance. Butcher block counters are on-trend, add warmth and dimension, and are easy to repair. A good varnish helps maintain the wood and prevent staining.

Wallpaper makes a comeback

Wallpaper has seen a resurgence in design circles, with detailed patterns and bold prints that can bring whimsy to spaces. Many homeowners experiment with a bold pattern in a smaller space, like a powder room, but worry about the suitability of wallpaper for rooms where moisture is common. More brands carry water-resistant wall covering materials. Vinyl wallpaper works best in bathrooms and kitchens that are prone to stains and water.

When homeowners see a look they love on Pinterest or in a design magazine, there's likely a product or material to help them achieve it while protecting their investment.



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4 hot, high-tech upgrades to give your bathroom...

(BPT) - Americans love luxury and technology, so it's no surprise that the two are meeting and thriving in one of our favorite places - the bathroom. Just as technology is transforming every other area of the house, inside and out, it's recreating our concept of what constitutes a luxurious bathroom.

The 2016 Houzz Bathroom Trends study found many homeowners renovating their bathrooms are incorporating technology into their plans. From smart mirrors and medicine cabinets to showerheads with Bluetooth connectivity and self-cleaning toilets, technology's time has arrived in the American bathroom.

If you'll be designing or renovating a bathroom this year, here are four must-have technology items to incorporate into your plans:

The medicine cabinet of tomorrow

Hidden speakers, high-efficiency task lighting with capacitive-touch dimming, integrated USB charging ports - clearly, this is not your parent's medicine cabinet! The modern medicine cabinet does far more than serve as a repository for aspirin and toothpaste.

Acknowledging that today's homeowners multitask constantly, even in front of the bathroom mirror, Robern's AiO collection of medicine cabinets also includes magnetic storage strips, accessory trays, adjustable shelving, a magnification mirror and integrated electrical outlets. The embedded, invisible speakers turn the entire mirror into an audio system that's compatible with most USB-enabled music-playing devices.

Robern, an independently operated subsidiary of bathroom fixtures giant Kohler, has been making innovative bathroom fixtures for nearly 50 years. The AiO line is also fully customizable, and buyers can choose the size and shape that fits their design needs. Visit www.robern.com to learn more.

Fancy, user-friendly faucets

Remember the days when touchless faucets were the wave of the future? Modern bathroom faucets go far beyond the mere ability to turn them on or off without touching them. Faucets now marry high-tech functionality with leading-edge design to create a visual focal point for your bathroom vanity.

A variety of manufacturers offer a staggering array of features, including:

* Built-in face recognition that automatically adjusts water temperature and pressure to the settings of the recognized user.

* Internet connectivity and a display screen so you can see emails, your calendar and the weather report while you're brushing your teeth.

* Patterned or shaped spray produced by special mechanisms within the faucet that create swirls in the water discharge or shape it into a thin sheet of water.

* The ability to track water consumption while adjusting the temperature and flow to maximize efficiency.

Smarter toilets

Seventy percent of the homeowners surveyed by Houzz said they had upgraded their toilets as part of their bathroom renovations. Today's toilets are far more than just a place to take care of business. From super high-efficiency models that flush with amazingly small amounts of water to self-cleaning bowls and motion-activated lids and seats, the toilet has gone high-tech.

You can find features that range from practical to decadent, including:

* Heated seats and bidet functions

* Dryers and deodorizers

* Built-in music players

* Illumination for nighttime bathroom visits

* Remote controls for opening and closing the lid and seat

* Hands-free flushing

* Automatic self-cleaning

Modern mirrors

From built-in TVs to task lighting and integrated USB ports, mirrors, like other bathroom fixtures, are now incorporating a variety of high-tech features.

Robern's AiO wall mirror collection offers numerous features, including the ability to wirelessly turn the entire mirror into a speaker. The mirror can communicate with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to stream your favorite music or news program into the bathroom.

Quality light is essential for everyone's bathroom routine, and the AiO wall mirrors allow users to customize light output for their needs. A capacitive-touch dimming switch controls the LED lights in the mirror, and LUM Lighting produces light in the 4000-4500 Kelvin range to provide brighter, fresher light that imparts neutral illumination to skin tones.

Whether you're renovating an old bathroom you just can't stand anymore or building a new home with the bathroom of your dreams, high-tech features can add enjoyment and usability to one of the most popular rooms in the house.



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Retaining walls create attractive outdoor...

(BPT) - Humpty Dumpty had the right idea when he sat on a wall.

Segmental retaining wall (SRW) units are a popular solution for beautiful and durable outdoor seating - from freestanding walls that double as seating and two-tiered couches to large applications such as cost-effective amphitheater and stadium seating.

Landscape professionals and do-it-yourselfers can build seating options from these multi-purpose units that are a trusted solution for soil retention, erosion control and to mitigate grade changes in the landscape.

Residential seating

'Retaining walls are both durable, beautiful and versatile tools of the trade,' says Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minnesota. 'Our landscape designers use retaining wall systems to create hardscapes such as fire features, raised patios, planters and other outdoor living amenities in addition to retaining walls, tiered seat walls and freestanding walls.'

The solid, pinned units provide extreme versatility and ease of installation. 'VERSA-LOK is an ideal building block for tiered wall seating and even amphitheater seating because of its outstanding ability to create curves, corners, columns and tiers with the single Standard unit and no special pieces,' Arnold says.

A couch kit is one popular use of the VERSA-LOK retaining wall units, said Arnold. The curved couch with a tiered back provides seating for up to four people, and stepped ends make an attractive accent. It can be installed in a paver patio or as a stand-alone seating in the garden.

A versatile tool

Seat walls can be worked into many landscaping designs. Freestanding seat walls can frame a square or circular patio to create an outdoor room, doubling the function and value of the retaining wall.

"Some of our most popular installations feature fireplaces on a patio or a fire ring surrounded by a seat wall," says Kelly O'Donahue, a landscape designer with Villa. "Seat walls or a hardscape couch around a fire feature are useful and beautiful additions to any outdoor living space that you can enjoy all season."

SRWs can be used to replace an aging deck by creating a raised patio to grade, says Arnold. A freestanding seat wall can be built within the raised patio to serve as seating, to define the outdoor room and provide a measure of fall protection.

Commercial seating

Event spaces such as stadiums, courtyards, outdoor classrooms and amphitheaters have benefitted from economical outdoor seating solutions using SRWS. Staff at the International institute of St. Louis wanted to create an event space in an area that had a crumbling cinderblock wall separating the courtyard from the parking lot. Landscape architect Brad Furfaro worked with the site architect to come up with a tiered wall seating solution.

'We met the challenge of creating a beautiful outdoor space that looked nice and function as seating, but also was a structure to hold the parking lot hillside back,' says Furfaro, who owns Furfaro Design-Build Landscapes in St. Louis. 'For a measure of design continuity, we were also able to use caps that match the SRW units on an existing cinderblock wall that did not have to be removed.'

The new amphitheater-style space seats about 80 people for outdoor training and events. 'One challenge was a grade change from the base of the wall to the top and also a horizontal grade change from one end to the other,' Furfaro says. 'The slope and seating starts out 4 feet on the east end and graduates to more than 6 feet on the west end. I had not used VERSA-LOK in this way before, but I knew that it's a block that I can do anything with.'

It's a good idea to sit on a wall when so many outdoor living features can be created with SRWs. From curved couches and freestanding seatwalls to amphitheaters and stadium seating, retaining wall units not only function as they were intended but also offer new solutions for outdoor living projects.



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5 spring DIY craft projects to make old stuff...

(BPT) - Spring isn't just the season to clean out old junk from your home, it's also the perfect time to tackle some DIY craft projects that repurpose household items and give them new life. Repurposing, or 'upcycling,' is one of the hottest trends in home decor and design for 2017, according to online DIY community Hometalk.com. Before you throw away an old book case, battered picture frame or wooden industrial spool, why not think of ways to upcycle those items instead?

Here are five projects the DIY experts at Arrow Fastener Company recommend to help you add a fresh look to your home while giving new life to old items:

Book page wreath - True book-lovers find it painful to ever throw away a book, but what can you do with a tome that's become too worn to read anymore? Turn it into a decorative wreath that proclaims your love of the written word. You'll need wood for a base, an old book and a craft glue gun.

Industrial wooden spool seat and bookshelf - You may have no idea where it came from or why it's in your garage, but that industrial spool can become the perfect place to put up your feet and read a book. A blog post on Pandora's Craft Box shows you how to turn a wooden spool into a beautiful bookshelf/footstool combo. You'll need wood stain, pieces of wood to create internal shelving, upholstery materials like batting, foam and fabric, and an Arrow T50 Heavy Duty staple gun to affix the padding to the top of the spool.

Wine bottle rustic vase - Every now and then you have a bottle of wine that's just so good - or the bottle itself is so pretty - you just don't want to give it up. Turning it into a rustic vase is a great way to preserve the memories associated with the bottle and create a beautiful decorative piece for your home. You'll need a glass wine bottle, 20-50 feet of sisal rope, scissors, a mini glue gun, glue sticks and optional decorative embellishments.

Feline playland - If you have a bored cat and an old book case, you have the makings of magic! The blog My Very Educated Mother offers directions on how to repurpose an old book case by using a staple gun to affix rugged carpet remnants to the interior, shelves and exterior of the case. The shelves are a fun place for kitty to sit, and the carpet gives her somewhere appropriate to sharpen her claws. You can also store toys, treats and even a bed on the shelves.

Woodland picture frame - Do you have an old picture frame or a mirror that the glass has broken out of? You can transform the most basic or worn frame into a piece of natural art by using a glue gun to attach sticks in varying shapes and sizes to the frame. Use sticks from a craft store or from your own backyard to decorate the frame, giving it a rustic look that brings a bit of nature into your home.

For more DIY projects to help you repurpose old items into new home decor this spring, visit arrowfastener.com/projects or Arrow's Pinterest page.



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Thoughtful home design: 4 tips to transform any...

(BPT) - During the 1950s, the average-sized American home was just around 1,700 square feet. Fast forward to today, and the average size has increased to about 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While many Americans think the bigger the better, there is a growing trend of homeowners around the country opting to downsize to tiny homes, condominiums, apartments or just smaller single-family homes.

Deciding to scale down is driven by many reasons - the quest for less maintenance, parents recently becoming empty nesters, an increase in the cost of living or simply looking to live a greener lifestyle. However, having less square footage doesn't need to mean skimping on style or function.

If you are planning on downsizing, here are four tips for thoughtful small space home design.

1. Think durable material that can handle double duty.

As people continue to downsize, it is important to maximize space by having rooms work double duty. If your home isn't large enough to accommodate an eating area and an office, have your kitchen island work as both.

To keep up with daily wear, such as sliding pots and pans, plates, spills and more, look to a high performance countertop such as Neolith. This material is scratch, heat and stain-resistant. It's also non-porous and hygienic, so there's no need to worry about cross-contamination on office papers by day and food by night.

2. Less is more.

According to popular belief, it is better to fill a space with several small pieces of furniture. However, design savvy professionals and homeowners are turning this idea on its head by using fewer, yet larger pieces to furnish living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. By doing so, this creates an optical illusion of space and adds a designer's touch.

3. Make a statement.

When designing a small space like a bathroom, thoughtfully selected wall colors can make a huge difference. To really make a statement, think beyond paint with unexpected textures, designs and materials such as Neolith sintered stone in the La Boheme design. This decor is an accurate interpretation of Lebanese-inspired cedar that adds visual interest and is much easier to maintain than its natural counterpart.

Finish off the look with oversized art, large mirrors to bounce light around the room, a floating sink and toilet, and open shower to pack a punch in a small space.

4. Bring only what you love.

It may seem obvious, but when moving or scaling back on your next home, be sure to take an inventory of everything you own, and only bring items that make you happy. Without the extra storage space larger homes afford, downsizing is a great opportunity to really ask yourself, 'Do I love this and do I need it?' When you have only the possessions you love surrounding you in your new space, it will automatically feel bigger.

To start your small space project, experiment with different styles and colors through online design tools, like the visualizer on www.neolith.com. While smaller rooms demand creative thinking and individuality, quality design is well within reach.



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How trending home colors achieve their 'hot'...

(BPT) - You see it every year — a “hot” new color begins appearing on phone cases, walls, ceilings, furnishings and accessories. Soon, virtually everyone who’s doing any kind of renovation or design work is incorporating that color into their project. Have you ever wondered how home color trends happen?

“Our team of global color experts assess societal and cultural influences from around the world to forecast what colors will be popular in home decor, consumer goods, automotive and even on airplanes for the upcoming year,” says Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager for PPG in North America. “We also look at what major retailers are doing in home décor, and what’s happening in society, and people’s state of emotion because of these events. All this information helps us predict what colors will resonate with people in the coming year.”

For example, immediately following 9/11, pinks and browns were popular because people craved comfort and security. For 2017, a blending of various cultural norms influenced the choice of purples as color of the year, Schlotter says.

“Culturally, we’re seeing a shift toward blending of gender, relationships, careers, workplaces and living spaces,” she says. “For example, male makeup models are now blending traditional views of masculine and feminine. Hotels, restaurants and homes are blending indoor and outdoor spaces, and modern offices are finding middle ground between work and play. Purple is such a blended color that it really speaks to what’s going on in the world, especially for our choices of 2017 color of the year, which combines gray, blue and purple all in one tone.”

Shades of purple are the colors of the year for multiple paint brands including PPG Paints, Glidden and Olympic paints. Glidden’s Byzantine Blue and PPG’s Violet Verbena blend blue and gray to create a hue that appears more gray when paired with dark neutrals and bluish-purple when paired with whites, similar to that of a chameleon. Cloudberry from Olympic is a calm, soft violet that also straddles the blurred line between purple and gray.

“Blended purples evoke a lush, pampering yet calm effect that’s a comforting foil to the harshness of the world right now,” Schlotter says. “These trending colors are sweet without being feminine, and gray without being somber.”

The colors also mesh with the more bohemian lifestyles people seem to be pursuing, she notes. A trend toward spiritual exploration is driving interest in meditation and yoga, which blend elements of mental and physical exercise. “This fits perfectly with the purple trend because this hue is thought to represent the subconscious, and can be a meditative color in the right tone,” she says.

While Schlotter says homeowners have historically been shy about using purple, this year’s hues will work well in a variety of settings. The muted nature of the colors makes them gender-neutral yet impactful, so they’re great statement colors when used in a dining room, on the front door or even as an accent wall in a child’s room.

What’s more, the color pairs well with trending home materials, such as gray flooring, black tiles and gold décor accents. The unique blended qualities of the colors mean these purples can adapt to the surrounding environments and blend effortlessly.

“The great thing about Violet Verbena, Cloudberry and Byzantine Blue is that they all have hints of other colors and neutrals in them,” Schlotter says. “Gray is popular now more than ever, but many consumers don’t want a monochromatic look. These beautiful purple hues pull in hints of blue and gray to form chameleon-like hues that adjust based on their surroundings. They’re not your typical purple, but rather can be looked at — and used — like a new neutral.”



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Make a striking focal point the foundation of...

(BPT) - American homeowners' desire for spa-like bathrooms shows no signs of waning, says the latest Design Trends report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). From freestanding bath tubs and floating vanities to LED lighting and soothing color schemes, some of the most-requested bathroom renovations focus on creating the atmosphere of luxury and calm found in world-class spas.

With the average mid- to upscale bathroom remodeling costing in the range of $30,000, homeowners are also looking for the most cost-effective way to create that spa-like feeling. Many are opting to build their bathroom renovations around a focal point, such as a freestanding tub or luxury shower, and round out the effect with more modest accessories and fixtures.

Choosing a focal point

Homeowners are choosing to install freestanding soaking tubs in their master bathrooms, in particular, to create an exclusive sanctuary of relaxation. In fact, in 2016 half of NKBA members were asked to install freestanding tubs in bathroom remodels, and 60 percent expect to be doing more of them in 2017.

Traditionally styled freestanding tubs were often claw-footed fixtures that meshed well with conventional design themes, but struggled to fit into the sleek, contemporary lines associated with a spa-like setting. Strikingly modern freestanding tubs offer expanded design flexibility as a focal point in today's spa-inspired bathroom settings. Options like the American Standard Coastal-Serin Freestanding Tub in high-gloss cast acrylic enhance the deep soaking space of a luxurious tub with a clean, simple and modern profile that fits well in spa-like bathroom design.

Few bathroom fixtures speak of luxury as clearly and loudly as a showpiece bathtub. A deep, sumptuous freestanding tub not only provides a restful spot for a soothing soak after a long day, it also serves as a striking visual focal point for modern baths.

Considering Fixture Alternatives

Already have a standard alcove tub, but still want to create your spa at home? Try installing a deep soak tub drain, which has a unique overflow feature that allows 2-inch deeper water than a standard bathtub drain. This universal drain works in most standard bathtubs - and that could be yours.

Replacing a standard toilet seat with an upscale option like the DXV AT100 SpaLet Electronic Bidet Seat furthers the luxuriousness of the bathroom without the cost commitment and permanency of installing a full bidet. Its heated seat, choice of water temperature and volume for the two cleansing wands, and the oh-so-decadent warm air dryer are the ultimate self-indulgence to bring the spa right into your home.

Wood vanities and storage cabinets for bath linens continue to be popular with today's consumers. Floating vanities and open shelving, which are gaining in use with interior designers and homeowners alike, can further the effect of an upscale spa by creating a visually clean, uncluttered effect.

Rounding out the theme

Soft, pale greens and aquas have long been associated with spa-like design, but in 2017 bathroom color choices are trending toward grays, off whites, blues and violets, according to the Design Trends report. Sedate and subtle are the hallmarks of spa color schemes, so when choosing yours keep in mind the calm effect you want to achieve. Also, remember your color scheme doesn't have to be limited to the walls; consider incorporating your chosen colors into cabinetry, countertops and accessories.

Flexible lighting is also key for a spa-like bathroom. Remember to incorporate brighter lighting where you'll need it most, such as around vanities, and add features like dimmers that will allow you to reduce the amount of light in the room when you want to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Finally, adding touches that appeal to all your senses, such as music, mood lighting and aromatherapy can elevate a bathroom to a spa-like environment. Whether you opt for a full surround system in your bathroom or add waterproof blue tooth speakers in the shower, it's easy to bring music into your spa bath. Scent adds yet another layer of luxury and is easy to achieve, whether you choose a simple arrangement of essential oils and diffuser reeds or an electronic diffuser that gently mists aroma into the room.

Americans view their bathrooms as more than just a room to take care of business. Infusing your master bathroom with spa-like features can turn the room into an oasis of relaxation and luxury.



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5 fun ways to decorate for spring

(BPT) - Spring is the perfect time to shake things up with your home decor. As Mother Nature transforms her landscape with fresh buds and blooms, you're probably longing to refresh your home, too. These five easy craft projects are perfect family activities and the results will add touches of springtime throughout the house.

Rain boot wreath

Do you have a pair of rain boots your kids have grown out of? Use these as an adorable way to display silk flowers in the entryway. Simply select your favorite long-stem flowers from your local craft store (hint: tulips are perfect for spring). Have kids help arrange flowers inside boots and then hang with a large decorative ribbon on your door.

Thumbprint flower pots

Jazz up boring terracotta pots with acrylic paint and the tiny fingerprints from your mini helpers. Have kids wear a smock (acrylic paint can stain), then carefully dip fingertips into paint and press onto the pot. For example, red fingerprints can be turned into cute ladybugs with a few black details when dry. You can also use fingerprints to create flowers, butterflies and more.

Flip-flop welcome sign

Favorite warm-weather foot gear can be used to create a cute sign welcoming guests to your home. Buy four pairs of colorful flip flops from any dollar store. Line up and then adhere each side together with hot glue (eight flip-flops total glued together). On the heel of each sandal paint a letter from "Welcome!" When done, let kids adorn with colorful gems, stickers, and other fun spring details.

PEEPS spring centerpiece

PEEPS is the quintessential springtime candy, but is also great when used in crafts like this colorful centerpiece. Just follow these easy DIY directions and you'll create a centerpiece that will be a real conversation starter for kids and adults alike. For more project ideas, visit www.marshmallowpeeps.com.

Supplies:

4-inch cube vase
6-inch cube vase
Jelly beans
30 Gerbera Daisies or silk flowers of choice
20 PEEPS Bunnies

Directions:

1. Center one vase inside the other and insert jelly beans (in any colors you like) between the walls of the two cubes.

2. Place PEEPS on top of jelly beans, making sure to save a few for the corners of the vase. Don't be afraid to squeeze them into the space. You should have enough to fill in any gaps.

3. Gerberas are usually sold with plastic tubes on the stems for support. Keeping the plastic in place, cut the flowers to desired length and arrange them in the smaller vase.

4. Cutting shorter stems for the outside flowers and longer stems for the inner ones will give you a nice rounded top. And don't skimp on flowers: If you don't want to use that many gerberas, find a pair of smaller vases.

Pastel painted pine cones

Take kids on a nature walk and collect pine cones. Brush off dirt and allow to dry if moist. Then, lay out paper and have kids paint pine cones in festive pastel colors. Mint green, soft pink and sky blue are classic spring hues. Once dry, display in a decorative bowl and hang from strings in front of a window.



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Light solutions: What to do when your house...

(BPT) - A house with ample windows can win your heart with silent promises of sun-drenched rooms and warm breezes wafting through open windows. The truth, however, is that even a home with windows galore can have rooms that feel dark and cave like.

Some of the most-loved aspects of modern design - open, expansive floor plans, wood flooring in darker tones, walls of windows - may leave portions of a room dazzled with sun and other parts dim and poorly lit. For example, a room with a wall full of picture windows will often lack windows on other walls. Near the windows, you'll get plenty of sunlight and some glare, but the natural light might not make it to the far corners of the room - especially if it's a large space like a great room.

What's more, interior spaces like powder rooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms and closets often have no windows at all, making them feel small and dark. No one wants rooms that look like caves - not even if your house has an actual 'man cave' or 'woman cave' in it!

Fortunately, a few smart decorating tricks and some budget-friendly, high-impact enhancements can help brighten rooms and relieve that cavelike feeling.

Sunlight solutions

Of course, the sure-fire way to get more light into a room is to add more windows, but that's not always a practical or cost-effective solution. Instead, look for alternative ways to bring more sunlight into a room.

Daylighting systems can bring sunlight from a rooftop down into a room, allowing natural light to illuminate dark spaces where light from windows can't reach. For example, the Solatube Daylighting System captures daylight with a rooftop dome. A highly reflective tube funnels light inside the home, where a decorative fixture on the ceiling spills the natural light into dim areas. The tube fits between rafters, so there's no need to cut through critical structures, do frame work or make repairs to sheetrock.

An options light kit provides electric illumination on cloudy days or at night. The included integrated solar-powered nightlight provides gentle, low-level illumination at night, and qualifies the entire system, plus installation, for a 30 percent federal tax credit. With the tax credit, Solatubes start at less than $500 installed, making them a cost-effective option for any room in the house, and especially in master baths, powder rooms, mudrooms, hallways and laundry rooms. To learn more, visit Solatubedaylighting.com.

Another option is to amplify the sunlight coming into the room. Strategically positioning mirrors can help reflect natural light to dark corners. What's more, a large mirror mimics the feeling of a window, making rooms feel bigger and brighter.

Window dressing

Maximizing the amount of light that comes in through the windows you do have is easy. Keep curtains light and airy, and use blinds or shades to control the amount of light coming from the window. Install curtain rods 2 feet wider than windows so that when curtains or drapes are open, they don't block any of the window or the light coming through it.

You can also 'dress' walls to mimic the look of windows. For example, if you have a windowless powder room, adding a transom above the door can help the room feel bigger while borrowing light from adjacent rooms. The tactic of borrowing light can also work if you're able to put a pass through between a closed off room and an adjacent one that has windows.

Decorating tricks

Finally, don't overlook the power of decor in making a room feel bright and welcoming. Light-hued walls of white, cream or pale yellow or blue not only make a room feel bigger, they evoke the visual qualities of natural light.

Large windowless rooms, like a basement play room, can benefit from large framed art. Select scenes that mimic the view you might get from a picture window, such as a seascape, mountain scene or city skyline.

Filtered overhead light can also create the effect of a natural light source. For example, drape light-colored, opaque fabric above a bed, so that the cloth conceals the overhead light fixture. As the artificial light shines through the fabric, it will imitate the diffused look of natural light.



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4 bathroom design trends that marry luxury,...

(BPT) - When you’re ready to create the bathroom of your dreams, it’s no time to chase fads. You want design trends with enduring appeal, concepts that blend luxury, beauty, sensibility and eco-friendliness. Striking the perfect balance between indulgence and practicality can result in a bathroom where you’ll happily spend time getting ready to face the world or decompressing after a busy day.

As you’re planning your bathroom remodel, here are four 2017 bathroom design trends that are as smart as they are luxurious and lovely:

Rediscover cork

Chances are, if cork is already present in your home, it’s part of a bulletin board or nestled in the neck of your favorite bottle of wine. However, cork has many advantages as a design material, and it’s especially appealing in modern bathrooms.

Cork is a beautiful natural material. With a wide variety of colors, grains and textures, each piece of cork is a unique work of natural art. It’s naturally water resistant (although not water proof) and anti-microbial, so it combats mold and mildew in bathrooms. As a flooring material, it’s soft, warm texture is friendly to bare feet.

Finally, cork is exceptionally sustainable; it’s renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, and cork trees need not be cut down in order to harvest the material.

Win with wall-mount toilets

Already widely found in European homes, wall-mount toilets are gaining in popularity in the U.S. Wall-mount toilets offer many design advantages that are both beautiful and practical. Mounting a toilet on the wall allows greater design flexibility, and makes cleaning beneath and around the fixture easy. Great in any size bathroom, wall-mount toilets work particularly well in smaller spaces to create an uncluttered and open visual effect.

Leading manufacturers like TOTO offer wall-hung toilets that feature leading edge technology and eco-friendly elements. The newest addition to TOTO’s line of wall-mount toilets, the MH Wall-Hung High Efficiency Toilet, delivers an elegant appearance, powerful Dual-Max 3D Tornado flushing, a nano-technology glaze that repels waste and reduces the need for harsh cleansers, and a planet-loving 1.28 gallons per flush for solid waste and 0.9 gpf for liquid waste.

Delightful daylighting

The concept of daylighting — using natural light from multiple sources to illuminate a space — has been around for a while, and this is the year to welcome the trend into your bathroom. Incorporating natural light into a bathroom can help reduce electricity consumption, improve visibility, positively affect your mood, balance your internal clock and increase your home’s resale value.

Windows are the most common way to bring sunlight into a room. If your bathroom has an exterior wall that’s lacking a window, consider adding one. Windows with glass blocks or simple frosting on panes can allow you to enjoy sunlight while retaining privacy.

Skylights and tubular skylights are another tactic for bringing daylight into a bathroom. For rooms with direct roof access, professional skylight installation can be a cost-effective way to daylight the room. For ground-floor powder rooms and second-floor bathrooms with an attic above them, tubular skylights use reflective tubes and mirrors to transmit sunlight from the roof into the room.

Wonderful wet rooms

Showers, like TOTO’s Aero Shower System, have been trending toward larger and luxurious for some time now on the bathroom design scene. For a shower that truly stands out in terms of visual impact and luxurious experience, consider creating a wet room. Another bathroom design concept that’s popular abroad, modern wet room bathrooms eliminate shower doors, enhance accessibility, make cleaning easier and create a more expansive shower experience.

To turn your standard bathroom into a wet room, you’ll need to waterproof the walls and floors, and have the floor gently graded to lead to a central floor drain that carries excess water away. Whether you have a large bathroom or a smaller space, the wet room concept can make your bathroom look and feel bigger by eliminating shower stalls, doors and curtains that take up space.

The average mid-range bathroom remodel recoups more than 65 percent of its value upon resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. By choosing design trends that combine good sense with luxurious style, you can create a bathroom that will enhance your enjoyment of your home while increasing your home’s value.



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The home design trend you need to know about

(BPT) - With the new year underway, the housing world is buzzing about the next transformative trend in home design and remodeling. This year it seems certain the growing trend of mixing and layering materials, something many designers and architects noticed was growing in popularity over the past few years, will dominate the remodeling and design scene.

When it comes to mixing materials, there's no rule book; all you should do is find a combination to match your personality. This might be one of the biggest reasons why people have taken to mixing materials, as it truly allows you to create a home that is uniquely yours.

Bold and innovative

The most immediate effect of mixing materials is that it opens new possibilities and new ways of expression. An example of this can be likened to how hard stone surfaces in a room can be complemented by soft carpet and furniture, or how the highly textured wood on a ceiling can stand in stark contrast to polished stone. Some of the hottest looks today, such as the blending of unfinished industrial materials with modern floors and cabinets, would have been considered outlandish only a few years ago. Mixing materials gives you greater freedom to create a space that represents your style.

Style on a budget

Of all the rooms in a home, kitchens and bathrooms still get the most attention. Unfortunately, getting that dream kitchen or perfect bathroom isn't always inexpensive.

For those who have uncompromising taste, but are on a budget, mixing materials is the ideal solution. For instance, say you had your heart set on a marble island and surrounding countertops, but just can't afford marble. Instead, you can choose from a variety of Wilsonart(R) Quartz for the island. Engineered to showcase the erratic veins and patterns prized in marble, quartz also has the advantage of being non-porous, so it won't stain and requires virtually no maintenance. A timeless look that continues to win the popularity contest are nature's neutrals in white, grey and black, offering flexibility to play with bold or demure colorful accents.

You can complement the quartz island by mixing in an even more affordable material like Wilsonart(R) Laminate for the perimeter countertops and vertical applications such as backsplashes and walls. With numerous styles to choose from, you'll be able to create a stunning contrast and dimensionality that will make your room pop. With today's innovation in laminate manufacturing and fabrication, adding affordable luxury to your kitchen or bath has never been easier.

Utility meets style

Parents, in particular, face a constant dilemma: They want a home with rooms that can stand up to all the abuse toddlers and teenagers can throw at it, but still have it look good. The answer lies in Wilsonart(R) Solid Surface. This material is tough, non-porous, seamless and repairable without sacrificing beauty. With a wide variety of styles replicating stone, you can easily mix it with other material looks to make an intriguing statement.

To explore hundreds of options, visit www.wilsonart.com and start mixing materials to see what's possible in your home.



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4 hot bathroom design trends that don't have to...

(BPT) - Coffee bars, TVs in mirrors, smart toilets and pet-friendly amenities - a growing number of homeowners are requesting such upscale features in their bathroom design, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Is it any wonder that association members report the average cost of remodeling a bath is between $10,000 and $30,000? However, you don't have to spend that much to update your bathroom stylishly and easily.

Here are four popular bathroom design preferences, plus tips to cost-effectively achieve these looks in your home:

Transitional is trending

According to a poll of remodeling professionals, the vast majority agreed that "transitional" was the most-requested style in bathroom settings. Transitional design allows you to blend elements of both traditional and contemporary styles. The result is a comfortable blend of sophistication and simplicity that is easy to create with only a modest investment.

An example is the urban depiction of the Townsend widespread lavatory faucet from American Standard in dramatic legacy bronze, paired with a modern vessel sink in sleek white. The high-arc, deep bronze finished faucet harkens to a classic era of design. The tapered faucet shape, reminiscent of classic bridge pediments, evokes an industrial feel of city living that fits well with a lavatory that showcases contemporary angular styling.

Neutrals have staying power

Long favored for their ability to create an easy-to-customize color foundation, neutral hues remain in vogue in the bathroom. Whites and grays are the most popular color schemes, NKBA reports, although these colors aren't confined to walls or floors.

White continues to be the most popular color choice for toilets, tubs and sinks. In bathrooms with these pristine-toned fixtures, you can cost-effectively play on the neutral trend by adding pale gray to the walls. For a subtle effect that will also add height to the room, paint the ceiling a gray several shades lighter than the walls.

Superior showers

The shower is becoming a highlight of the bathroom, with many renovators reporting that homeowners want customization such as lighting, built-in seating, benches and hand-showers installed. Remodeling your shower can be as simple as replacing an old-style, static showerhead with an upgraded, more luxurious model. One option is the American Standard drenching 6-inch square showerhead, paired with the Times Square shower system that features an ultra-convenient hand shower. A teak shower seat and recessed lighting above the shower are also cost-effective upgrades that can elevate your shower experience to be truly spa-like.

Aging-in-place amenities

Home design experts have long predicted that as baby boomers grow older, demand will increase for home features that will allow seniors to stay in their houses throughout their golden years. NKBA members report evidence of this trend, with more homeowners asking for aging-in-place upgrades such as grab bars, higher vanities and chair-height toilets.

Aging-in-place upgrades are among the most useful and cost-effective bathroom improvements. Following this pattern can be as simple as installing grab bars in showers and tubs, and next to toilets. Replacing knob faucets with single-handle or lever-style faucets allows people with dexterity challenges to easily and safely function in the bathroom.

Remodeling your bathroom to keep pace with today's hottest trends doesn't have to cost a lot. With a few creative touches and versatile pieces like new faucets and hand showers, it's possible to create an up-to-date look with a modest investment.



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Playroom upgrade: A wall-mount 'barn door'...

(BPT) - With spring fast approaching and the kids at school, there's no better time to upgrade the playroom.

Why not swap out a traditional swinging door for a playful chalkboard wall-mounted sliding door? Your little artists can draw for hours on the chalkboard, plus the sliding door can add up to 14 square feet of floor space which means more room for spreading out toys, games and building forts. There's also more flexibility in furniture arrangements. This means even the smallest nook in your house could turn into a cozy play space.

It's easy to do with Johnson's 2610SC Soft-Close Wall Mount Sliding Door Hardware. You can use it with virtually any metal or wood door from 1-inch to 1 3/4-inch thick, up to 60-inches wide, and weighing up to 200 pounds. The 2610SC Wall Mount includes hardware that gently slows the door's travel speed to softly pull it into the fully open or fully closed position. The hardware works like a cabinet door closer, enabling doors to open and close quietly and securely. It also prevents door slamming and pinched fingers, as well as significantly reducing door operational noise.

The built-in satin finish fascia gives a warm decorative detail to the room (also available with bronze fascia). There are also adjustable door guides and smooth rolling tricycle hangers. You can set the adjustable track stops to control the door travel as well. The jump-proof aluminum box track is available in lengths up to 96-inches for single doors, and up to 192-inches for double doors.

The smooth rolling door hardware and track exceed ANSI standards, which means it can successfully complete 100,000 opening and closing cycles. Made in the USA. This is an easy project for an experienced handyman to complete. Check out the installation video for guidance: www.johnsonhardware.com/video.htm.

For more information, visit www.johnsonhardware.com/2610f.htm or call (800) 837-5664. Follow the Company on Twitter: @JohnsonHrdware, Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/johnsonhardware/ Instagram: johnsonhardware or Facebook: www.facebook.com/johnsonhardware1958.



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5 easy DIY projects to tackle this winter

(BPT) - The winter months are the perfect time to dig in and tackle easy DIY projects for an updated home you'll enjoy all year long. These five simple home improvement projects are incredibly easy, affordable and can be completed in three hours or less.

Marvelous mirrors

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, you're looking a little shabby. Mirrors are timeless decor options, but the frames can look dated over time. Breathe new life into an old mirror by painting the frame a rich, modern color that pops within the current color scheme. Another idea is to clean the frame and adhere mosaic tiles along the edge for a crafty, custom look.

Handsome hardware

Old hardware makes any room look like a relic of yesteryear. A complete replacement can be costly, so instead opt to paint existing hardware. Simply remove and clean to eliminate grime. Then use one of 11 colors of Krylon(R) Premium Metallic, like Pewter Gray or White Copper, to create a lustrous, high-gloss metallic finish in just a few coats. A tip for painting hardware is to use an old egg carton. Turn the egg carton upside down, secure the hardware to the egg cups and spray away!

Dazzling doors

Dingy doors can get a stylish update with minimal effort when you add some interesting detailing to the panels. Leftover wallpaper, for example, can be adhered to the panel sections for an eye-catching look. Another fun option, especially for kids’ rooms, is to spray paint panels with chalkboard paint. Then kids can customize drawings and messages whenever they'd like with chalk markers.

Lovely lamps

Those old lamps still have a lot of life left in them — they just need a fresh color and finish. Metallic colors are trending for 2017, so add a modern touch to treasured lamps with a fresh coat of spray paint. Use Krylon(R) Shimmer Metallic for some extra shine and shimmer to transform an old lamp into a new statement piece.

Cheeky Chairs

Wood chairs are a household essential, but because they are used so frequently, they suffer a lot of wear and tear. There's no need to replace when the finish is dull; just add some colorful pizzazz by painting with Krylon(R)ColorMaster(TM) Paint + Primer spray paint. No primer is needed, plus it dries in 10 minutes or less so you save time. Vivid shades like Gloss Emerald Green and Satin Burgundy are guaranteed to pop. Follow the simple directions below to revamp your own wooden chairs:

Materials:

Krylon(R) ColorMaster(TM) Paint +Primer

Protective gloves and eye wear
Drop cloth to protect work surface
Sandpaper
Tack cloth

Instructions:

1. Set up a spray area by covering work area with a drop cloth. Make sure it is in a well-ventilated area.

2. Read the spray paint can label for proper safety and application instructions.

3. Prep chair surface by lightly sanding. Then wipe down the surface with a tackcloth to remove dust and particles.

4. Apply even coats of ColorMaster Paint+Primer to the chair in a side-to-side motion. Slightly overlap each spray, working from the top down.

5. Recoat, per instructions, until the chair’s surface is completely covered.

6. Allow paint to dry completely.



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Articles last updated at Apr 26, 2017 17:56:56pm.
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