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Pre-Holiday Kitchen Updates

With the winter holidays literally right around the corner, you may be thinking that doing any home upgrades is not the best idea. However, if the thought of several people in your sad kitchen makes you cringe, there are several things you can do to breathe a bit of life into the heart of the home. So here is a list of some kitchen upgrades you can make before the holidays.

Paint The Kitchen Cabinets

This is a very quick and affordable way to update your kitchen. Wooden cabinets are the easiest to paint over since you just take sandpaper to remove the gloss and get to work. So within a few hours, you could potentially have an entirely new kitchen.

Updated Fixtures

If you don’t have the time to paint your cabinets or you want to go above and beyond, another good update to make is changing out the fixtures. If you have had plain handles or knobs for years, buy some in bright contrasting colors for a great pop in the kitchen. Popular colors like black, silver, and copper look great with most cabinet types. Also, switching out your light fixtures can be the perfect change to your kitchen.

Paint Accent Wall

Painting the entire kitchen can be quite the task, however, only painting one accent wall is can be one in an afternoon. Accent walls have become increasingly popular over the years and you can be as extravagant as you want to be. Anything from shiplap, wallpaper, to paint, an accent wall is a great addition to a kitchen.

Add a Backsplash

Backsplashes can either be a focal point or just a subtle detail that brings the kitchen to the next level. Whichever you decide, updating or adding a backsplash can be done quite easily or you always have the option to hire someone.

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Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees. Which is Right For You?

Picking out the perfect tree each Christmas has become a holiday tradition in many families. Whether you go each year to pick out a live tree or every few years to pick out an artificial one. Real trees have a pleasant evergreen smell and feel. They also require some preparation and care but this is a valuable part of the holidays. On the flipside, artificial trees also offer some unique bonuses like, being easy to set up, hypoallergenic, and they come in style and colors that don’t occur in regular trees. Let’s dive into what goes into each type of trees, so you can decide which one is right for your family.

Christmas Tree Shopping Tip

Before you head out with the family to pick out your tree, whether it be live or artificial, measure the area you want the tree to be displayed. Check the height of the ceiling and available space needed to accommodate the width of the tree. The last thing you want it to get the tree home and have a repeat of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Artificial Christmas Trees

There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for an artificial Christmas tree, size, style, and features.

Size

Typically, full-size artificial trees range in height from 6.5 to 12 ft, which will accommodate just about ceiling height. There are also slim trees and full girth trees to choose from. So depending on whether this tree is going to be the main feature of the home or placed in the corner as a small decoration, be sure to measure the space before buying.

Style

Artificial tree needles are created using extruded Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or molded Poly-Ethylene (PE) or a combination of both. Either material expertly replicates the look of pine, fir, or other evergreen trees. Colors vary from a mix of greens to several other colors.

Features

Most artificial trees are pre-lit, meaning the lights are already installed. These lights may be incandescent or LED bulbs in multi-color, clear, color changing or random shimmering lights. There are also flocked trees to make it look snow-covered and self-shaping trees have wired in branches to make the tree expand to its original shape when removed from the box.

Real Christmas Trees

The most popular real Christmas trees come from the pin or fir species. Choosing the right type depends on your personal taste and regional availability.

Pine Trees- Pine trees have long, slender needles 1 inch to 6 inches long attached in clusters to branches. These trees vary in shades of yellow-green and blue-green.

Fir Trees- Fir trees have flat and waxy needles up to 1.5 inches long attached directly to branches in long, dense rows. Color varies from yellow-green to dark green, and some trees have touches of reddish-brown on the buds. Firs have a very noticeable fragrance. Firs also have more flexible branches than pines and spruces and will shed some needles. The best varieties are Grand, Fraser, Noble, Balsam, and Douglas.

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Stylish & Durable Home Decor for Pet Owners

It is no secret that pets can be tough on a home. However, that doesn’t mean that pet owners have to live with torn couches, stained rugs and scratched up floors. You just have to shop smart and buy things that can withstand the wear and tear a pet brings, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on style.

Durable Varieties of Flooring

Hardwood floors are the go-to for many homeowners nowadays. However, they typically don’t stand up well up against our four-legged friends. Light floors hold up the best and show the least. So you don’t have to worry about small scratches and pet hair. The best type of flooring is tile and laminate. You can even get these in wood-look styles!

Area Rugs

Carpet is very hard to keep clean over a long period of time especially with pets. So a good solution is instead of replacing carpet with more carpet, replace your floors with either tile or laminate. Then if you need something soft on your feet an area rug is the way to go! That way if your pets destroy the after a few years you can simply pick it up and have it cleaned or replaced.

Funiture w/ Stain Resistant Fabric

It is hard to say no to a pet who is begging to cuddle with you on the sofa. Needless to say, if you are trying to keep your pets off your furniture you will end up losing that battle. So be sure to get a sofa that uses Sunbrella, Crypton or another similar fabric that is stain-resistant and relatively durable.

Toys & Beds

Furniture can become a scratching post or a bed at any time and one way to reduce your pets use of your furniture it to get them their own. If your pet has a nice bed out in the living room along with several toys they can play with, they will be less likely to use your furniture for entertainment or a nap.

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November Maintenance Checklist

We are heading straight for the holiday season and many people are chomping at the bit to start cooking and shopping. However, before you buy the perfect turkey or break out the flannel pajamas check out these steps to ensure your home is ready for winter.

Block Out Small Pests

Thankfully in Florida, we don’t have to put up with snow and ice, however, it does get quite cold in Florida. So when the temperature starts to drop rodents and other creepy crawlies seek out a warm place to live. To ensure your home doesn’t take on unwelcome residences give your house a once over and seal up any holes you find. If you find a hole try using putty, flexible brick, or concrete caulking to patch holes.

Check Smoke Detectors

Thanksgiving is kind of infamous for being the holiday for most kitchen fires in the U.S. So going into this season it is a good idea to check your smoke detectors to ensure they work. This will help protect everyone in your house from your iffy cooking skills. To test your smoke detector just press the “test” button on your alarm, and ensure it sounds. Then change the batteries, which should be done every year.

Replace Your Weatherstripping

Check your windows and doors for any small gaps in weatherstripping and caulk. Turn the lights off, and run a light along your windows to illuminate cracks. Take your existing weatherstripping to the store to ensure you buy the right replacement.

Plumbing Check

Like I mentioned before a lot can go wrong in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, but don’t forget your bathroom. Now is a great time to check your plumbing and make sure your pipes are clear before the holidays come around. It is best to call in a professional for a preholiday inspection since drain cleaning during the holidays gets a little more expensive.

Get Ready For Visitors

If you are planning on entertaining this year for the holidays, this is a great time to start preparing. Launder the guest linens, stock up on toiletries, and give everything a good cleaning.

If you follow all these tips your home will be perfectly prepared for the winter and holiday season!

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What is the Best Floors for Pets?

If you own a dog, cat or another rambunctious house guest, the best type of flooring you can get is something durable. Although popular flooring like hardwood is pretty to look at and carpet is cheap, these types of flooring don’t stand up well against our four-legged friends. One of the biggest problems with pets is their nails, also muddy paws and pets that aren’t housebroken are also not good for your floors. Carpets especially can take a beating when it comes to these stains and smells that quite possibly are permanent. However, with all this negative you don’t have to sacrifice having great looking floors in your house. Here are some of the most durable and pet-friendly floors to have in your house.

Concrete

This type of flooring can stand up against just about anything. Plus, it is easy to clean and is incredibly stylish and growing in popularity. This is a great type of floor if you are going for a more industrial type of look in your home.

Tile

Tile is another great option for people with pets since it is both durable and easy to clean. Plus, there are tons of style options including the popular wood-look tile.

Luxury Vinyl

This type of flooring is another great option for pet owners who are keen on keeping their houses spotless. They are highly durable, long-lasting, resistant to moisture, scratches, and dents. They also reduce the clicking noise of pet nails on the tile or wood floors.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is incredibly popular hardwood look-alike. The sealant layer on the laminate makes it scratch and scuff proof. Plus, laminate flooring is less expensive than traditional hardwood floors. Since these floors are so durable they can last for several years without having to replace or repair them. Also, like the other types of flooring on this list, laminate floors are easy to clean.

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