Don’t Break The Bank– Cheap And Easy Ways To Spruce Up Your Home For Spring

According to the Groundhog spring is coming early this year! With that in mind, it’s time to get started on those projects to spruce up your home.

You’ve done your over-all spring cleaning, the mopping, the dusting, the vacuuming, but something is still missing. It’s time to pull out a few old tricks to get your house really looking good. Whether looking to clean up your home to sell, or just for your own enjoyment, there are many ways to add that wow factor with out emptying your bank account.

Here are some cheap and easy ways to improve the look of your home starting on the inside.

No. 1: Add some color. Swapping out your old throw pillows for some new shams or adding chic vases to your side tables can brighten up any room. Blues, greens, and oranges make for great accent pieces. You can check your local target for reasonably priced shams and vases or bargain hunt online at overstock.com or wayfair.com.


No. 2: Lighting.
Change your burnt-out lightbulbs– they clearly aren’t doing you any good. Grab the rags and all purpose cleaner and dust off any exposed lightbulbs as well as all of your light fixtures. You will be surprised at how much lighter your room looks after the months of winter dust are removed! If that doesn’t do the trick consider adding a new floor lamp or some table lamps to brighten up the room.


No. 3: Clean your window treatments.
Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry-clean fabric shades and wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth. Warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds. If you have heavy draperies try removing them for the spring and summer months to allow more light in.


No. 4: Polish hardware.
Its easy to forget about, but polishing the metal hardware around your home will help to make your home shine. Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are for heavier work. If the tarnish doesn’t come off, try a stronger product.


No. 5: Add some flowers.
Nothing says spring better than flowers! Flowers will add color, brighten your home, and bring spring into your home.

 

To keep you on track with your cleaning check out Martha Stewarts Spring Cleaning Checklist
and be sure to share any tips or ideas you have with us in the comments below

 

Its time to get your home looking good!

 

Melanie Lovejoy
College Work Painting
Social Media Marketing Assistant
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

7 Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal & Market Value

Okay, so you’ve done your spring cleaning. Your house is in tip-top shape…on the inside that is. The outside, you realize, still looks rundown from the winter months. It’s time to get the outside matching the inside.

These tips can help you to get your entire home looking beautiful.

No. 1: Pressure wash. Usually, you do not realize how dingy your house looks until you start with a pressure washer. If you do not own a pressure washer, they are easy to rent from a place like Home Depot or other home improvement stores.

  • Hint: Make sure you wash, not only the sides of your home, but also the doors, garage doors, and deck as well.

No 2: Windows. Wash the windows! Spring is a great time to open the curtains wide and enjoy the beautiful flowers, but you can’t enjoy the beauty through dirty windows! If that’s not enough of a reason, click here to check out these 5 reasons for why washing your windows is essential to spring cleaning.

  • Hint: Don’t forget to remove your screens and wash them with soapy water.

No 3: Paint. Whether it’s repainting the outside of your entire home or simply freshening up chipping paint around the windows and doors, painting can be one of the most beneficial ways to improve the value and look of your home.

  • Hint: If you are painting yourself, make sure you scrape off existing paint that is chipping, sanding if necessary, and be sure you use a high quality primer before painting.

No. 4: Gutters. We all know April showers bring May flowers, so get your gutters cleaned out in preparation for the spring rain. Gutters do their job best when clean.

  • Hint: Check for build-up, especially if trees hover over the roof. Moisture trapped in the build-up can leave your house susceptible to mold and mildew and can cause major damage to your roof and walls.

No. 5: Freshen up the deck. The harsh winter months can be brutal to your deck, especially if it is wooden. Pull out the pressure washer, or grab your hose and some deck cleaner.

  • Hint: Here is a list of a few recommended deck cleaners to help prolong the life of your deck.

No. 6: Landscaping. No need to add a fancy fountain or plant all new trees, simply trimming back anything that has overgrown or died during the winter months will help to brighten up your yard.

  • Hint: If you have trees, check the roots and make sure they are not proliferating into areas they should not be. Roots can wreak havoc on your home and septic system

No. 7: Make sure everything is running smoothly. Spring time is the perfect time to walk around your home and make sure everything is working properly. Check the batteries of your smoke detectors and alarm systems, double check your locks and door handles. Grab a can of WD-40 and hit all the hinges of the doors around your house as well as latches on gates outside.

Make a list of what needs to be done outside to spruce up your home and tackle each project one at a time.
Be sure to consider the order your doing things, it would be a shame to start cleaning windows and realize your going to have to rewash them after you pressure wash later.

 

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
Social Media Marketing Assistant
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

Turn Your Home Into A Sanctuary In 3 Easy Steps

After a long day of work, back-to-back PTA meetings, coaching your daughters cheerleading team or your sons football team, and trying to manage your over-scheduled life, you need a place to unwind and relax. Your home should be your sanctuary, but we all know most of the time your home is the hardest place for you to relax.

College Works Painting has created a list of 3 tricks to turn your home into a place where you can truly relax and rejuvenate so you can keep on top of the crazy life you love.

Turn your home into a sanctuary: 3 easy steps

1) Declutter your space: We are all guilty of using the excuse “my house is too small” or something similar, but I can guarantee someone out there has a smaller home than you. A study from Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute proves that physical clutter negatively affects ones ability to focus and process information. Taking the time to declutter your home is the first and the most important step in creating a space where you can relax. Schedule time to go through each room and weed out the things that are unnecessary and cause chaos in your home.

2) Make bedtime media-free time: Using media before bed over-stimulates your senses and encroaches on your ability to relax and receive a proper nights rest. Many studies show that teens using technology, like cell phones and laptops, before bed leads to a lack of sleep or even sleep disorders. Don’t think this issue is limited to those still I’m high school; Adults are just as negatively impacted by late night media. An article in Time Magazine suggests that turning off cell phones, TV’s, and laptops an hour before bed will greatly increase the quality of your sleep.

3) Embrace everything natural: Nature is relaxing. Obviously it is not possible to bring your backyard into your living room, nor would anyone actually want to, but what is possible is enjoying natural lighting, fresh smells, and soothing sights.

  • Lighting: Sunshine creates positive energy and helps us to feel refreshed. Open the curtains or replace those dark, heavy drapes with gentle, light, cotton curtains that allow natural light to fill your home. Once the sun goes down replace the natural light with candle light to keep the relaxation throughout your home.
  • Smell & sight: Both flowers and candles are great ways to enhance relaxation in your home. Both give your home a relaxing scent and decoration. When picking out a scent or color be sure to think about what colors or scents relax you and which ones cause you to be more stimulated.

 

These three easy things will help turn your home into the sanctuary you look forward to coming back to after a long day. In no time your home will be a place you find peace, tranquility, and break from the stress-filled world of work, appointments, and traffic jams.

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
Social Media Marketing Assistant
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

College Works Color Choosing Tips: Paint Color And Resale Value

Here at College Works Painting, we know enough about the housing market to know when it comes to selling your home, the exterior paint color can make or break the deal. There are many different factors that play a part in deciding what color is best for the exterior of your home including, location, size, style, and even the color of your roof. The key to finding an attractive paint color is looking for one that will enhance your homes curb appeal without making it look as if it should be in a different neighborhood. Sticking to common colors gives your home a classic look and helps when it comes time to sell your home.

The Safe Colors

White: Backed by market research, white consistently remains on top for most popular home color. According to a survey by Sears, nearly 40% ofAmericans choose white as their primary exterior house color. White can make the home look larger and can brighten up a block. You also have options when painting the trim and can accent with a variety of colors.

Neutral: While white will always be a classic color, many people are looking for a way to modernize their homes. Variations of neutral colors like tans, grays, beiges, and creams are being used for the exterior in combination with white or even a bold color trim to create a modern look. Adding a statement color, such as a deep blue-gray door on a light gray home makes for a modern, classy, and beautiful look.

Dark: Generally, light colors are the safest bet for painting your home. If your home is in an older neighborhood or surrounded by darker colored homes, painting it a light color might make it stand out in a negative way. Medium to dark shades of gray, tan, and blue are common in older, established neighborhoods.

Remember these are general guidelines. I suggest doing some research about your area and assessing the colors of other homes in close proximity to yours before deciding on what color to paint your home.

For additional ways to improve your homes value check out our post 7 Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal & Market Value

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
Social Media Marketing Assistant
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

10 Tools Every Home Needs To Have

Maintaining your home is extremely important because you will want to deal with problems as they occur in order to prevent them from becoming serious over time. Although some home repairs will need to be dealt with by a professional many can be fixed by you with the right tools.

Investing in the right tools will mean you are prepared to fix little problems around the home as they come up. We all know there is nothing more frustrating than not having the right tools when you need them.

 

Here is a basic list of tools every home should have easily accessible:

 

√ Claw Hammer

√ Screwdriver Set

√ Pliers

√ Utility Knife

√Tape Measure

√Level

√ Adjustable Wrench

√ Hacksaw

√ Duct Tape

√ Cordless Drill

 

Have anymore tools you recommend people keeping around their homes? Or advice on keeping your tools organized? Let the readers know in the comments below!

 

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
Social Media Marketing Assistant
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

Wait! There’s An App For That!- 5 Helpful Homeowner Apps

These days it seems as if there is an app for everything. Why not use them to help you around the house as well? Whether you need help organizing your grocery list, saving money on electricity, or growing a garden there is definitely an app for your iPad, iPhone, or Android that can help you out. Here are a few of my favorites!

Light Bulb Finder

Price: Free

Purpose: A mobile application that makes it easy to find the right energy-saving bulbs for your home.

Check out a demo here!

 

greenMeter

Price: $5.99

Purpose: An app for your iPhone that computes your vehicle’s power and fuel usage characteristics and evaluates your driving to increase efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and cost, and lower your environmental impact. Results are displayed in real time, while driving, to give instantaneous feedback.

Check out a demo here!

 

Out Of Milk

Price: Free

Purpose: Out of Milk is an easy-to-use shopping list app available for Android or iPhone. With Out of Milk, your shopping list stays with you everywhere you go and you’ll have it on-hand once you’re ready to go grocery shipping. The pantry list allows you to keep track of your pantry items so that you always know what you have at home and what you are in need of. Out of Milk allows you to sync lists with other people and devices and easily keep track of your families grocery needs.

Check out the app here!

 

Garden Compass

Price: Free

Purpose: This app is packed with information to help you learn all about plants. When preparing to start a garden, it is essential to know what you are planting. If you are not sure, simply take a photo of the plant and Garden Compass will tell you what it is. There are over 1,000 pictures, as well as the ability to share your photos over social networks, and even receive help while shopping.

Check out the demo here!

 

Mark On Call

Price: $2.99-$4.99

Purpose: MOC is an interior design app for the iPad or iPhone. With this easy-to-use app, designing and space planning your room is like having a personal product showroom with an on-call interior designer right at your fingertips. Available in regular and HD.

Check it out here!

 

Are there any other apps you want to recommend to fellow readers? Let us know your opinion or suggestions below in the comments!

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

Minimizing The Cost Of Your Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is what protects your house in case of theft, vandalism, or natural disaster. Homeowners insurance is not a luxury, it is a necessity. In many cases mortgage companies won’t make a loan or finance a residential real estate transaction unless the buyer shows proof of coverage for the full value of the property.

Homeowners insurance is expensive especially if the home is located in a high risk area, such as near known earthquake fault lines or major water ways. Homeowners insurance should not be avoided but there are ways to minimize the costs.

 

Here are 3 ways to minimize the cost of your homeowners insurance 

 

No. 1: Locate intelligently- Research the area before buying a house and make sure you are not located in a flood zone or near a fault line.

No. 2: Raise your deductible- Insurance isn’t meant to cover small stuff. The higher the deductible, the lower the annual premium. This will help you save money but will also mean the smaller claims like leaky pipes or broken windows will most likely fall under the responsibility of the homeowner.

No. 3: Maintain home security- Having an alarm system that is monitored by a central station or tied directly to a local police station can reduce your premiums by up to 5%. At the same time having smoke alarms is another important factor. They can save you up to 10%.

 

These are just a few of the many ways to save on your homeowners insurance. Remember it is important to have and while there are ways to reduce the cost be sure your not skipping out on things you need.

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

5 Free Apps That Will Speed Up The Painting Process In Your Home

Everybody loves free stuff… check out these 5 free apps that will help with the painting process of your home!

 

1.
App:
Voice of Color by PPG
Price: Free
Available On: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android
What does it do? Once you’ve matched your color to the PPG color collection, Voice of Color serves up a color card and you can choose to view shades of the color or harmony colors. You can easily save your favorites, add notes and order 8×12 sample sheets. Voice of Color also allows you to browse the PPG color collections and over 1,800 colors, find the closest retailer, and link up with Voice of Color via Facebook and Twitter.

 

2.
App:
ColorSmart by Behr
Price:
Free
Available On:
iPhone, iPad and Android
What does it do?
Once you’ve matched your color, this app has a feature that shows how colors will work together in preloaded example rooms. It comes with a handy paint calculator and shows the closest store that carries Behr Paint. You can keep a list of your favorite palettes, rooms, paint calculations and store locations for quick access. You can even share your projects by email or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

3.
App: Benjamin Moore Color Capture
Price: Free
Available On: iPhone and Android
What does it do? In addition to including the color-capture feature, this app ensures that you’ll always have Benjamin Moore color cards at your fingertips. One of the handy features of this app is that you can save photos and color swatches to your photo album, which gives you the ability to create photos for clients and email the inspiration photo with color swatches. It also allows you to search for the closest Benjamin Moore store so you can quickly pick up your client’s paint.

4.
App:
Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap
Price:
Free
Available On:
iPhone, Android and Blackberry
What does it do?
This app gives the color details and the best coordinating colors to the color you’ve matched. From there add colors, adjust colors and create well-rounded palettes. Palettes can be saved under the project name for easy identification later and are easily emailed to clients. ColorSnap also allows you to play on the color wheel and browse all the SW colors. Once the color choice has been made, easily search by zip code for nearest Sherwin-Williams store.

 

5.
App: Olympic ColorClix
Price: Free
Available On: iPhone, Android and Windows Phone
What does it do? This app automatically pulls the colors from the photo and lines them up under the photo. Easily buy samples, add colors to a favorites list or create a project. The best thing about this app is that there is a place for notes in each project. Once you have a project saved with color choices and notes, you can email information to the client or post it on Facebook or Twitter.

If you know of anymore apps or have any you recommend be sure to let us know what they are!

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

Affordable Ways To Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

We all love summer for the long days, plethora of outdoor activities, and lazy afternoons, but everyone can agree that sometimes it just gets too hot.

Here are some tips to keep your house cool and utility bill from burning up your cash.

No. 1: AIR CONDITIONING IS A LAST RESORT

No. 2: Keep the sun out

If you want to enjoy the sun– go outside. Keep your shades, blinds, or drapes closed throughout the day, especially on the southern and western sides of your home.

No. 3: Fans are your friend

Moving air is cooler than stagnant air. Fans are versatile and convenient. Running a fan for 12 hours on full blast everyday is only going to cost about $10 dollars at the end of the month.

  • At night, place standing fans in front of open windows to bring in the cool night air
  • Ceiling fans have two settings– one that pulls air up (for winter use) and one that pushes air down (for summer use). Be sure your fan is blowing down, or clockwise.
  • Make your own AC unit by placing a bowl of ice or frozen jug of water front of one or more fans.

No. 4: Turn it off
Turn everything off…lights, electronics, etc. They all radiate unneeded heat during the hot summer days.

  • Keep your electronics on a power strip so you can quickly turn everything off as you leave for the day or while not using it.
  • Be sure to leave lights off unless they are necessary.
  • Don’t cook on the stove during the hottest parts of the day

With a little bit of conscious effort your home will stay cool this summer and your wallet won’t be emptied on utility bills.

Now get out and enjoy the sun!

 

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

The Perfect Porch

No one ever really knows how it happens, but one day you will notice your once shiny and welcoming porch is now covered in cobwebs and used as a storage place for odds and ends. Time for a much needed facelift? Yes!

Creating an inviting front porch is important because some people may never even enter your house. Don’t let a bad first impression be their only impression.

No. 1: Start simple
Just tidying up the stuff left on your porch can make a huge difference. Put away the abandoned toys and move the hardly ridden bikes to the garage or side of the house.

Power wash the porch and add a coat of fresh paint to the trim, railing, and floor to bring the old shine back.

Joe Ruggiero, a furniture and fabric designer and TV host/producer, suggests adding an accent color to the porch floor or rail with an exterior wood or concrete stain.

No. 2: Make it cozy
Once the basic cleaning and freshening up has been done add some comfy outdoor furniture.

An outdoor rug surrounded by some seats sets the scene for a cozy conversation spot. The rug can be bright and used as an accent but keep the furniture neutral colors. Changing the color of the cushions or accent pillows for each season is a great way to keep your porch fresh and inviting.

No. 3: The ultimate charm
Hanging a front porch swing is the ultimate charm to add to your home. Everyone on the block will be jealous.

Keep the furniture limited– a porch swing, a couple chairs, and a table for drinks is all you need!

If you need something to store toys or extra stuff in look into a wicker table with a pop up lid. Vintage metal boxes also look great if it goes with the theme of your home.

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com