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Start 2021 on a high note with these hacks

(BPT) - While 2020 was a rollercoaster of emotions, this year doesn't have to be. These hacks will help you navigate the new norm this year - and make sure 2021 kicks off on a stress-free note.

1) Make your home cozy

Make your home extra cozy this season since everyone is still spending more time at home. Missing family members who can't visit? Incorporate their photos into your decor to invoke family memories and to feel closer. Cheery decor can improve your entire vibe - so whether you deck the patio with string lights, buy some new cozy candles or spice up your bar cart with festive beverages, embrace the at-home life.

2) Protect your packages with in-garage delivery

If you're planning to do most of your shopping online like the majority of Americans, it's even more important than ever to be prepared with a secure and contactless delivery solution like Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery. Amazon recently expanded the service to millions more Prime members in more than 4,000 cities across the United States. Ensure your packages are protected against damage, theft and weather. All you need is a myQ smart garage door opener linked to Key by Amazon app to have packages delivered directly into your garage. myQ technology can be added to all leading brands of garage door openers in minutes via a myQ Smart Garage Hub.

3) Start a new family tradition

Since life is slowed down and everyone is snuggled in at home, consider making the most of the situation and putting some extra thought into starting a new family tradition for special days in 2021. Try experimenting with new delicious family recipes (perhaps spark some friendly competition with a bakeoff over Zoom?), having an online trivia party for your birthday or maybe even try building an ice-skating rink or putting green on your lawn.

4) Entertaining and need extra space to spread out? Consider your garage

Your garage is an extension of your home and can be a great place this year to remain socially distant. If you're entertaining and need extra space to spread out, why not utilize your garage? The indoor/outdoor space lets in fresh air and creates additional room for hosting loved ones. Add space heaters, twinkling lights, some fun music and pour the hot cocoa!



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Breathe easy: What you need to know before...

(BPT) - More people than ever before are considering room air filters and purifiers to protect themselves against COVID-19 indoors. But do these devices really make a difference?

Air purifiers and filters can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home, office or other confined space. While an air purifier by itself is not enough to protect people from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used along with the other best practices it recommends, operating an air purifier can be part of a plan to protect you and your family.

It's easy to see how breathing cleaner air could improve overall health and well-being - and some independent studies do show a benefit from air filters and purifiers. In fact, some of the technologies now used in these devices have been scientifically proven to remove or destroy harmful pathogens in the air.

Types of Air Cleaners

Before you buy, learn about the three primary types of air cleaning technologies.

* HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters use a woven filtration material to trap particles like smoke, dust and pathogens. Certified HEPA filters can collect 99.97% of particles of a certain size (0.3 microns in diameter or larger), which includes many viruses. Filters need to be changed on a regular basis and can be costly, so check the cost before you buy. While HEPA filters capture the most contaminants, they can also impede the volume of air that circulates.

* Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, (UVGI) also referred to as UV-C, uses a specific type of ultraviolet light that deactivates pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It's a technology that's been tested and used in hospitals and healthcare settings for years. A UV-C purifier doesn't just trap smoke and dust like a HEPA filter: instead it inactivates viruses and other pathogens, rendering them harmless. While direct exposure to UV-C light can be harmful, it is safe when the UV-C bulb is completely concealed inside the unit, shielded from sight.

For the most effective results, it's important that the UV-C light is strong enough and the air exposure time is long enough. One UV-C purifier, the Airetrex 365, uses a 5-watt UV-C bulb for powerful exposure, with an air replacement rate of up to four times per hour in a 10' by 10' room. With average use, the bulb lasts up to two years. More details about UV-C technology from independent experts can be found at airetrex365.com, under 'Why UV-C.'

* Ionization uses electricity to change airborne particles from a positive to a negative state, weighing them down and causing them to drop from the air - effectively deactivating the virus particles. However, in the process, a potentially harmful byproduct called ozone is created. Anyone considering this technology should check the Ozone Parts Per Million rating (PPM) to ensure it is below the Food and Drug Administration's limit of .005 PPM.

Can you combine technologies?

What about filters and purifiers that combine multiple technologies, like HEPA, UV-C and ionization - would that produce even cleaner air? The findings here are still unclear, and more is not always better.

It's best to focus on the features and benefits most important to you - and how well different filtration components can meet those needs in your selected space. For example, if you only want to trap most large airborne particles and allergens, a HEPA filter might be sufficient. On the other hand, if you're concerned about viruses, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, you might consider the more advanced features of an air purifier with a UV-C light.

Other considerations

You should also consider room size before deciding on which air cleaner to purchase. Most manufacturers specify maximum square footage for different models, according to their capacity to filter the air in a room of a particular size in an hour. For homes, most heating and air conditioning experts recommend that the air in a room be replaced or exchanged close to three times every hour at a minimum.

Air purifiers work much better in a closed or sealed room versus a big open space. Most homes rely on natural ventilation from doors, windows and air leaks for fresh air, unless the home has an air exchanger. Air purifiers can be particularly effective in homes and where there is limited ability to add fresh air.

What filter works best?

The answer depends on your needs. But the good news is that we can all breathe a little easier with today's advances in home air-cleaning technology.

People with a condition like asthma will benefit most from HEPA air filters, since they remove irritants like smoke, dust and dander. All these elements can impact health. If you're looking for a purifier to potentially reduce exposure to pathogens and viruses, an air purifier with UV-C technology will likely process and sanitize more air in less time.



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5 home makeover ideas for the 2021 New Year

(BPT) - The new year is all about change, and the relationship you have with your home has likely changed significantly this year. After spending so much time at home, many people are reevaluating their spaces.

As the new year begins, take the opportunity to explore home makeovers and new room designs. What dreams do you have for your home? From incorporating technology to making your space more efficient, the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.

Create a home office

Many people are working remotely right now without an end date in sight. And even after things get back to normal, work life is bound to look different. A designated working space is a valuable addition to your productivity regimen, and you'll find that it makes home feel a bit more like the office. Even if you don't have the square footage to build out an office, get creative with what you have. Try taking the doors off your guest bedroom closet for a tiny home office or reimagining some of the lesser used rooms in your home. Remember that attic? It might be a great place to set up shop for a quiet workday.

Upgrade your appliances

This year has proven that our kitchens are more important than ever - and the most important parts of our kitchens are the appliances that we use every day. If it's been a while, consider upgrading your appliances for a modern look and more efficient functionality. For example, LG Electronics developed LG Proactive Customer Care, an AI-enabled preventative maintenance service that will alert you about any potential issues with your LG smart appliances before it becomes a problem. It will also remind you when it's time to change a filter or buy a replacement part. If you're making a big investment for your home, why not make sure it lasts a long time?

Spruce up the outdoors

Outdoor space continues to become more and more valuable. A little outdoor work can help increase the value of your home. Smart outdoor investments include shade covers for your patio or porch, outdoor heating elements and outdoor kitchens. For a shorter-term solution, try adding more seating with built-in benches for socially distant gatherings.

Enhance the HVAC system

HVAC systems no longer have to be loud or clunky. New wall-mounted, duct-free HVAC systems from LG come in a variety of styles and can be easily installed by a contractor. The ultra-quiet 'Art Cool' options even look like a photo frame on the wall and allow you to display your own artwork. These systems also allow you to adjust the temperature from an app on your phone or using simple commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Find purpose for unused spaces

If you have a spot in your home that goes unused, it's time to find it a new purpose. For example, many homes have formal dining rooms that no one ever steps foot in. If you have an abandoned space, try turning it into something you'll use more often. A game room, home office or a space for fitness are all good ideas to consider.

Do you have a list of home goals for 2021? Use these home makeover ideas to make them a reality.



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5 multitasking tips for life at home

(BPT) - This year, you've learned how to do almost everything from home - from work and school to the gym and virtual social gatherings. Even though you're home most of the time, there can still be a lot to do. These five multitasking tips can help you reorganize your to-do list and get more out of your day at home.

1. Segment your tasks

Multitasking doesn't always mean doing multiple things at once. Sometimes you can be more productive by breaking larger tasks into smaller parts. Once you've mastered the art, sprinkle manageable bits of it into your regular schedule. You'll find it's easier than you expected, and you'll forget you ever had a problem multitasking to begin with.

2. Find tools that help you do more

Cleaning no longer has to be a chore that takes up hours of your time. When you invest in appliances that do the dirty work for you, they work harder and save you more time and effort. Powerful robot vacuums, like the LG CordZero ThinQ Robotic Vacuum, can handle all your vacuuming needs. With a mighty motor, built-in intelligence, and ultra quiet performance, new technologies make it simple to keep your home clean.

3. Minimize distractions

Multitasking can help with productivity, but it drains your attention span. Even when small distractions arise, they can throw off your entire day. There are so many things that can distract you at all hours of the day - phone calls, text messages and social media, just to name a few. If possible, put your phone away, put on some noise canceling headphones and ask your family members to give you some peaceful working time.

4. Make a delegation to-do list

Multitasking goes even further when you have more people helping out. If there are tasks on your list that you know your spouse, child or other family member could take on, try delegating. Communicate your expectations in a family meeting so everyone has a clear idea of their duties.

5. Set up auto-delivery

Home delivery is the ultimate multitasking hack. If you don't have time to run to the store for your daily essentials, a delivery service can bring those items right to you while you focus on more important tasks. Find a service that works for you, simply input your list and you'll always have a full pantry and fridge. Plus, you'll avoid distractions and the temptation to buy more than you need at the store.

Smart multitasking can help you be more productive and increase the time you spend on the things you love. Follow these tips to become a master multitasker.



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3 winter décor tips to always follow,...

(BPT) - By Genevieve Gorder

It's crazy how fast the year is flying by! Winter is quickly approaching, and with it brings the opportunity to add some seasonal décor to your humble abode. Nothing gets me more excited than decorating for this time of year! With the help of my exclusive collection of winter-themed tissue boxes designed for Scotties Facial Tissues, I am sharing my top three no-fail décor tips to help you get your home ready for winter.

Play with cozy textures

With all of us spending more time at home, it's more important than ever to make your space feel comfy and cozy. One of the easiest ways to make your home feel more comfortable is by adding cozy touches, such as soft accent pillows or a throw blanket. Don't be afraid to incorporate rich, textural layers. Add an extra level of coziness to your space with this cable knit box! I guarantee this knit will be the highlight of any room in your home.

Add sparkle and shine

When the days are short and the nights are long, décor that sparkles and shines is a must! I love adding touches of gold throughout my spaces - especially in the winter - to bring a hint of warmth and glamour to an otherwise dreary time of year. This gold art deco box is a simple way to add glitz with a little effort but a big impact. One of my other favorite tricks? Use a gallery wall of mirrors to bounce light around on those cold winter days.

Recycle your holiday decorations

No need to put away all your Christmas decorations as soon as Dec. 26 hits - many holiday decorations can be repurposed all winter long! Any neutral or snowy themed décor items, like this silver snowflake box, can still add a fun element to your winter décor into January and February. I also like to use natural elements like seasonal firs, pinecones and birch logs that I had out for Christmas - they make the perfect wintery accents!

The Scotties x Genevieve Gorder Collection is perfect for all your winter decorating needs and is available for a limited time at participating retailers. Head over to the Scotties website to find a store near you!



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Enrich home design with a timeless sense of style

(BPT) - The worlds of fashion and interior design intersect in more ways than one. From thoughtful details to bold palettes and shapes, both disciplines play an important role in evoking personal style. In order to ensure home design demonstrates a bespoke sense of style that lasts, one must consider how all elements involved work together to create a cohesive look for a unified and timeless aesthetic.

Enduring elements

Taking cues from the fashion industry, approach interior design with an eye for timeless infusions to create an aesthetic that will stay forever au courant. For instance, borrow inspiration from past eras, allowing for additions such as velvet-upholstered furniture to bridge the gap between past and present for a modern, yet classic look. Introduce intriguing materials like wood, leather and marble into a living area, as they can transition through decades while remaining staple elements.

Streamlined statement

For an elegant interpretation of minimalistic design, utilize high-contrast color pairings. A Jason Wu for Brizo™ kitchen faucet, exclusively available in a stunning Matte White finish, pairs well with a multitude of marble countertops - choosing black marble creates a dramatic, contrasting statement, whereas a white, neutral marble brings forth a striking, monochromatic look. The faucet's timeless, yet neutral, Matte White finish adds an elegant and modern appeal to any kitchen, while still establishing contrast against other distinctive pieces within the space. Subtle details complement the monochromatic faucet, such as the polished nickel handle, inspired by the look of fashion designer Jason Wu's mannequins.

Styled motif

A purposeful melding of patterns and texture brings a sense of balance and depth to a room, just as it does in fashion. Consider an integration of stone and pale terra-cotta tile to establish a mosaic aesthetic for a wall, backsplash or floor. Add a sense of individual style with favorite, à-la-mode patterns and prints, such as florals and fringe, on decorative pillows or other easily transitioned accent elements.

Embellished accessories

Complete a space with adornments, such as a striking photograph or abstract art, drawing attention similar to that of a piece of statement jewelry. Further accessorize with mixed materials, adding metal accents to a plush chair or a teak wood table to bring a fresh perspective. When selecting furnishings and décor, marry sweeping curves and bold shapes throughout the home for a harmonized overall design that will withstand the test of time.



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New Year, New Remodel: Top Home Design Trends...

(BPT) - Home is the ultimate haven - and with new trends emerging that speak to our evolving lifestyles, many are looking to reimagine their living spaces. Home renovations have long been a popular project, but the past year undoubtedly solidified them as the 'it' activity. As health and wellness continues to take priority, along with the growing need for multifunctional spaces, it is no surprise that consumers are making home updates that reflect these design elements. Heading into 2021, home remodels will only continue to rise. Here are the top five home design trends to look out for next year and beyond.

1. Multi-zone kitchens are a must-have.

With more time than ever being spent in the kitchen, homeowners are looking beyond traditional setups to get the most out of their spaces. From dedicated areas for meal prep, to customized nooks that preserve your pet's fresh food, to designated work and homeschool stations - complete with repurposed shelves for supplies and books - the multi-zone kitchen is the leading trend heading into the New Year. Many consumers are updating their kitchens to make this extended time at home more comfortable. And no matter the footprint of the space, many are looking for simple swaps to streamline the remodel process. What is one of the most popular picks that we can expect to see even more of in 2021? Replacing existing appliances to create a new look without completely reconstructing the room. From fresh food columns that seamlessly fit into predetermined spaces, to cooktops that perfectly place into existing cutouts, the heart of the home will be the ultimate design destination.

2. Private, personal spaces are more popular than ever.

As we have adapted to working and schooling from home, people are looking to create dedicated personal spaces throughout their living quarters. Those with open floorplans have been transforming their homes this year to create more custom corners, and this theme will continue well into 2021. From reimagining a garage to a home gym and outfitting with under counter refrigeration, to carving out a bedroom 'cloffice' with a built-in coffee machine, and even upgrading living room areas with sliding doors and partitions for homeschooling sessions, homeowners are coming up with creative ways to bring designated personal areas back. For those who are looking to maintain flexible design elements in the home as our lifestyles continue to evolve, certain architectural adjustments can provide a nice compromise. Archways can help designate zones within a room, keeping the space open yet providing partial closure for added privacy. As our homes remain the backdrop to our everyday lives, cultivating secluded spaces that we can call our own will be key.

3. Home automation is a hot topic.

Homeowners are looking for ways to enhance their everyday activities so that they can enjoy a smarter, more accessible indoor experience. With that, cutting-edge home technology is on the rise and has the power to elevate our lifestyles - and our homes - via integrated features. At the top of the list is effortless automation, whether motion-sensor lighting, self-closing blinds or hands-free faucets (especially ideal as health and wellness habits remain top of mind). Automated attributes can particularly elevate your home's efficiency as it concerns the kitchen, too - and infusing this innovation via WiFi-enabled appliances is one of the most common ways. Managing a busy, active household can be challenging, but with the click of a button on your smart device, it can be made a bit easier. The Thermador Connected Experience by Home Connect™ allows for automating recipe cook times and temperatures, perusing personalized content featuring unique wine recommendations and pairings, and programming individual coffee and tea orders. Plus, you can enjoy seamless integration throughout the entire home with leading smart home automation providers such as Crestron and Josh.ai, which work together with best-in-class smart products to create a customized solution for the home. The future has never looked brighter.

4. Sustainability is highly sought after.

As we continue shifting toward more conscious living, it is no surprise that this lifestyle choice is becoming increasingly reflected in our home design preferences. Long gone are the days of aesthetics being the sole sought-after characteristic. While bold beauty is still of importance to consumers, 2021 will be all about premium quality items that are built to last. Whether you are looking to modernize your living space with furniture made from natural resources or bringing sustainability to your bedding, durable, environmentally conscious materials are a must-have. Homeowners are exploring this trend in a variety of ways including upgrading their appliances. As stainless steel plays an important role in sustainable design due to its high recyclability, integrated products that boast premium grade stainless steel both inside and out, such as the Thermador Freedom® Refrigeration Collection, are a huge draw. Iconic stainless interiors alongside award-winning lighting creates an undeniable radiance. And, with advanced cooling technology and WiFi capabilities, consumers can enjoy more energy-efficient and easily accessible refrigeration. Talk about a win-win situation.

5. Comforting colors and collectibles are key.

Now more than ever, homeowners are looking to create comforting rooms where they can relax and rejuvenate. Many have opted for easy adjustments to bring in the feeling of warmth. Whether that involves applying warmer-toned tints to the walls instead of stark shades or dressing up an area with lush rugs and throw blankets, comfort is key as we head into 2021. Earthy hues such as beige, sand and taupe are expected to heat up, while previously popular cooler neutrals will start to subside. If simpler swaps are more your style, scented candles can really elevate the look and feel of a room, creating an instantly serene space for enjoyable days and evenings at home.



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The pandemic has increased plastic consumption:...

(BPT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the consumption of single-use plastic as disposable mask and glove usage has skyrocketed. Additionally, many businesses have eliminated the option to use reusable shopping bags at a store or to bring your own mug to a coffee shop.

These measures are important to help stop the spread of the virus but there are simple steps to take to help reduce your single-use plastic consumption and achieve a more sustainable way of living, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are six ideas:

1) Buy local

If possible, get out to your local farmers market or butcher for your grocery shopping. Farmers market vendors often use less packaging and you can ask your butcher to wrap your meat in wax paper instead of plastic. Shopping local is also a great way to support your community.

2) Swap your cleaning tools

The leading spray mop uses single-use plastic pads. One greener choice, the O-Cedar ProMist MAX Microfiber Spray Mop features a reusable, machine washable microfiber pad and a refillable bottle to cut down on plastic waste while removing over 99%of E. coli and Staph. aureus from pre-finished hardwood flooring and ceramic tile using tap water, as tested at an independent accredited lab.

3) Plate over bowl, bowl over plate

If you're doing more cooking at home, you're likely finding yourself with leftovers. Ditch the plastic wrap and use your dishes as an easy, inexpensive food storage solution. To do this, place a plate or saucer over a bowl to cover its contents or, alternatively, flip any size bowl over leftovers on a plate. It's a simple solution using what you already have. You'll be protecting your food from drying out in the fridge while eliminating your plastic waste.

4) DIY cleaning solutions

With all the extra cleaning you're doing around the house, buying cleaning solutions in disposable bottles for your home can be expensive and result in additional plastic waste. The average household goes through 18 bottles a year of cleaning solution when using the leading disposable spray mop. (Calculated using consumer consumption data found in Linkage Research Report: Spray Mop Habits & Practices Study (March 10, 2020).) Instead use a refillable bottle and make your own cleaning solution using water and your choice of vinegar or castile soap.

5) Wear a cloth mask

Safety guidelines make it difficult to go anywhere without wearing a face covering. But the popularity of disposable face masks has impacted the amount of plastic in the waste stream, according to a report by the LA Times. Do your part by opting to wear reusable, cloth masks - you can find them just about anywhere these days.

6) Avoid plastic where you can

When you're ordering takeout, be sure to ask the restaurant to leave out any extra disposable materials. For example, let them know you don't need disposable silverware. And although most coffee shops and cafes aren't accepting reusable drink containers, you can still bring your own reusable straw.

These tips make it easier to do your part in reducing plastic waste. For more information, visit https://ocedar.com/swap-your-mop/.


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4 ways to instantly upgrade your interiors

(BPT) - There's a simple reason for the recent boom in home improvement: Everyone's spending more time at home. Staying at home more makes it clearer what areas are lacking and reveals opportunities for upgrades. Fortunately, there are many ways to make a huge impact on the appearance of those rooms - instantly.

Here are four ways you can easily enhance and refresh your existing interiors.

1. Start with the foundation

If your room feels uninspired, refreshing the flooring can instantly transform it. Recent design trends favor using consistent flooring throughout the home, or at least on each floor, for a more continuous feel - especially for homes with an open plan.

While hardwood flooring is still the top choice, many other quality products mimic the look of hardwood flooring, like vinyl, tile and porcelain flooring, often for a much lower price point.

Area rugs are also trending for use on any kind of floor. Rugs can add a pop of color or provide a focal point, while also helping to protect the floor underneath. For a quick and easy fix involving zero installation, a high-quality area rug instantly upgrades your space.

2. Light up your life

Lighting is an often overlooked home improvement. While the light itself brightens the room, the lighting fixture can also add a striking visual accent or focal point.

In terms of utility, the impact of improved lighting is most strongly felt in the kitchen and bath.

'Decorative lighting has become a way to easily personalize a space,' said Erin Hoover, director of design, Kohler Lighting. 'Years ago, matching suites were very popular, but as bathrooms and kitchens reflect more individual personality, more design elements are being added. Lighting can help you update these spaces without a lot of investment and effort."

Here are two collections from KOHLER Lighting to instantly upgrade your kitchen or bathroom.

  • Kitchen: The Hauksbee Collection reinterprets rustic lighting from industrial farms and factories of the 1920s and '30s. Smooth glass and cool metal combine with mixed metal finish options and vintage details, along with decorative elements like a domed metal shade with a cage detail and ribbed glass shade. The collection is available in a range of singular and mixed metal finish combinations.

  • Bathroom: The Arendela Collection is inspired by 1960s designer Vistosi, and the exquisite glassworks rendered through the art of briolette gemstone cutting and spun glass rondelles. Arendela reflects sophisticated style with jewel-like, multifaceted and spun glass shades and cast metal works ranging from a strikingly singular sconce to show-stopping multi-light designs. The collection's timeless sophistication complements modern and traditional interiors. Complementing modern and traditional interiors, Arendela is available in polished chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel and brushed brass finishes.

Thoughtfully choosing lighting fixtures to complement your current aesthetic can take your room from ho-hum to amazing. Visit Kohler.com to explore the possibilities for your home.

3. Color your world

What is the color palette of the room? Is it an eclectic mix, reflecting years of adding elements that don't go with the walls? How recently was it painted?

Especially if you're not prepared to invest in new furniture, simply painting a room can make an enormous impact.

  • Is the room on the small side, or doesn't get much light? Paint a shade or two lighter to brighten the space.
  • Does the room seem cold or impersonal? Choose a warm color, from yellow through red, to make the space feel more welcoming.
  • Prefer neutral colors like whites or grays? Consider one colorful accent wall to make a statement.

4. Adjust your window dressing

Updated window treatments can boost the appearance of a room, while also providing more privacy and insulation. Consider not just the color and style as it affects the look of the room, but also the function. How much privacy and light is needed? Options for window treatments today are more numerous than ever. Blinds, shades, curtains or drapes all make distinct visual statements, while also potentially enhancing the room's livability.

Updating a space doesn't require a complete redesign, a lot of time or a lot of investment. Design elements like lighting, window treatments and color provide the perfect tools to transform any room into the home of your dreams.



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How to elevate your experience at home for...

(BPT) - The highly anticipated release of new gaming consoles has people more excited than ever. This enthusiasm is shared by more than just serious gamers; with so many people spending more time at home due to quarantine and social distancing, they've discovered gaming as a pastime they can enjoy alone or with their family. So how can you prepare to get the ultimate experience in your household?

Experience epic visuals with the ultimate TV

It doesn't matter how advanced your console is if you don't have a TV that can keep up with it. With stellar picture quality and industry leading gaming features such as HDMI 2.1, LG's 2020 OLED TVs are not only ideal for serious gamers, allowing for more gaming action in real time, but also great for sports fans and film buffs.

'For next-gen consoles, you absolutely need an LG OLED TV,' says professional gamer Arteezy of esports team Evil Geniuses. 'The high refresh rates and very fast response times make the gameplay much smoother and enjoyable.'

Celebrated as the most advanced gaming TV on the market, LG's 2020 OLED TV lineup raises the bar, providing an immersive and smooth gaming experience. The LG OLED TV reduces screen tearing (when a screen shows visuals from multiple frames) or other distracting visual artifacts like lag and stuttering.

The LG OLED TV will make you feel like you're right there in the game, with perfect blacks and intense colors that let you see all the details without slowing down gameplay. How? Millions of pixels emit their own light independently and can be completely turned off. This unveils perfect black, over a billion rich colors and infinite contrast.

Utilize gaming modes and picture settings

The most advanced TVs have special modes and picture settings that are created with gaming in mind, so you get incredible colors and visuals. For example, some TVs like LG OLED have Dolby Vision® and the HDR Gaming Interest Group's HGiG Mode, created so gamers can enjoy high-quality visuals as game creators and developers intended when playing High Dynamic Range (HDR) games via consoles. HGiG is a group made up of companies from the game and display industries that develops standards to improve the HDR gaming experience for people in their homes.

In addition to gaming modes, make sure you check your TV's picture settings to determine which you prefer for your gaming. Some gamers even change picture settings from game to game. Sound settings can be updated and customized as well, and you may want to add a soundbar to your setup for the best audio experience.

Research gaming controllers

Whether you're an amateur or a seasoned gamer, it's worth investing in a controller you love. These new systems come with controllers, but many gamers prefer to upgrade to options that best fit their gaming style. You'll need to decide between cord and wireless: Some people prefer the cord, so they never have to worry about batteries running out while others swear by wireless for freedom of movement.

When researching controllers keep muscle memory in mind. Past gaming experiences reflect on your skills in the future, so think about buttons, toggles and shape of the controller so you can find one that reflects characteristics you enjoyed in the past and improves on ones you didn't. One top recommendation to check out: The Razer Wolverine V2.

Set up seating strategically

Even the most satisfying gaming session can ultimately be disappointing if you end up with a sore neck or back. A comfortable chair can elevate any gaming session, especially those that are adjustable for customized, ergonomic support.

If new furniture isn't an option, check out your current seating and look for opportunities for improvement. Adding cushions and pillows can amplify comfort tremendously, so stock up on back pillows and lumbar supports so every gamer - young, old and in-between - feels as good after a gaming session as they did at the start.

Bottom line: Next-gen consoles are truly remarkable systems. You can enjoy the best they offer with the right complementary technologies and gear. Great equipment brings the next-gen console gaming experience to new heights.



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Tips to craft your own holiday decorations

(BPT) - Holiday decorations bring a smile to everyone's face, and that is needed now more than ever. Crafting seasonal décor instead of shopping for it gives you and your family something to occupy your extra time at home and helps you avoid big crowds and shopping stress.

Perhaps you'll make wooden signs with jolly messages or metal snowflakes covered in lights? Or maybe you'll craft ornaments for the tree or engrave messages into the menorah? No matter the craft, a homemade holiday novelty will bring a sense of pride and happiness to all.

Ready to get crafty and holiday savvy? Here's what to do:

1) Make a plan

Visualize your project in your space and measure the location so you know what supplies you need. Take a look around to notice what areas have the most room. Get a view from the outside to see what your neighbors will see when passing by.

Browse social media/decoration sites for inspiration. Save pictures of your favorites and then picture it fitting in your space. You could even sketch out your design on paper to get a clearer vision of what you're going to create.

Locate your sources of electricity if you want to incorporate lights, music or even snow machines (Hey, we can dream!). Be sure you have extension cords if you'll need them.

2) Shop for your materials

Shop for and select the items that are eye-catching and fun. Consider bright, festive colors and pretty patterns.

Research the items you need, and what stores near you carry them before you leave to save some time. Price check between stores to ensure you don't overspend. If possible, you can even order online supplies ahead of time to avoid the crowds.

3) Have the best tools in your tool belt

Equip yourself with tools that are lightweight, versatile, portable, user friendly and the best to get the job done. The new MakerX line of tools from Worx gives you a range of creative options, allowing you to create from anywhere and perfecting the small details that make all the difference. The tool set revolves around a 20V Power Hub battery that powers five versatile tools, including an air brush, angle grinder, mini heat gun, rotary tool and wood and metal grinder, so the possibilities are limitless.

Test out your tools on some scraps first before diving into your perfect materials and always follow safety measures and be careful when handling tools.

4) Set the mood

You've got everything you need so now it's time to start feeling festive. Light an apple cinnamon, vanilla cookie, fir and firewood or whatever spiced-snow-scent-tickles-your-fancy candle, turn on the cold weather carols and get your groove on.

Pour a cup of cocoa - or a glass of spiked cider for mom and dad - and get to work!

5) Kick back and admire your work

Enjoy the company of those around you as you work together to make your holiday crafts and see the beauty in creating something with your hands, regardless of the imperfections. Work any mistakes into your final design. After all, the experience is half the fun, and you're making memories that will last forever.

Proudly display your holiday decorations in and out of your home for yourself, your family and your neighbors to enjoy.

Take lots of pictures for friends and family who can't be there in person and share your work on social media. A little joy goes a long way.



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Need more functionality? 4 simple ways to...

(BPT) - When you chose your home, you may not have given much thought to the size or layout of your laundry room.

With people spending more time at home now, maximizing functionality is key. Studies show that 72% of second-time home buyers consider a workable laundry room an essential feature of their homes.

Fortunately, there are options to make your existing laundry room more functional without having to tackle any renovations. Consider how these changes could make your laundry space more comfortable, convenient and easy to use:

1) Add storage space

If you're constantly juggling detergents and ineffectively trying to separate your dirty and clean laundry, try installing utilitarian shelving and/or cabinetry that provide bigger, better storage. Through smart design, you may be able to incorporate good-sized laundry bins, racks for hanging wet clothes and/or countertops that can hold your folded laundry before it's put away. If you have the space, an island that provides storage in the middle of the space is another option. Households with children may benefit from storage spaces where potentially harmful chemicals like bleach can be safely locked away.

2) Reconfigure your washer and dryer

Could a vertically stacked washer and dryer make your laundry processes easier and more efficient? Perhaps if they're made by appliance specialist LG Electronics. LG's sleek single-unit LG WashTower takes up half the floor space in your laundry room while tackling ultra-large loads. Further, LG's exclusive Center Control™ panel is perfectly positioned for easy, ergonomic use, putting the machines' top-of-the-line innovations and advanced cleaning power at your fingertips. Bonus? Both the washer and dryer offer extra-large capacity for all your laundry needs.

3) Upgrade your lighting

Get rid of dim lighting that makes it hard to spot stains and sort laundry with brighter, more attractive lighting that makes the room more appealing and functional. Recessed fluorescent or LED troffers and flush-mount fixtures may help preserve your ceiling space. Aim for the equivalent of 75 watts of light for a comfortable but pleasingly bright effect.

4) Consider fold-out options

If you lack the room to incorporate more storage, another option may be smartly designed tables and/or an ironing board that can fold right into the walls when they're not in use.

Your laundry room doesn't have to be the most underutilized, underappreciated room in your home. With a few renovations, it may even become a haven of cleanliness and efficiency. Learn more about the latest powerful technology in clothes washers and dryers at LG.com.



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Simple ways to revamp the laundry room...

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How to set the family room up for a season full...

(BPT) - Although the 2020 holiday season is looking very different, that doesn't mean it can't be memorable. You're likely spending more time at home, so embrace the extra time together by transforming your family room into a fun and functional space that encourages relaxation, celebration and connection.

Consider these simple steps for enhancing the family room and setting the stage for an amazing holiday season and incredible start to the new year with your loved ones:

Step 1: Rethink family room arrangements

From family movie nights to binge-watching holiday specials, there's so much to enjoy this holiday season from home. You may want to rethink your room setup to facilitate optimal viewing for everyone. Moving furniture can help make family members of all ages feel like they have the best seat in the house, no matter what movie or TV show you're all enjoying. Add in some festive decorations and everyone will feel the holiday spirit as the family room quickly becomes the heart of the home.

Step 2: Prepare for comfort

Having Holiday 2020 at home means it is all about being comfortable. Enhance your family room with cozy essentials like blankets and pillows, so no matter what the weather outside, it's warm and delightful inside. Even consider supporting a local small business, like a textile craftsman or home furnishing store, to buy a new throw blanket or festive pillows for your living space. Then throw on your PJ's, favorite sweatshirt and a warm pair of slippers, and cuddle up together. You can even surprise any little ones in your family - or anyone young at heart - with a fun pillow fort to watch TV from. Is there anything more festive than that?

Step 3: Get the right technology

There's nothing better than curling up to watch a classic holiday movie or digging into a favorite TV series. With so much content being released over the holidays, it may be challenging to find what you want and know which streaming service you should be searching. That's why smart holiday households have the TiVo Stream 4K streaming media player that allows you to quickly access programming across all the major streaming services from one convenient location, so your celebration never ceases. That means it's time to make your holiday must-watch bucket list!

Step 4: Search programming across platforms

Almost as magical as Santa's flying reindeer, the TiVo Stream 4K integrates all major streaming services on one screen for easier search and discovery. No more fumbling through platforms and delaying the holiday fun! Plus, right now it's $10 off for a special holiday price of $39.99, incredible value for a solution that combines top streaming services, live TV, thousands of hours of free TV with TiVo+, and live sports thanks to Sling TV. Learn more at tivo.com/products/stream-4k and order yours today.

Step 5: Stock up on supplies

If you really want to make your family room the ultimate hub for holiday entertainment, consider stocking up on some supplies. You may want to make sure chargers or phone cords are close at hand to keep you connected virtually with friends and family. Just for smiles, add a bowl of tasty holiday treats for munching such as old-fashioned candy or holiday-themed frosted cookies. No one will be able to resist sitting down to satisfy their sweet tooth while turning on the TV for a holiday show.

With a few simple steps, you can transform your family room into a space for special moments and holiday memories. With more time at home with your family, this is the perfect season to sit back and enjoy the holidays at a slower pace, filled with all the TV and movie favorites you need to keep each member of your family entertained and smiling well into the new year.



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Top things homeowners forget when prepping...

(BPT) - In the winter, keeping the cold out and the heat in is everything. For many busy homeowners, it can be easy to overlook a few simple preventive maintenance tasks before cold weather sets in. Doing so can reduce the risk of home damage and help maximize energy efficiency. So before frigid temperatures are here for good, you can use this list to make sure your house is shipshape.

Check for exterior gaps and cracks

Take a walk around the exterior of your home. Get up close and inspect the windows, the siding and the doorways to check for cracks or gaps that need fixing and caulking. Plugging the gaps and making necessary repairs can help you keep the cold out. Because the freeze-thaw cycle can exacerbate these gaps, you'll want to get ahead of that damaging cycle and fix these today.

Check your attic insulation

Heat rises, and the layers of insulation are an important barrier between you and the cold. The more the insulation settles, the less effective it is. So if it's been a few years, take a peek at the upstairs crawl space. If it's sunken below the floor joists, it may be time to replace it. While you're up there, take a flashlight and check the roof and joists for signs of leaks, rot and popped nails.

Give your heating system a checkup

Before the first snowfall, it's always wise to contact your HVAC technician for a heating system checkup. They can give it a tune up, check for problems - and if it's getting up there in years, can tell you if it's time to invest in a replacement. If you're ready to upgrade your system, ask your HVAC provider about technologies like LGRED° (reliable to extreme degrees). This new heat technology from LG Electronics delivers superior heating performance, continuous heating operations down to -13°F and remarkable energy efficiency - ultimately helping your family stay comfortably warm during even the coldest winter day.

Clean out the gutters

Leaf debris in your gutters today can lead to roof and gutter damage tomorrow. But when the snow thaws, these leaves can move downstream, and end up plugging up your downspouts. A big sign of this is hanging icicles from the roof. These form when you don't leave a clear path for the snowmelt, and that creates a dangerous situation when they fall. Plugged up gutters can also leave ice dams on your roof, which can cause leaky ceilings.

Have a smart winter window strategy

In colder months, your windows can help or hurt the cause of conserving energy. If window replacement isn't in the cards this year, the next best thing is to winterize. In drafty areas, use window caulk and plastic sheeting. Remember, the sun's lower angle can be an advantage this time of year; use it. By day, open the blinds and drapes so the thermal effect provides a bit of 'free' heat, but keep them closed at night to keep the chill from creeping in.

By catching these small issues early, you'll feel good knowing your house is ready for the snow, ice and cold. Before winter is here to stay, ask your HVAC provider about the latest technology and ENERGY STAR certified products from leading brands like LG. To learn more, visit lghvac.com.



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Celebrate Smart: 5 ways to upgrade your home...

(BPT) - This holiday, people around the world are getting ready for a season that looks dramatically different from past years. As millions decide to stay home, the desire to make the most out of the holiday festivities is driving people to find more creative, convenient, and memorable ways to enjoy the season and eliminate unnecessary stress.

Whether you're relaxing at home or celebrating with family, a smart home can help take care of daily tasks around the house, giving you more time to enjoy the things that matter most. Not only can smart home products enhance the holiday ambiance, but they can also simplify daily tasks and help you keep your home and family safe. These affordable devices provide the perfect blend of good cheer and peace of mind that are exactly the combination in high demand this year.

Here are five ways smart home devices can take the stress out of the season and help you enjoy a safe, relaxing holiday.

1. Automate holiday lights with smart plugs

Using an automatic timer for holiday lights is nothing new, but smart plugs take convenience to the next level. They're easy to setup and, unlike fussy old-school timers, give you greater control. With smart plugs, you can simply use your smartphone to turn on holiday lights right from the couch, without kneeling behind a tree to plug in a power cord or stepping out in the cold to turn on lights or inflatable decorations in your yard.

2. Upgrade to a Smart Christmas tree

If finding, transporting, and composting a live tree is too much hassle this year, consider upgrading to an artificial tree with smart lights built in. A smart Christmas tree comes with lights pre-installed and, using your smartphone or Amazon Alexa, you can easily select the lighting color, turn lights on or off, or schedule the lights to turn on at a certain time each night. Many smart Christmas trees even let you change lighting modes with a simple voice command like 'set Christmas tree to blue,' or 'set Christmas tree to sparkle' to create a flawless festive mood.

3. Keep track of comings and goings with smart security cameras

For the holidays and beyond, one of the best investments you can make is a smart home security camera. As online shopping for everything from holiday presents to daily household essentials continues to increase, having a smart home security camera can alert you when your purchases arrive and help keep them safe.

Popular smart home security cameras like Blink Outdoor are wireless, weather-resistant, and offer up to two years of battery life, making them easy and convenient to install anywhere around your home. For indoor settings, Blink Indoor security cameras can help you check in on your home day or night with motion alerts and infrared night vision.

The full range of features are detailed at www.amazon.com/blink, but their cameras also provide two-way audio and live video, so you can check in on your family, accept deliveries, and greet visitors remotely. Not only does this help encourage social distancing, it also means you stay cozy with fewer trips to the front door.

4. Protect against winter hazards with smart alarms

Upgrading to smart alarms is another top strategy for staying safe during the winter. You might not associate fires with winter, but house fires are actually more prevalent with the increased use of fireplaces and heaters. Smart smoke alarms alert you to problems even when you're not at home, ensuring you get help as soon as possible.

Winter also means keeping your home sealed up tight. While this saves energy and keeps you warm, it also increases the risk of carbon monoxide build-up. Smart CO detectors give you up-to-the-moment information about the air quality in your home, allowing you to breathe easy.

5. Sink into a holiday soundscape with smart speakers

Finally, smart speakers are the best choice for immersing yourself in the sounds of the holidays. People are missing the cheerful carols and soaring classical music that normally fills the air when you're out and about this time of year. Capture that feeling with smart speakers. Use them to sync your music throughout your home, and transform it into a winter wonderland in no time.

While this winter will certainly be different, smart home devices can help encourage holiday cheer while keeping everyone safe and sound. From security cameras to dazzling lights, there's a smart solution out there that can make your holidays even brighter.



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3 eco-friendly projects to boost home health...

(BPT) - How healthy is your house? After spending more time at home due to quarantine and social distancing, many homeowners are asking themselves this question.

This has inspired an increase in home improvements that go beyond aesthetic enhancements. Homeowners want eco-friendly upgrades that improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ), which means improvements that support the health and wellness of the people who live in the home.

If you're curious how to improve your home's IEQ, here are three key projects to consider:

1. Hydronic radiant heating systems

Conventional forced-air systems push heated air through ductwork in the walls and ceilings. There are many drawbacks to this type of system. First, they are inefficient because hot air blows out vents and rises rather than staying lower to keep people comfortable. Second, it circulates dust, allergens and pollutants that lower the indoor air quality. Third, they can be noisy, turning on and off all day.

For a healthier home, consider hydronic radiant heating. This technology works by warming water at a heat source and circulating it through piping made of a special polymer called PEX that is installed beneath the floor. For example, Uponor Fast Trak is a simple-to-install, knobbed-mat system that adheres to a concrete slab for quick radiant tubing installation in any area of the home. Learn more at www.uponor-usa.com/radiant.

A hydronic radiant system can dramatically improve a home's IEQ. There is no fan to circulate dust, pollen and odors, so you can breathe easier. Because it's in the floor, it keeps the heat low - where you and your family actually live - without hot and cold spots. You can heat in zones to save money, plus, the system is near-silent.

2. Natural light and daylighting

Beautiful sun shining through a window is a welcome sight on any day. Natural light increases the comfort of a home and can have a positive psychological impact on the people who spend time there. That's why, when choosing home-improvement projects, use daylighting strategies to improve IEQ.

Daylighting is a method you can use to welcome more natural light into your home. There are many improvements that support daylighting. Adding windows strategically to brighten spaces throughout the day is a smart first step. Adding skylights to bring in light where traditional windows are not possible or logical, such as in a bathroom, also supports daylighting.

Daylighting can be controlled for comfort and privacy with shades, blinds and plants. In spaces where windows and skylights are not possible, adding reflective surfaces to the room design can provide internal lighting by maximizing the sunlight. For example, glossy tile or mirrors throughout a room can help brighten the space and align with daylighting goals.

3. Clean air and proper ventilation

Airflow is an important part of any healthy home, helping to remove contaminants and bring in fresh air. Proper ventilation prevents mold and mildew growth, removes common pollutants from appliances and other household items, improves indoor air quality and boosts IEQ.

To improve your home's ventilation, always open windows and skylights when weather and conditions allow to let in fresh air. Remember to turn on ventilation fans when bathing or showering to remove excess humidity. In addition, use fans in the kitchen to remove smoke and heat while cooking. Finally, maintain filters on items such as air purifiers, humidifiers and your HVAC system.

If you have a radiant heat system, continue to use it, as it helps to eliminate the circulation of microscopic particles that can spread germs and trigger allergy symptoms. Considering Americans spend on average 90% of their time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, prioritizing indoor air quality is essential.

IEQ is getting increased attention, as people look to improve their homes and make them healthy for their families, while also boosting their bottom line at resale. These three key areas will help you create a space centered on health and well-being. For more information, visit www.uponor-usa.com.



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Delicate harmonies create balance in the bath

(BPT) - The bath space should feel spa-like in nature and create a sense of tranquility. To establish balance within the bath, coordinate different design styles and incorporate striking natural details. Bathrooms that push the boundaries on contrast, while maintaining a minimalistic tone, create the most coveted sanctuaries.

Natural minimalism

Consider choosing earth tones like mocha and rust to bring richness and warmth to the bath. The addition of texture also disrupts the uniformity of a space. For instance, larger visual elements like pebble flooring, a stone tub or a concrete window bench deliver unexpected interruption without feeling obtrusive. Additionally, incorporating organic touches such as live plants or greenery balances the raw minimalism of the unfinished materials. Complete the space with a custom-made mirror with warm backlighting for a functional and luxurious finishing touch.

Stunning combinations

Nero Marquina is renowned for its rich black hues and distinctive white veining. Movement varies by slab, and when paired with hand-selected stone that complements or contrasts the marble, the space becomes the perfect backdrop for a luxurious soak. Further experiment with hardware and fixtures throughout the space to create additional smaller pops of contrast. For instance, the classic combination of gold and onyx works effortlessly as a standalone element, or beautifully when incorporated against a monochromatic feature.

Perfect imperfection

Embrace the beauty found in imperfections, a key element of the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. A deeply veined marble wall, such as Calacatta Macaubas Quartzite, alludes to both the principles of wabi-sabi and to 'Kintsugi,' the Japanese method of repairing broken pottery using lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Select additional elements that carry these philosophies through the space, such as the Single-Handle Lavatory Faucet from the Kintsu Bath Collection by Brizo. The faucet handle displays clean, unbroken lines while in the off position, demonstrating the streamlined form of Scandinavian minimalism. When in use, the handle creates a broken visual line, celebrating the principles of wabi-sabi.

Exquisite details

Opt for strong geometric shapes as both primary and supporting elements within the bath. A cherry wood vanity can act as the focal point or as an understated base to house a variety of accessories. Create stunning contrast with light and dark tones by adding a mother of pearl soap dish or inlaid cabinet hardware against black lacquered surfaces. From small accents to larger statement pieces, establishing a balanced aesthetic within the bath will instill a sense of peace and make for a calming space.



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Green and clean: Eco-friendly tips for a...

(BPT) - With social distancing, remote work and digital learning the new reality, there's no question that time spent at home has significantly increased. Keeping spaces clean and healthy is a top priority particularly as we head into winter months. Creating a healthy home is easier than you think - consider these five simple steps.

Step 1: Change air filters regularly

Your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system typically includes an air filter that pulls dust, contaminants and microscopic allergens out of the air. If you can't remember the last time you changed the air filter, it's time to add it to your list. These filters should be replaced at least once a season to help maintain a healthier home. During seasons that your system is more in use, such as daily heating during cold months, you may want to change it out more often.

Step 2: Use products with better ingredients

Some cleaners contain harsh chemical ingredients that can do more harm than good. Look for products that effectively clean with naturally occurring ingredients like hydrogen peroxide. For example, Bona PowerPlus Antibacterial Surface Cleaner kills 99.9% of household germs like influenza A, rhinovirus and E. coli through the power of hydrogen peroxide. This ready to use, streak-free formula cuts grease and grime on sealed non-porous hard surfaces like granite, stone, ceramic tile, stainless steel, glass and more.

Step 3: Kick off your shoes

Wearing shoes inside the home can track in unwanted dirt and germs. Place a shoe mat or basket at often-used entryways to keep organized and to encourage visitors to remove their shoes. Additionally, a door mat both inside and outside of the doorway can keep mud, snow and chemicals like salt melt off floors. As an added touch, snag some comfy house slippers so visitors have no excuse to go shoeless.

Step 4: Refresh and remodel with green materials

With extra time at home, more people are tackling home improvement projects. Whether you are refreshing a space or embarking on a major remodel, look for eco-friendly options such as paint, flooring and other materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which will ensure healthier air quality. Consider renovating rather than replacing cabinets, floors or furniture. These areas of the home can easily be freshened up with a stain or finish and it prevents these materials from ending up in landfill.

Step 5: Add plants

Greenery not only improves the appearance of a house, but the right plants can also help clean the air. The NASA Clean Air Study tested plants' ability to remove indoor air pollutants. Peace lily, lady palm and snake plant (also called mother-in-law's tongue) are a few indoor plants that had a positive impact on indoor air quality. Place these in high use spaces, such as the living room and bedroom, to add to the health and aesthetic of the space.

These five steps will help you revamp your home's health quotient so everyone can breathe easier.

Bona PowerPlus Antibacterial Surface Cleaner kills 99.9% of Influenza A H1N1 Virus, Rhinovirus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], and Trichophyton mentagrophytes on hard, non-porous surfaces in 10 minutes.



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Beyond beautiful: How plants improve mental and...

(BPT) - Flowers and plants are staples in many American homes, adding to the style and aesthetic of virtually any space. While the visual benefits of plants are widely embraced, many people are unaware of the ways plants can support mental and physical well-being, too.

"Plants offer countless benefits beyond beauty," explains Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers.com. "From improving air quality to having calming and healing benefits, plants are such an important component to keep in your home."

Palomares lends insight into the top benefits of plants and which species you should consider placing in your favorite spaces:

Stress reduction

Have you ever noticed that when you visit a garden or park, you instantly feel at ease? Greenery has the innate ability to calm and reduce stress. The sights and smells promote calm and a feeling of escape, which is particularly important during times of stress.

Work is a top source of stress for many people, so it makes sense that plants are a smart addition to workspaces. The study "The positive effects of office plants" by Nursery Papers Technical researched plants in the workplace and found employees had many beneficial experiences, including:

  • Depression/dejection reduced by 58%
  • Anger/hostility reduced by 44%
  • Tension/anxiety reduced by 37%
  • Confusion reduced by 30%

Because many people are now working from home and children are attending school remotely, add plants to office and study spaces to reduce stress and make the space more welcoming.

Plant to consider: Lavender has delicate purple buds that offer a splash of color to the space and a scent that fills a room with its calm-invoking characteristics.

A home office that nurtures

For your home office in particular, choose furnishings and decor that improve your comfort, functionality and focus. Make sure your chair is ergonomic and adjusted at the right height for your desk, and that the space has adequate lighting and ventilation.

Plants suitable for a home office should be easy to maintain, and will not take over the space. For example, a hanging plant that won't use up valuable desk space can add a welcome touch of green.

Plant to consider: English Ivy can beautifully spruce up your work area.

Improve air quality

Plants can improve air quality by decreasing the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air by up to 89%, according to a report by the NASA Stennis Space Center. VOCs are commonly found in household items and paints, and include formaldehyde, benzene and trichlorethylene, among others.

Many green houseplants have the ability to:

  • Reduce carbon dioxide levels in a home
  • Control humidity levels
  • Reduce indoor pollution levels
  • Reduce airborne dust levels
  • Add oxygen to the air

Plant to consider: Peace Lily can remove pollutants and absorb harmful substances like ammonia and xylene that may be present in your home, plus has a pleasant scent when in bloom.

Healing and health-promoting

Plants are believed to calm and promote healing in people of all ages. In fact, just looking at pictures of plants can have a positive impact. The reason? Scientists believe that the calming effects of nature images can reduce cortisol levels and improve mood, effectively speeding up the healing process.

Of course live plants are the ideal. A Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine article found that patients recovering from surgery with plants and flowers in their room have experienced:

  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Lower ratings of pain, anxiety and fatigue
  • Fewer intakes of pain medication

Whether you're recovering from an illness or simply want to promote the overall wellness of the people who live in your home, consider placing plants throughout the most-used spaces to reap the benefits.

Plant to consider: Aloe Vera is an ancient natural remedy that not only adds visual appeal, but the clear gel from the plant's leaves also soothes the skin.

"The power of plants is incredible," says Palomares. "Whether you bring plants into your own home to promote calm and wellness, or you gift to a loved one as a special surprise, greenery is a wonderful way to elevate a space in numerous ways."

Learn how plants can boost wellness in any space at 1800flowers.com/blog/plants.



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5 top tips for refinishing hardwood floors

(BPT) - Since spending more time at home, you've probably started eyeing projects that need attention. If so, you're not alone - Houzz home renovation website reported a 58% increase in leads for home improvement professionals this past summer.

One project that can make an impact on the look and value of your home is refinishing your hardwood floors. It may seem like a big project to tackle, but refinishing can not only improve the look and value of your home but will extend the lifespan of your floors.

Here are a few tips to get the job done right:

1. Choose carefully

Do your research. Since floors comprise one of the largest surfaces in your home, you want them to look great and wear well for years to come.

Consider the room's overall aesthetic such as color palette and light. A darker space could benefit from lighter colored floors, while darker floors can add rich contrast. In addition to color, pay attention to the variety of floor finish sheens, which can range from extra glossy to super matte.

Don't forget to account for other room changes you're planning such as wall color, window treatments or furnishings.

2. Use a professional

While you may be handy around the house, this is one area where you don't want to make costly mistakes. Hiring a qualified professional flooring craftsman will save time and could also save you money. DIY floor refinishing mistakes are difficult to repair and may mean replacing the flooring surface all together. Consult an expert such as a Bona Certified Craftsman to ensure your floors are refinished with the best products and tools to safeguard the health of your home.

3. Think environmentally friendly

When it comes to a hardwood floor finish, the best choice for keeping your home free of toxins is a water-based or waterborne finish.

The three most common hardwood floor finish choices are - acid cured (also called Swedish finish), oil-based polyurethane or waterborne. Acid cured is high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and is even outlawed in some regions. Because of its toxic nature, homeowners, pets, food, houseplants and even fish tanks must be removed from the home during the refinishing process to keep them safe. Even after the homeowner's return, this floor finish will continue to release toxins into the home.

Oil-based polyurethane floor finish also emits a high level of VOCs creating an intense smell. Additionally, it can have an extended drying time (making your flooring project take longer) and over time, the color can turn yellow compromising the original floor color you selected.

By contrast, waterborne finishes are durable, sustainable and safe enough for homeowners, pets, plants and food to remain in the home during the entire refinishing process. A waterborne finish may take a few hours more to dry than acid cure finish, but it will be ready to walk on hours before an oil-based polyurethane finish. The environmental and health benefits are also well worth it. A high-durability waterborne finish like Bona Traffic HD has low VOCs and is Greenguard Gold certified, ensuring that your finish looks beautiful and will keep your home healthy.

"Hardwood floor refinishing has come a long way from 10 or 15 years ago," said Kenny Boggs, Jr. of of CHP Inc., a Chesapeake, VA-based hardwood floor installation and renovation company. "With low VOC waterborne finishes, environmentally friendly sealers, and dust containment systems, the refinishing process will only leave a beautiful floor behind."

Finally, ask your flooring craftsman to use a dust containment system to further protect your home from potentially harmful dust, while also making clean-up a breeze.

4. Let the floors unify your space

Designers often select the same flooring throughout several rooms, especially on one level of a home, to connect the spaces visually. If you have other rooms on the same level that aren't hardwood, see if there is hardwood under those other surfaces that could be refinished to create a unified look, or consider if installing hardwood floors would be worth the investment.

5. Keep them clean

Once the floors are refinished, cleaning and protecting your hardwood floors is essential. Ask your flooring craftsman to recommend products that will keep your newly refinished floors in great condition. The right floor care after refinishing will help keep your home looking beautiful for years.

Follow these tips to keep your hardwood floors looking their best. Consult a Bona Certified Craftsman at bona.com/bcc for expert advice on achieving beautiful floors that will last a lifetime.



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DIY Tips on How to Creatively Celebrate...
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(BPT) - Halloween may look a bit different, so now more than ever is the time to reimagine traditional ways to celebrate! To help Americans reimagine Halloween, Michaels is unveiling its very own list of Halloween Hacks, offering new and unique ways to celebrate. Get inspired to cast a spell on your space with fun and festive DIY hacks so you and the family can make the most of the iconic holiday in a safe manner. From a wide selection of festive DIY supplies to ready-made Halloween décor like craft pumpkins, spook-tacular signs and tabletop decor, Michaels has everything you need to celebrate and enjoy the ultimate Halloween. Be sure to check out www.michaels.com for all your needs!



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5 must-do home improvements for fall

(BPT) - The average American home has nine DIY jobs that need to be tackled, according to a study conducted by Porch.com. Fall is the perfect time to give your home a little TLC and start checking off projects on your to-do list. Here are five easy fall fixups to get your home ready for the upcoming season:

  • Paint the front door - Nothing gives your home an instant face lift like a freshly painted front door. Painted exterior doors can boost curb appeal, add character and provide a trendy but tasteful first impression of your home. Choose a color that will make your front door pop and improve the look of your home's exterior in less than an afternoon.
  • Repair holes in the drywall - Whether the damage is small from a picture frame nail or anchor, or as large as doorknob damage, DAP's new Eclipse™ Rapid Wall Repair Patches make repairing holes in drywall so fast and easy, anyone can do it. DAP's Eclipse provides a durable, mess-free repair that requires no spackling, sanding or additional tools - simply patch the damage and it's ready to paint immediately, allowing projects to be finished in minutes, rather than hours or days.
  • Freshen up the landscaping - Planting new flowers or shrubbery is an easy way to bring pops of fall colors to the front of your home. Keep it simple and pick plants in one or two hues that contrast with the exterior of your home. Regular mowing and tending to weeds will always help your front yard look its best.
  • Seal window and doors - Small gaps and cracks around windows and doors can allow cold air and rain to make its way inside. Keep your home protected and warm during the fall and winter seasons by replacing worn exterior caulk with DAP Dynaflex Ultra™ Advanced Exterior Sealant. Dynaflex Ultra uses DAP's exclusive WeatherMax Technology™ to create a waterproof and weatherproof seal that won't crack or discolor over time.
  • Replace the furnace filter - Dirty filters mean your furnace will likely work harder. Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet. In most homes, filters should be changed monthly during the heating season. You should also have your furnace serviced periodically to make sure it is working properly and to help avoid larger repairs later on when the temperature drops.

For more tips to help tackle your fall home improvement checklist, visit DAP.com.



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Haven't you always wanted a high-end bidet?...

(BPT) - There's no shortage of choices when it comes to bidet toilets. If you're someone who insists on having the best, here's a tidbit to simplify your search: The evolution of the bidet largely occurred in Japan. Though the French get credit for inventing the bidet, it was actually Japanese innovation that reshaped the bidet experience into a must-have luxury.

The reinvented bidet seat started off by delivering a jet of precisely aimed, warmed water - a big improvement over the traditional model, and so the fixture quickly became mainstream in Japanese homes and businesses. But the innovation did not end there. Year after year, bidet seats got even better, with a focus on bringing people-centered design to the bathroom, with features that enhance comfort and add convenience.

The good news is you can bring the latest envelope-pushing bidet toilet design into your home. The following will highlight some of the best-in-class features to look for as you shop around.

Spa-like features: The epitome of luxury is having your needs anticipated. The All-In-One Smart WASHLET+ created by the Japan-based company TOTO does not shy away from that. It not only warms the seat and lets you adjust the water temperature and spray, you can also program your own memory setting so when you sit down, everything works exactly how you like it. In addition, it gives you hands-free flushing, automatic open/close lids and an air deodorizer.

Design-forward look: When it comes to achieving an aesthetic that fits your bathroom, one option is a skirted design, and that's something you can find in high-end bidet toilets. It does away with the usual nooks and crannies at the base, giving your bathroom a more pulled-together, polished look (and fewer places for dust to hide). Or how about a wall-mounted toilet? It looks absolutely sleek and modern, and it's a design that's especially well-suited for small bathrooms.

Innovative cleaning: How often does technology eliminate your cleaning tasks? The WASHLET+ by TOTO has a CLEAN SYNERGY system that helps you maintain a sparkling bowl for longer. First, a special nano-technology bowl glaze seals the porcelain with an ionized barrier that repels matter, mold and other gunk. After every use, the DYNAMAX TORNADO FLUSH System cleans every inch of the rimless bowl. Finally, its misting feature uses EWATER+ to keep the bowl and the wand clean without using chemicals or cleaning agents.

Streamlined connections: As desirable as the features of a modern bidet toilet, the last thing you want are protruding water and electrical supply connections marring the look of your bathroom. A high-quality bidet uses a seamless design that conceals unsightly cords and tubes, keeping everything looking tidy and in-place.

TOTO is a century-old global brand and the creators of WASHLET+ innovation that improves personal care with high-performing technology. Learn more by visiting WASHLET.com.



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Bring personalized expression into kitchen design

(BPT) - Personalizing a kitchen's design is an opportunity to showcase true individuality. The space will feel like a true reflection of self when finished with handpicked details. Adding special touches throughout a space, from unique materials to striking statement pieces, can work together to form that cohesive, yet individualized feel.

Merged aesthetic

Merge classic and modern design elements, such as wood cabinetry or richly veined marble, with smaller personalized touches that help to bring the room together. To unite varying design elements, consider adding a mixed stone backsplash to complement a central color scheme. By rooting the color palette in opulent shades of white, the space will evoke a sense of comfort. Warmer shades add polished neutrality, allowing striking details to shine against casement windows for a flood of natural light.

Streamlined synergy

Select integrated appliances that seamlessly blend into the kitchen, rather than distract. Adding a stove-side niche places all essential seasonings within reach, while a mounted pot rack above the range keeps cookware in close proximity. Refresh existing storage options with brass and marble shelves to elevate traditional kitchen shelving.

Customized expression

Embrace elements that bring individuality into the space by opting for customizable, functional statement pieces. The Odin Kitchen Collection by Brizo provides expansive options for versatility, with seven warm-to-cool finishes, each creating a distinctively different expression. Additionally, maintain the clean, simple and functional Scandinavian design of the Odin Kitchen Collection by integrating personalized touches. A variety of handle options, from all-metal - matching finish or split finish - to wood, offer the ability to tailor the look.

Contemporary nuances

Choosing impactful lighting, such as oversized, contemporary golden pendants, helps to guide the eye and create a primary focal point. Complete the kitchen with chic counter stools that create a sleek, sophisticated edge. The kitchen should reflect just the right amount of expression with accent pieces, letting the space tell a personalized story through sophisticated touches that speak for themselves.



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Articles last updated at Jan 26, 2021 11:41:44am.
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