Ready to buy some annuals for your yard? Here are four factors to consider when choosing plants that will complement your landscaping.
1. What the plant needs
Check the soil and evaluate the environmental conditions in your yard. The drainage, pH and amount of sunlight available should all be factors when you choose plants for your garden.
2. The size of the plant
3. When the plant blooms
Enjoy blossoming annuals from May to October. Choose plants that flower at different times to have an ever-blooming yard.
4. The color and shape of the plant
Choose annuals that look good together, and aim to get plants in a variety of shapes, colors and textures. Opt for a well balanced color scheme by selecting either cool or warm tones for the entire yard.
If you have perennials in your garden, don’t forget to take them into consideration when choosing your annuals.
5 things to think about when designing an easy-to-clean kitchen
If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen, it’s worth considering your design choices in terms of how easy or difficult it will be to keep the renovated space clean. After all, the kitchen may be the heart of your home, but it’s also the room most prone to spills and messes. Here are five aspects to carefully consider when redesigning your kitchen.
1. The floor
Linoleum holds up well to frequent cleaning and has the advantage of having no grout lines to scrub. If you prefer ceramic, choose large tiles and make sure the grout lines are kept thin.
2. The paint
Satin and high gloss paints are formulated to stand up to humid environments and are a cinch to wipe clean. Stay away from matte finishes, as they can stain easily.
3. The counter
Manmade materials like laminate and engineered stone can stand up to almost anything and require very little upkeep. Stay away from counters that are too pale or too dark, as these show dirt more than others.
4. The backsplash
The area behind the stove tends to get stained and greasy and can be difficult to clean. If tiles are used in this space, the grout lines will require frequent scrubbing. Instead, opt for a covering like stainless steel or glass.
5. The cabinets
Open storage may be trendy, but items kept on open kitchen shelves will quickly become grimy. Choose neatly organized cabinets with doors that are easy to wash instead. If you design them to reach right up to your ceiling, you’ll never have to wipe down the tops.
Tidy spaces are easier to clean than cluttered ones, so try keep your counters bare. Store your pots, pans and small appliances in cabinets.
Joint checking accounts right for some, not all
Joint checking accounts can be a prickly topic, but a bit of thought and planning can be enough to alleviate the misgivings (or convince you it’s not right for your situation).
As a basic premise, joint accounts mean equal access to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money. There are legalities to be aware of regarding survivorship rights and the like — regardless of whether it’s family on the account or not — so always consult with an attorney.
Here are a few scenarios to consider, though there are certainly many more iterations:
* Young and newly married. A joint checking account may help manage scarce resources. However, you must have spending rules and communicate about when bills are paid and who pays them.
If one spouse is in debt, you have to agree that all resources will be used to pay off the debt using the joint account. You must agree to how this will be done and then follow the plan.
* Married later in life, with established separate incomes. A joint account may not be necessary. A combination might work: a joint account to pay bills and separate accounts for personal spending. Or just divide the bills.
* Retirement. An important factor: make sure both spouses are signers if you have separate accounts. This ensures the bills can still be paid if one of you falls ill or is otherwise incapacitated.
Rather than establishing joint accounts, you can take care of people in other ways. Set up accounts to be “payable on death” if you want to name someone as direct beneficiary; Set up durable powers of attorney, which give access to accounts in certain circumstances (illness, incapacitation, etc); and for minor children, set up accounts in trust or UTMA — Uniform Transfer to Minors Act — where you can serve as custodian, but the money is legally the child’s
How to make a windowless room seem brighter
Whether it’s a powder room, a basement or an office, a room with no windows can be dark and hard to decorate. Here are a few tips to help you brighten your windowless room.
• Play with lighting. Install overhead pot lights evenly across the whole ceiling. Set up a few table or standing lamps for times you don’t want all the lights on.
• Use the right colors. Opting for pastels or light neutrals will give the room an airy, open feel. Stick with a simple color scheme and avoid contrasting shades.
• Hang a mirror or two. Mirrors reflect light, making the space seem brighter and bigger. Metallic, glass and other reflective surfaces have the same effect.
• Keep it simple. To keep the space feeling open and light, choose streamlined furniture and avoid filling the room with too many decorations.
• Install interior windows. If possible, replace a door or wall between two rooms with a frosted glass window or door. This will allow light from the adjoining room into your windowless space.
Even a windowless room can be light and airy. Follow these tips to make it a space you’ll love to spend time in.
The best place for your space heater
An auxiliary heating appliance can help you heat your outbuildings and parts of your home during a cold spell. But where should you put it? Follow these tips to choose the best spot for your space heater.
• Establish a three-foot safety zone. Keep the space heater away from flammable materials like curtains, bedsheets and furniture. Make sure that kids and pets can’t get near enough to touch it.
• Keep it away from the wall. This is both safer and more efficient. Maintaining a small distance between the space heater and the wall allows heat to circulate freely and therefore warms up the room more efficiently.
• Avoid damp locations. Moisture can damage most electric heating appliances. Unless it’s rated for use in bathrooms or kitchens, keep your space heater away from damp locations.
• Put it on the ground. Heat rises, so placing your space heater on a table or shelf won’t make your room much warmer. Keep it on the floor instead.
Space heaters aren’t meant to heat your whole home, so keep them where you need them the most. And be sure to get one rated for the size of the area. One that’s too small won’t heat efficiently, and one that’s too large will waste electricity.
Starting your teen off with banking
What’s almost as scary as your teen learning to drive? Your teen with money.
Maybe scary is too strong a word. But as with most endeavors where our children move into independence, there’s some trepidation. Have they learned the lessons we tried to teach them? Will they be mindful?
One rite of passage includes the teen checking account, their first foray into handling money on their own … or semi on their own. If your child is under 18, you’ll likely have to be a joint owner; you’ll be able to monitor transactions and access accounts.
Other options include getting your teen a prepaid debit or credit card.
You could set up an allowance in a checking account into which the teen can also deposit income from work. They can then use a debit card to pay their expenses.
A prepaid credit card will avoid the need for a checking account, but also not teach a teen how to use an account.
Some of the things you’ll have to teach your teen.
* How to write a check. We all sometimes need paper. Still.
* Interest rate and monthly fees.
Some accounts have fees and if your account has them, teach your teen when they apply.
* Overdraft fees and overdraft policy.
Teens must not overdraft their account and, if they do, fees will quickly eat up a teen paycheck. You might want to monitor a teens checking account to make sure they haven’t overdrawn.
Teens have to understand that overdrafts and fees can’t be ignored.
* Mobile Banking. Teens are going to use their phone.
* Text alerts and email can be sent to both the teen and parents.
Velvet revival: bring fall’s trendiest textile into your home
Velvet enthusiasts rejoice: home design’s lushest material is en vogue and cropping up on upholstered furniture, accessories and decor pieces across the country.
Once considered difficult to care for and easy to stain, today’s velvets come with a number of low-maintenance characteristics, from machine-washable to fade-, stain- and abrasion-resistant options.
Surprisingly, velvet is versatile. Not only does this plush textile looks fabulous in a range of colors and styles, it also works well in both contemporary and traditional homes.
While velvet has a reputation for being dark and moody, you don’t need to stick to dark hues. Velvet’s lavish texture is well suited to jewel tones like emerald, amethyst and sapphire. However, if these tones are too bold for you, neutrals like grays and creams are more refined but just as stylish.
While it’s easy to fall in love with a velvet sofa, headboard or armchair, not everyone is in the market for new furniture. For a touch of the trend, add cushions and throws made of the fabric to your existing living room furniture. To bring it into the bedroom, choose velvet curtains or a quilt.
Whether you pair this textile with brass and wood for a mid-century touch, or go ultra-modern with clean lines and complementary pieces made of chrome and glass, velvet can fit easily into any home’s decor.