How to Choose Your Bathroom Vanity Lighting

Get tips on sconces, pendants, chandeliers, pot lights and LED strips — and find out where to place them

The bathroom vanity is a special part of the home, but one that can sometimes get overlooked. In a primary bathroom, it can be the central hub for many important parts of our self-care and the true workhorse for some of our daily routines. For this reason, bathroom vanities need carefully selected lighting that lives up to its full potential. There are many options to choose from, all of which work in different scenarios and can be used together to get the best of both worlds. Read on to find out how to pick the right bathroom vanity lighting.

The Cost of Waiting Until Next Year to Buy

6 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Falls

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

From guest columnist Patrick Young http://ableusa.info/

A senior is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds. What’s more worrisome, a senior dies from a fall every 19 minutes. While these statistics are scary, there are things you and your family can do to help prevent falls from happening. Ranging from lifestyle changes to home modifications, here are some of the main ways seniors can prevent falls.

Exercise

Regular exercise helps maintain muscle mass, balance, and flexibility, which, in turn, increases mobility and significantly decreases the risk of falling. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home to help your chances of falling, but fitness classes also come with the benefit of socialization and supervised training.

If you are a Medicare subscriber, you may be eligible for Silver Sneakers, a program that provides access to 13,000 fitness centers across the country. Many Medicare Advantage plans, including those by Humana, offer this perk. If your plan doesn’t cover this, you could consider switching to one that does during the next enrollment period.

Decluttering

Many seniors have a tendency to let their stuff accumulate as time goes by, which often results in a borderline hoarding situation. This is not only unpleasant, but it is also potentially deadly.

Clutter greatly increases the risk of tripping over something, so a big decluttering session is a matter of health as well as aesthetics. Even better, a more minimalist home is also a healthier environment for your lungs and your mental health.

Grab Bars

It may not seem like it, but the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, as water, soap, and smooth porcelain make for a huge slipping hazard. One of the easiest ways to counter this is to install grab bars next to the bathtub, shower, and toilet. A plastic non-slip mat on the bathtub or shower floor can also be a big help.

Non-Slip Flooring

This is an obvious one, but it’s still worth mentioning. Certain floors are more prone to cause a slip or trip than others, so it’s a good idea to take stock of the flooring in the house. The Spruce recommends softer materials that will somewhat cushion a fall if it does happen, and in particular warns against tile, which is hard, potentially slippery, and easy to trip over.

You should also watch out for rugs on hard floors, which can easily slip or bunch up. Use double-sided carpet tape to keep them in place. Also, any elevated transitions between rooms should be flattened to reduce the odds of tripping.

Lighting

Poor lighting is a huge fall hazard since it increases the risk of tripping over unobserved objects. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest to remedy. Simply make sure that all areas of the house have adequate lighting at all times of day, with particular focus on heavy-traffic areas like hallways. Note that adequate doesn’t necessarily mean bright — you want even, consistent, preferably indirect light, rather than anything with a strong glare.

Nutrition

The link between nutrition and falls may not be obvious, but it is very much there. A lack of appropriate nutrients can make falls more likely by reducing strength and balance, and they can also make a fall more dangerous by making bones more fragile. Furthermore, a lack of Vitamin D has been directly linked to increased fall risk, and a lack of vitamins that help eyesight can cause similar problems when faced with poor lighting.

Making sure seniors are consuming a balanced and nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and taking any necessary vitamin supplements will further protect them from falls.

Prevention is easy and pain-free — treating a fall is not. The above steps have the potential to not only make a senior’s life safer and more comfortable but to outright save it. The best part is that many of them also come with additional mental and physical health benefits, further improving a senior’s quality of life.

5 Tips To Creating A Timeless Design For Your Living Space

Everyone loves redecorating, but when you follow the trends too closely, you run the risk of spending time, energy, and, more importantly, money, on looks you’re likely to get sick of in just a few months or a year. Creating a timeless, classic look is a great way to give your home an air of sophistication. It’s also great for adding a timeless quality to your home. If you’re looking to upgrade your decor into something stylish and functional that you can love for years to come, try some of these timeless tips to get the right look for your living space.

From guest columnist Simon Bennett

1. Use Neutral Tones

A truly timeless style is all about subtlety. Neutral paint jobs are always timeless, and avoid making the room look dated in a year or so. Taupe, off white, and grey are timeless classics that keep your room looking clean, bright, and fresh, no matter the style you’re going for! Using a nice, bright white or off-white also gives you a minimalist feel, and helps the room feel less cluttered and closed in. An off-white or taupe will stop the room looking too modern, while still giving you that timeless feel.

2. Mix Up Old and New Styles

A great way to create a timeless and classic look that is unique and still speaks to you and your personal style is to mix up the old and the new. Take a look around some antique shops for some great inspiration in classic design. Refurbishing old design pieces is another great option, like turning an old mirror into a picture frame, or an old door into a coffee table. Restaining and repainting is a lot cheaper than continually updating your furniture styles. And classics like leather furniture never go out of style, and come in a wide variety of modern designs

3. Keep Color In Your Accents

So you know to stick to neutral, natural tones for a timeless look that will never go out of style. But that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace fun colors and patterns that are completely on trend. The trick? It’s all about the accents. Don’t spend the money upholstering your couch in this year’s must-have color. Instead, get some throw pillows that are easy to swap out when you move on to next year’s trends. Don’t go with an accent wall in that ultra-bold print everyone is talking about. Instead, find a great set of floor-length curtains that give you the same effect. For a quick update on shelves and end tables? Swap out handles and fixtures. Show off your personality in the smaller ways throughout your home, and avoid blowing money on big-ticket items you won’t use past a season.

4. Spend On Your Big Items

Related to that, be sure to spend your decorating budget on lasting, timeless pieces. Think about how you use your space to decide which items are the star of the room. In an open-plan living space, you’ll want to spend your money on a great table set, something neutral and lasting, as well as a cozy couch set. We’ve already talked about the value of leather furniture. It’s easy to clean and repair, it’s functional, and has a timeless design look in styles and color to suit any budget and taste. A good shelving unit to function as a room divider and keep your home clutter free is an option, or you can go for a built-in, which will add resale value to your home, and keep everything in its place.

5. Choose Pieces You Really Love

Just because you’re going for a more timeless and classic appeal, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Look for statement pieces that might not be exactly on-trend, but absolutely speak to your personal style. A big, bold area rug in a pattern or color you know will get plenty of play in your home can really pull a room together. Mirrors help make the room look bigger and brighter, by bouncing light around. The right statement frame can add a classic design touch, and so can the right lighting. Check out your local flea market or antique shops for a chandelier that suits your taste, while still providing a classic design element.

Hitting the right balance in your home décor is no easy task. You want something unique, that speaks to you and your family. You want to stay on trend with color and detail. But who can afford to update their home décor every season? Even once a year might be pushing it for some budgets. Sticking with the classics is a great way to keep your home looking tasteful and stylish. And it doesn’t have to mean keeping things bland and boring. If you follow these tips, your home will have a beautiful, classic design that is as versatile as it is stylish!

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4 Household Items You Shouldn’t Skimp-Out On

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From guest columnist Kaelin Waters kaelinwaters@gmail.com

When it comes to furnishing your home, it can be easy to over-spend or tempting to cut corners to save cash. American’s spend an average of $15,215 on furnishing a three-bedroom home. While it’s fine to try and reduce the cost of creating a comfortable home, there are certain household items you shouldn’t skimp on.

Sofas and Couches

Disposable furniture is bad for the environment and your budget in the long run. Great looking couches at low prices can be enticing, but they are rarely as comfortable as they look. Similarly, second-hand couches can have broken supports, stains and even bed bugs. Ensure you have a comfortable place to relax that won’t hurt your back after a long day at work and invest in a quality couch.

Mattresses

A quality mattress is key to creating the haven of relaxation and comfort that should be your bedroom. While the bedframe can wait, you’ll need a mattress right away and a good one if you care about your health and mental wellbeing.

Quality sleep is integral to your physical and mental health. A poor-quality, cheap mattress won’t give you the rest you need to make the most of your day and enjoy your time off at home. Choosing the right mattress should include consideration of more than just price. A quality mattress should support you while you sleep – relieving pressure on muscles and joints, promoting airflow to keep you cool while you slumber and allow you to move freely without disturbing your partner.

In the Kitchen

How we prepare our food is almost as important as what we choose to eat. Pitted, burnt or flaking non-stick applications to pots and pans are bad for your health. Aluminium, nickel coated and copper cook wear have been associated with a number of health risks resulting from the metal compounds dissolving into food when used for cooking. Worn, pitted and scratched posts and pans are the worst culprits and should be replaced with high quality pans – you’ll have fewer cooking disasters and safeguard your health.

Knives are also worth spending a little more on. Low quality knives are more prone to damage as they often lack the tang that attaches to the handle and have thinner blades that can break when trying to cut through harder foods like pumpkins. Quality knives remain sharper for longer and are far less dangerous when it comes to working it the kitchen.

Keeping Things Clean

The cost of household appliances can vary wildly, and while price sometimes makes minimal difference to quality, there are certain appliances that you’ll be pleased you spent a little more on.

Vacuum cleaners don’t only keep our carpets and floors clean, they also have the ability to affect air quality in our homes, trapping allergens and microbes and stopping them from being released into the air indoors. It’s worth spending a little more on a quality vacuum cleaner to be sure it can do this job properly.

Spending a little more on the dishwasher is likely to get you one that does its job reliably well and even gives you more space to stack dishes after a family meal. What’s more, the higher priced dishwashers are also quieter.

How Long To Save Your Down Payment

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.

Using data from HUDCensus and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! I can introduce you to a mortgage professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

10 Ways to Live With a Smaller Carbon Footprint

Take these simple steps to reduce your energy use and cut back on waste

From the first disposable coffee cup of the morning to the drive home in rush-hour traffic, many things we do daily have an effect on the planet. But looking at the big picture can be overwhelming — where can we begin? Choosing to make a few impactful shifts at home to shrink your carbon footprint is a great place to start. Read on for 10 doable ways to reduce your carbon impact, and save a little cash along the way to boot.

Why Millennials Buy A Home

  • “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
  • The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
  • Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like or renovate an outdated part of their living space.