You probably feel safest at home with your baby—and you should. But the unfortunate fact is that so often, our homes are filled with hazards for babies, toddlers, and young children who don’t know how to avoid dangers at home. Common risks like sharp objects, hazardous liquids, hot surfaces, and water can cause injury or even death. Before your baby is born, or at least before your baby starts crawling, ensure that your home is safe to explore by getting ready with our baby and toddler home safety checklist.
Every home owner needs a tool box. Whether you’re handy or not, little things come up, and they’re not all worth calling a professional. A home tool kit can help you hang photos, assemble furniture, fix a toilet, build a cabinet, and more. You can even manage emergencies like leaky pipes until you can get help from the pros. Fill your tool box with these essential items and you’ll be ready to take on most minor (and some major) repair and home improvement projects.
- Hammer: No tool box is complete without a hammer. You can drive in and pull out nails and complete a variety of projects with a hammer.
- Measuring tape: Consider how furniture will fit into a room, measure wood before cutting, measure windows for blinds, and more with a handy measuring tape. Look for a 16 foot long tape measure at least 3/4 inch wide.
- Screwdriver: A screwdriver is essential for so many home projects, ranging from assembling furniture to tightening hinges. You can get a set of multi sized and multiple bit individual screwdrivers, or invest in a single multi bit screwdriver. It’s a good idea to get extra Phillips head screwdrivers to place in multiple areas of your home, as they are most commonly used.
- Power drill: You can live without a power drill, but practically every project is made easier with the help of power. You can drill holes and drive screws efficiently. With additional bits, you can even stir paint, grind materials, and more.
- Hand saw: A power saw is helpful for many applications, but quick jobs like cutting through small pieces of wood or pipes in tricky spots are better handled with a hand saw. These saws are also very portable.
- Utility knife: Break down boxes, open packaging, sharpen pencils, and more with a simple utility knife.
- Five gallon bucket: Corral tools for a project, catch water, or just sit on a five gallon bucket. You’ll be glad you have it.
- Super glue: Glue porcelain pieces back together, fix a drawer, complete arts and crafts projects, fix shoes, repair sunglasses, and more.
- Wrench: Invaluable for plumbing jobs, get a medium sized slip joint pair of pliers and an adjustable wrench.
- Allen wrench: Save those little wrenches that come with ready to assemble furniture, as they can come in handy later. You can use them to disassemble furniture and toys, even fix some bikes.
- Needle nose pliers: Needle nose pliers come in handy more often than you’d think. They’re great for repairs in small and tight places and especially useful for jewelry repair.
- Putty knife: Scrape away loose paint, apply wall patching compound, and more with a stiff bladed putty knife.
- Vice grips: Vice grips can give you a practical third hand, holding on when your other hands are busy. You can use them to clamp items in place, remove stripped or broken screws, open zippers, pinch or close off small pipes, and more.
- Clamps: Hold pieces of wood tightly together, keep items in place while glue dries, and more.
- Step ladder: Reach anything in your home with ease using a step ladder. You can hang Christmas lights, change light bulbs, paint rooms, even get items off of the roof.
- Level: Make sure every photo you hang is straight across with a level. You can also use it for precision woodworking and other projects.
- Pry bar: Remove nails, flooring, and more with a pry bar.
- Stud finder: Never wonder where you can hang heavy photos. With a stud finder, you’ll be able to identify studs in your walls for sturdy hanging spots. Some stud finders can even identify water pipes and electrical lines you should avoid.
- WD-40: Lubricate anything, stop rust in its tracks, clean bathtubs, walls, and more, protect metal from corrosion, remove tough materials, and so much more with WD-40.
- Circular saw: This versatile power tool is helpful in practically any woodworking project.
- Duct tape: It’s no joke: duct tape really can fix almost anything, at least temporarily. Patch a PVC pipe, repair an air duct, stop wood from splitting, and more.
- Flashlight: Visibility is key to safety and accuracy in home improvement projects. Using a flashlight or lamp will illuminate your work area and make your task easier. If you need an extra hand, consider a head lamp instead.
- Safety glasses: Working with tools can kick up dust, debris, wood shavings, and more — none of which you want to end up in your eyes. Protect them with a good pair of safety glasses, especially when you’re working with power tools.
- Gloves: Even padded and comfortable tools can wear on your hands, causing blisters and discomfort. Some projects can also get quite messy. A pair of gloves will protect your hands and keep you comfortable.
- Mask: Protect your lungs from debris and fumes with a mask.
- Ear plugs: Using power tools can get loud, so it’s smart to use a pair of ear plugs for safety.
Remodeling for Twins
Remodeling for Twins 07:19
Adam Christian and John Volturo sit in their newly renovated outdoor space with twin daughters, Michaela and Julia.
How to Hang Pictures Right the First Time
Framed paintings and photographs add a splash of color to a room and give it a unique personal touch, but some homeowners are reluctant to tackle the job for fear their walls will end up resembling aged Swiss cheese. With the right hardware and know-how, you can approach your next picture hanging project with confidence.
Finding the Right Location
The first step is to decide where you would like the picture to hang. Recruit a helper to hold the picture on the wall while you evaluate its placement using the following guidelines:
- The center of the picture should be at eye level, approximately 60” from the floor.
- Leave at least a 3” to 6” gap between the top of a sofa and the bottom of the picture frame, and 4” to 8” inches from a table top.
- Treat a grouping of pictures as a single unit.
- Center the picture or grouping within the available wall space or over the piece of furniture below it.
- Position pictures away from direct light and high humidity.
Deciding on a location for one picture is fairly simple, but arranging several pieces in a single space can get a bit more complex. The answer is to make paper templates with arrows on them to indicate whether the piece will be hung vertically or horizontally. Tape the templates to the wall, using easy-release painter’s tape, and rearrange them until the grouping is to your liking.
Once you’ve decided on the perfect spot, use a stud finder to identify wall studs and mark their location with Post-it Notes or painter’s tape.
Marking the Wall
While holding the picture in place, put a strip of painter’s tape on the wall with the bottom edge even with the top of the frame. Mark each end of the frame on the tape then remove the picture.
If the picture will have only one wall hanger, find the width of the frame, divide by two, and measure this distance in from the marks on the painter’s tape. Split any difference between the two marks for the center.
For added stability on wide frames, use two hangers that are equidistant from the center point. If the frame has a hanger on each side, measure in from the outside edge of the frame to the center of each hanger and transfer these measurements to the tape.
Next, turn the picture over and measure from the top of the frame to the point the picture will hang. For pictures with a hanging wire and one hanging point, hook the metal end of a tape measure under the center of the wire. Pull up until the wire is taut, and measure up to the top of the frame.
For frames with a wire that will have two hanging points, pull up on the wire at both points simultaneously then measure up to the top of the frame.
For pictures with D-rings or sawtooth hangers, hook the tape over the top of the frame and measure down to the spot where the wall hanger will be attached.
Transfer the hanger location on the wall by measuring down from the bottom edge of the painter’s tape.
Then use a level to make sure it is plumb with the mark on the strip of tape.
In order to select the right hardware to hang your picture, you need to know:
- The approximate weight of the picture.
- The type of hanging hardware on the frame.
- The wall material.
- If the wall hanger will be attached to a stud.
There are a number of hardware options for hanging pictures, with the label on the package usually giving the maximum weight each one is designed to hold. To find the weight of the picture, weigh yourself on a bathroom scale while holding the picture then subtract your weight from it.
Traditional metal picture hooks work well for lightweight frames fitted with wire while screws or nails are a better choice for sawtooth and D-rings hangers.
If the hanging hardware will attach to a wall stud or solid wood paneling, just about any hanger suitable for the frame and rated for the weight of the picture will do. If the picture is heavy and a stud isn’t present, you’ll need to use a wall anchor on drywall or plaster walls. Self-tapping threaded anchors are suitable for attaching all but the heaviest pictures to drywall.
Anchors that spread out behind the wall—such as toggle or molly bolts—provide the most holding power and help keep plaster from cracking.
The latest innovation in picture hanging hardware is a thin curved spring steel wire sold under brand names such as Heavy Duty Wall Hanger, Hercules Hook, and Monkey Hook.
To use, simply twist the sharpened point through the drywall and push the wire into the wall cavity until it locks in place.
Wire hangers will only work where there’s not a stud or other obstruction in the wall. They are quick to install and remove, leaving a very small hole that is easy to spackle and paint over.
Keep in mind that the spot marked on the wall and the location you attach the hanger may differ since the hook often extends down from the nail or screw that holds it. To make sure you get it right, position the lowest point of the hook at the mark before attaching the hardware to the wall.
While you can nail or screw directly into drywall, always drill a pilot hole first in plaster to prevent cracking. Brick and concrete walls require drilling a hole with a special masonry bit then either hammering in a masonry nail or using a plastic anchor and screw.
To prevent your picture from marring the wall and keep it hanging level, apply self-adhesive rubber bumpers to the bottom corners on the back of the frame before hanging. After suspending the picture on the hanger, remove the strip of tape, and use a level to check your work.
Now Even Your Corner Market Has a Top Designer
At the newly opened Clover Grocery in New York’s West Village, Studio Mellone puts an über-chic twist on the urban deli experience
When Kyle Hotchkiss Carone conceived Clover Grocery, the neighboring take-out offshoot of Café Clover, his health-and-style-conscious West Village restaurant, he envisioned “the world’s chicest bodega.” In a city of small apartments and smaller kitchens, Clover Grocery was to be the ultimate grab-and-go, replete with wholesome roasted veggies, fresh coffee, a juice bar, and other essentials like Bamford beauty products and fresh-cut flowers.
“Since I was a kid going to the market with my mom, I loved the experience of shopping for food and other beautiful things,” says Carone. “Coming to Clover Grocery should be a highlight of your day—for breakfast or matcha, for a brief escape from the office for lunch, to pick up a gift, to shop for a dinner party on the way home from work—it should be the opposite of stressful to come by our little shop.”
For the epicerié’s interiors, Carone tapped Studio Mellone, known for creating rigorously glamorous spaces for clients including Thom Brown and Jason Wu. “I came to Andre [Mellone] with a million references—everything from Perriand stools to bronze Pompeii deer,” notes Carone. Together, he and Mellone conjured an ultraglamorous scheme that draws on the chic epicurean arcades of Europe as well as iconic residential architecture. “Ultimately we arrived at [Milan’s] Villa Necchi Campiglio and its incredible kitchen as the jumping-off point,” Carone adds, pointing out the blue ceramic tiles, blond wood shelves, and curvilinear marble details. And, setting the space apart from the quotidian bodega, much attention has been lavished on a sumptuous lighting design that’s ultraflattering to both the patrons and the fresh goods. When evening falls, the lights go dim and the large custom-made trestle table is reset for intimate dinners and private events.
Most of our time spend in our home. It should be simply beautiful decorated. By putting some small efforts we can result a lovely peaceful place. A common latest home maybe have featured dull colored theme but it seems like dull look. Bright colors can change the entire surrounding. It shows the elegant and stylish behavior towards the home decoration.
The most important part of the home is your room, where you get yourself relax at day or night. There are some colors that were used from a decade and most of the room decor starts with blue and white. Different colors of touch represent our moods in most of the ways. Every color has its on meaning like yellow symbolize the energy and it is also represented as attention grabber. On the other hand, grey color signifies the protection and strength.
Now you want to change the tedious bedroom color to some energetic and peaceful color. Below are some of expert’s recommendations about the selection of color for your room.
The strongest color is the Red, which raises the room energy level and mostly used in living room or dinning room.
To slower down the high blood pressure and heart it is recommend to use the Blue color in bedrooms and bathrooms.
Green a natural calming color is suitable for any room on the house. Too much use of green color can make people laziness, slow mood and depressed but a combination of red or orange can make these feelings down.
Experience the graceful and modern living style; try to redecorate your home in best possible way according to your family’s taste.
Cover furniture pieces from top to bottom with all-purpose cleaner and rub with a nylon scrub brush. Next, wipe with a microfiber cloth. For extra protection, finish with a coat of car wax, says Linda Cobb, the author of the Queen of Clean book series.
Combine 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon borax in a bucket. Dip a sponge in the solution, then use it to scrub the cushions on all sides. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes. Rinse with a hose. Stand each cushion on an edge until dry.
Hose down the umbrella. Rub a wet soft-bristle brush across a bar of laundry soap. Run it over the open canopy, working from bottom to top. Rinse with a hose. Leave the umbrella open until dry. In between cleanings, wipe off bird droppings as soon as you spot them; the high acid content damages fabric, says Don Aslett, the founder of the Museum of Clean, in Pocatello, Idaho.
Use the vacuum’s crevice attachment to dislodge leaves and bugs from the cracks. (A paintbrush works well, too, says Cobb.) Next, wet a microfiber cloth with all-purpose cleaner and glide it over the wicker. Rinse with a damp sponge. Dry with a cloth to prevent mildew.
“I left a pan on a high flame, and now there’s a black ring on my glass stovetop that won’t come off.”
The fix: Rub the stain with a silicone spatula; small circular motions will loosen debris and fade the color, says Meg Roberts, the president of Molly Maid, a nationwide cleaning service. Then make a paste with 4 tablespoons of baking soda plus a little water and spread it on the stain. Place a warm damp rag on top and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wipe the area clean. If the stain persists, make another paste using 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about a minute on the stain, scrub it in with a microfiber cloth, then remove the residue with a wet cloth. The next time you clean the stove, apply a glass-cooktop cleaner (such as Cerama bryte cooktop cleaner; $12, acehardware.com) to the stovetop, then polish with a paper towel, says Bridgid Blocker, the test-kitchen manager for GE appliances.
If you’re in the market for an older home, or have recently purchased one, you’re probably more than a little familiar with the term “popcorn ceilings.” Yes, we’re talking about that white, clumpy, textured ceiling surface widely used in home construction through the late 1980s.
But fast-forward almost 40 years later and this method is anything but popular. In fact, this treatment actually can be known for throwing homeowners into an all-out frenzy. There are blog posts galore on how to remove them ASAP, and our favorite home renovation shows oftentimes denounce them too. Somewhere down the line, popcorn ceilings have become high up on the undesirable list, but why?
As someone who currently has a few popcorn ceilings in my own 1940s home, I have to say I’ve never been particularly bothered by them (and truth be told, I’m generally a picky person!). So, after some contemplating on how this could be, I’ve gathered the top five reasons why popcorn ceilings actually aren’t all that bad, despite the media hype. And if you are in the same popcorn-boat as me, these reasons might help you to see that popcorn ceilings just aren’t as bad as they seem!
1. Popcorn ceilings are easily transformed by paint.
A coat of paint can do wonders for your walls, so why not apply this same truth to your popcorn ceilings? If their appearance is bothersome to you and removing them isn’t a current option, find a gorgeous white hue and go to work. You’ll be amazed at how much this will brighten up the texturized surface, making it appear less clumpy and a lot more chic.
2. Lighting can make a huge difference.
Oftentimes popcorn ceilings get a bad reputation because of the shadows they tend to create in a room. If this darker contour is what you are concerned about, simply switch up the lighting. Adding in a downward ceiling fixture (like a chandelier or pendant) will instantly cast a gorgeous glow. If that isn’t an option, just be sure to avoid any lighting options that are flush with the ceiling, as this will only add to the shadowy effect.
3. Popcorn ceilings add charm.
If you live an older home, chances are that you’re surrounded by tons of charming interior details and accents. From adorable built-ins, to authentic brass doorknobs, these original features create an abode that’s one-of-a-kind. So, why do popcorn ceilings have to be any different? You can choose to see it as a negative, or you can instead see the popcorn ceilings as another endearing quality of an older, but still very delightful, home.
4. Ceilings aren’t typically a focal point, anyway.
Can you describe exactly what your best friend’s ceiling looks like, or your mom’s? Probably not. Ceilings aren’t usually the first design element people notice after entering a room, so why stress over something that will most likely go unnoticed? If you want to guarantee your guests aren’t tempted to look up, add in a bold area rug or large piece of art to distract their eyes.
5. Popcorn ceilings aren’t permanent.
At the end of the day, these ceilings aren’t even permanent! You can simply hire a professional to scrape them whenever you’re ready for a reno. Or, as mentioned earlier, there are also plenty of helpful DIY tutorials if you wanted to take on the project yourself. Either way, the option to eventually change your popcorn ceilings is always there, so don’t let this smaller detail turn you away from a home that you otherwise love. And in the meantime, try to embrace them!
5 Ways to Recreate the Tropics in Your Home Decor
Bring in the fabulous rush of flowers, foliage and island colours to recreate the tropics in your home
Expert inputs from interior designers Sulaxmi Laud and Reshma Chhabria
The idea is to lift the visual weight that reigns in many homes in the form of heavy drapery and thick carpets. “Roll up the rugs and put them away,” Reshma Chhabria says. Shun the sturdy oak and rosewood doors and furniture and work at creating a sense of light and airiness. You can make use of sheers at the windows, and bring in the lighter-toned woods like elm for an upbeat feel. “If you want softness underfoot, opt for all-natural fibres like tatami, sea grass or sisal. The walls are best left bare, save for a fresh coat of white paint that will maximise the flow of light. For instance, in furnishings, mosquito netting draped over your canopy bed, or thin linen draperies fluttering beside French doors, will feel cool and lightweight,” she says. This helps in building up the mood of soothing calm and breeziness that you associate with the tropics.
Tip: Play up the use of natural fabrics like linen and cotton. You can introduce a refreshing variety in textures by opting for wicker or jute for blinds, chair covers, and so on.
Welcome nature into your home with the vitality and soothing feel of greenery. A terrace garden, potted plants along the kitchen window, wall inserts or even huge planters at the entrance of your home can bring a feel of being surrounded by nature’s bounty. “You can choose potted plants for corners and shelves, and terrariums as centre pieces or even on the walls. Group together an Aspidistra elatior (cast-iron plant), an Anthurium, a Dieffenbachia or that old stalwart, the Ficus tree. Even a single Amaryllis bloom can have a luminous, magical effect,” Chhabria says .
When you bring in the beautiful chaos of greenery, it is best to opt for clean lines in furniture to keep a balance in the space.
Tip: “Larger plants can be used in open places to highlight a particular area, to create a division or to bring in the illusion of lushness. Smaller plants can be used to pepper the space with colour, with the use of innovative/decorative planters, and to create smaller focus points,” Chhabria suggests.
Think sea green, aquamarine, turquoise, white and green for accents. Nothing succeeds better than pops and bursts of island colours in putting a spring in your step at home.
Treat your home as a canvas and lay on the colours against white or neutral walls. “You simply cannot go wrong with white, cream, and taupe on the walls with splashes of bold prints such as banana leaves and colourful flowers to pleasantly accent the look,” the designer says.
“Choose more soothing, organic hues like sandy tones for the kitchen. Whites, creams, and tan bring in a timeless, airy feel,” Chhabria advises. They aid eye movement and bring in a sense of fluidity to the spaces. The idea is to create a soothing environment. “Try and use these colours in a more casual area of the house, somewhere the entire family unwinds and relaxes,” Sulaxmi Laud says.
Tip: Make it count. Whether it is a bright throw, an accent pillow or a picture frame – tiny details add up to create a bigger, beautiful picture. “For a more playful look in the bedrooms, introduce aquamarines, pale blues and lime greens,” says Laud. “For a classy appeal, team up tropical prints with deep, rich jewel tones.”
See more ways to use colours in your home
The tropics spell sunshine, so bring in as much natural light as possible to visually open up the areas of your home and add to the airy, expansive vibe. Sunshine also brings out the joyousness of colours.
Tip: Make adroit use of mirrors on the walls and the right sort of lights to help liven up spaces. “No white light for the evenings; it has to be pools of beautiful golden hue, created using strategically placed lamps,” Laud says. The idea is to amplify the spaces as the mention of the tropics brings to mind unending expanses and rambling spaces.
Unify the décor through flowing lines and natural forms. Patterns are the easiest and the most striking way of ushering in the feel of the tropics. Foliage prints work very well. You could choose either upholstery or wallpaper in this kind of print. Remember, super-sized prints dwarf a small space. “You can bring in hand-crafted ceramics to soften the scheme’s clean-lined emphasis, and splash out on a couple of coconut palm, mother-of-pearl and shell-based home accessories. Hang some botanical prints like palm-leaf patterns or banana leaves, or prints of seascapes to capture that feeling of a day on the beach,” says Chhabria
Cushions are an easy way to bring in these prints. For the more adventurous, a highlight wall with a palm-printed wallpaper works wonders. Choose smaller prints for the kitchen if you opt for patterns in the kitchen as opposed to solid colours.
Tip: Avoid a tropical overdose: you might not want to live in a tropical jungle 24×7. Maintain one main focal point in the decor with several small flanking features in accessories.