How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Every Room in Your House

How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Every Room in Your House

We asked the experts for their no-fail picks.

Committing to a new paint color is scary. We asked a group of pros to share their go-to hues—from soft and soothing to rich and splashy—so that you can find the ideal one for every room.

How to Choose the Perfect Paint Color for Every Room in Your House Chart

graphic by Katie Field

Paint pricing: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior, $50 a gallon; Regal Select Exterior, $52 a gallon • Sherwin-Williams Harmony Interior, from $51 a gallon • Farrow & Ball interior paint, $95 a gallon • Dunn-Edwards Everest interior paint, from $42 a gallon • Valspar Reserve interior paint, from $42 a gallon; Reserve exterior paint, from $46 a gallon

Where to buy them: Wool Skein by Sherwin-Williams, Wickham Gray by Benjamin Moore, Mink by Benjamin Moore, Chocolate Candy Brown by Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore, Shining Knight by Dunn-Edwards, Precious Pearl by Dunn Edwards, Amazing Gray by Sherwin-Williams, Heartthrob by Sherwin-Williams, Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, Simply White by Benjamin Moore, Dovetail by Sherwin-Williams, Rainwashed by Sherwin-Williams, Apple Blossom by Benjamin Moore, Glass Slipper by Benjamin Moore, Prussian Cadet by Valspar, Tan Whirl by Dunn-Edwards

10 of the Most Popular Tiny Houses of the Year Let’s just say, you really like mini porches.


Even though small homes are all the rage, they’re not for everyone. After all, it takes some serious creativity and design skills to make a couple of hundred square feet feel like the Taj Mahal. But these top 10 mini abodes piqued your interest this year and we’ll go so bold as to say we bet they even made you consider going tiny.

1This Aboriginal carving-covered home.

tiny house


The Esk’et Tiny House is located in Canada and, even though it’s only 280 square feet, it includes a luxe fireplace to help keep the homeowners warm during harsh winters.

2 This festive green cottage.

tiny house


In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is this whimsical cottage (courtesy of Sit With Me In My Garden!) which transforms into Santa’s workshop during winter, thanks to peppermint balls and candy canes galore.

3 This Hampton’s artist retreat.

tiny house


Nestled in Sag Harbor is this small, 600-square-foot cottage, which is the ultimate artist escape for writing, painting and anything else your creative mind might enjoy.


4This tiny home with a giant kitchen.


If you need proof that you can live big in a small space, here it is: The blogger behind My Empty Nest hosted Thanksgiving dinner in her Sherwood, Oregon, house last year.

5 This cheery little cottage.


It’s amazing how much happiness this 260-square-foot home fits into its mini frame — from the wraparound porch to the yellow and red palette to the Northern California coastline location.

6 This real-life snow globe.


If you want to witness winter’s wonders, but stay cozy and warm, look no further than this 160-square-foot home known as the Escape Vista.


7 This home that boasts a front porch.


Dough Schroeder of Timbercraft Tiny Homes in Guntersville, Alabama, built this 150-square-foot house in a way that totally maximizes what little space it offers, including space for you and a guest at night.

8 This high-end designer’s abode.


This sleek home designed by New Frontier Tiny Homes features all of the latest design trends, including a farmhouse sink, shiplap and subway tile in just about 200-square-feet.

9 This emerald beauty.


Tiny Heirloom makes mini homes that are all about the details, starting with this Granny Smith apple-colored door and ending with an interior that can be custom-made depending on your lifestyle.


10This guest-friendly abode.

Update From:

26 Essential Items for Your Home Repair Tool Kit


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Utility knife: Break down boxes, open packaging, sharpen pencils, and more with a simple utility knife.
  7. 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.
  8. Super glue: Glue porcelain pieces back together, fix a drawer, complete arts and crafts projects, fix shoes, repair sunglasses, and more.
  9. Wrench: Invaluable for plumbing jobs, get a medium sized slip joint pair of pliers and an adjustable wrench.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Putty knife: Scrape away loose paint, apply wall patching compound, and more with a stiff bladed putty knife.
  13. 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.
  14. Clamps: Hold pieces of wood tightly together, keep items in place while glue dries, and more.
  15. 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.
  16. Level: Make sure every photo you hang is straight across with a level. You can also use it for precision woodworking and other projects.
  17. Pry bar: Remove nails, flooring, and more with a pry bar.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Circular saw: This versatile power tool is helpful in practically any woodworking project.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Mask: Protect your lungs from debris and fumes with a mask.
  26. Ear plugs: Using power tools can get loud, so it’s smart to use a pair of ear plugs for safety.

Update From:

What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Home Owners’ Insurance Rates


Home owners’ insurance is necessary coverage for every home. But this necessary coverage can also be unnecessarily expensive if you’re not careful. Insurance rates can be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including your credit score, the local fire station, even the pool or trampoline in your back yard. And you could be paying too much for your home owners’ insurance if you have factors that raise your insurance rates.

In this resource, you’ll learn everything you need to know about home owners’ insurance rates. You’ll find out how much most home owners pay for their insurance, common claims and how much they usually cost insurers, and how often home owners submit claims. But more importantly, you can learn what insurers look at when determining your insurance rates, including factors that can raise your rates. Plus, you’ll find tips for what you can do to reduce the cost of your home owners’ insurance rates.

Home Owners’ Insurance By the Numbers

Home owners’ insurance is a $70 billion dollar premium industry in the United States. Nearly every American home has a home owners’ insurance policy and most home owners will pay about $1,000 per year for insurance coverage. Want to know more? Check out these statistics on home owners’ insurance.

  • Almost every home in America is insured. 95 percent of homes in the United States are insured. Mortgage companies typically require that home owners maintain a quality home insurance policy for the life of the loan. (Enhance Insurance)
  • On average, Americans pay $1,096 in annual home owners’ insurance premiums. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Florida home owners pay the highest home owner’s insurance premiums at an annual rate of $2,115. In fact, most of the Gulf Coast region pays higher home owners’ insurance premiums than the rest of the country. Texas home owners pay an average of $1,837 (ranked second), Louisiana home owners pay an average of $1,822 (ranked third), and Mississippi home owners pay an average of $1,395 (ranked fifth). (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Home owners in northern states and the Midwest tend to pay less for home owners’ insurance. Idaho home owners pay the lowest at $561, Oregon home owners pay an average of $568, and Utah home owners pay an average of $609. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Home owners that live in an area with significant storms will pay more for home insurance. Areas with significant storm activity pay about 2 percent more on average for home owners’ insurance. (Peachstate Insurance)
  • Home owners’ insurance rates typically go up each year. In recent years, they have increased by five percent or more. In 2012, rates increased 5.6 percent, while they went up 6 percent in 2013. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Even as rates go up, home owners may not be paying enough. 64 percent of homes are under insured. (Enhance Insurance)
  • Most home owners do not file a claim on home owners’ insurance in any given year. In 2014, only 5.3 percent of insured homes had a claim. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Property damage is the most common type of claim, accounting for 97.3 percent of home owners’ insurance claims in 2014. This figure includes theft. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Fire, lightning, and debris removal is the most severe claim, averaging $39,791 per claim. Bodily injury and property damage is the next most severe at $20,453 per claim. Wind and hail, water damage and freezing, and all other property damage are typically well under $10,000. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Wind and hail claims are the most often submitted claims with a frequency of 3.13. Water damage and freezing have a frequency of 1.86, and all other property damage has a frequency of .99. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • About 2.1 million burglaries occur in the United States each year and 74.5 percent of them are residential. Burglaries typically have an average property loss of $2,230. (Ameriprise Financial)
  • About one in 15 insured homes has a claim each year. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Lighting strikes are not as rare as you might think. About one in 265 homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning each year. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual are the top three writers of home owners’ insurance by direct premiums written. Combined, these three insurance companies make up more than 35 percent of the market share. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Poisoning is by far the leading cause of unintentional injury death at home, making up 51.4 percent of claims. Falls (29.4 percent) and flames or smoke (3.5 percent) are the next highest. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Hail storm damage can reach up to $1 billion annually, though a particularly damaging Kansas City hail storm in 2001 caused $2 billion in damage. Home owners who live in locations where hail storms and tornadoes are prevalent pay more for their home owners’ insurance coverage. In face, in Colorado, about half of home owners’ insurance premiums go to coverage against hail and tornadoes. (Insurance QnA
  • Most fire related home owners’ insurance claims start in the kitchen. Each year, an average of 154,7000 homes are damaged by fires using cooking equipment, adding up to $724 million in damages each year. (Insurance QnA
  • Water leaks in homes account for about 23 percent of all property losses suffered by home owners. Leaks and water damage are primarily caused by freezing pipes and plumbing failures. Up to 93 percent of damage caused by leaks could be avoided with a system in place to detect leaks. (Insurance QnA

How Insurers Determine How Much You Should Pay for Home Owners’ Insurance

When determining your rate for home owners’ insurance, insurance companies look at a number of different factors that can indicate the potential for loss, cost to remedy losses, and more. These include:

  • The size of your home, specifically square footage, as well as any additional structures such as a garage
  • Home construction, materials, and home features including roof type
  • Age of the home including the age of home systems including plumbing, HVAC, and electrical
  • Number of people living in the home
  • Location of the home factoring in the likelihood of damage due to a disaster such as hurricane, tornado, hail, wind, or wildfire
  • Neighborhood crime rates
  • Coverage level
  • Replacement cost including local building cost
  • Fire protection
  • Pets

Factors That Can Increase Your Home Owners’ Insurance Rates

While basic factors look at pretty broad information, there are other factors that may seem insignificant, but can dramatically increase your home owners’ insurance rates. And while something like the breed of your dog or the trampoline in your backyard may not seem like a factor that can make you pay more for home owners’ insurance, the fact is that they can and they will.

Filing a Claim

It hardly sounds fair that you could be asked to pay more for your insurance simply for using it, but that’s the reality of home owners’ insurance. Insurers know that policy holders who have made a claim in the past are likely to make another claim in the future.

A history of frequent insurance claims — whether on your home owners’ insurance, auto, or other insurance coverage — can raise your home owners’ insurance premiums significantly. You may be subject to an increase or even a non renewal or cancellation of your policy if your insurer determines that you represent too much of a risk.

This shouldn’t scare you off from filing an insurance claim if you truly need it. Dealing with $20,000 in hail damage is tough to swallow and you shouldn’t fear making a claim for major losses, especially if you rarely file claims at all and you’re an otherwise upstanding policy holder. But think twice about making multiple claims, especially small ones, within the same year or even few years. Insurers typically raise rates in policy holders with a history of frequent insurance claims, not those who infrequently make claims when it’s really worth it.

Calling About a Claim

Home owners may not be surprised to find out that filing a claim can raise insurance rates. But even if you simply call and decide not to file a claim, your rates could go up.

Consider this situation: your home is damaged and you’re not sure whether it’s covered on your policy. You call your insurance company to find out, but decide not to file a claim because your coverage is lower than your deductible. You may consider the matter closed, but your insurance company does not.

The query is likely to be recorded with details of the damage, even if you make no claim. The damage will likely be reported to your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report, which is similar to a credit report for insurance. Queries typically stay on your CLUE report for seven years.

While a single phone call should not cause a problem for your insurance rates and ability to obtain insurance, more than a few can be troublesome. If insurers see a number of queries on damages, you could face a higher premium at renewal or even a non renewal of your policy.

Owning an Expensive Home

It should be no surprise that owning an expensive home will cost you more when it comes to home owners’ insurance rates. Everything costs more in an expensive home — and that means insurers will have to pay more to repair or replace your home than they would a more modestly priced home. The more expensive a home is, the more it will cost to insure.

Your Credit Score

In most states, insurance companies are allowed to use your credit history when determining rates for home owners’ insurance. Your credit score reflects your responsibility and how well you pay your bills. Insurance companies know there is a strong connection between people who responsibly pay their bills and those who make a claim. Typically, home owners with a good credit score are less likely to make a claim, while a policy holder who is behind on bills may be more likely to file a claim. Home owners with bad credit scores may pay rates that are double that of home owners with good credit scores, so this factor can be significant.

The Age of Your Home and Materials

As your home gets older, particularly your roof, materials can become more susceptible to damage and deterioration. Newer homes tend are often easier to repair and less subject to damage. And new homes have newer systems, such as plumbing that’s less likely to break down and cause water damage. They may also be built to higher construction standards than older ones. Older homes may be more costly to repair not just because they’re more susceptible to damage, but because they may need to be repaired with materials that can be difficult to find. Insurers know that this may make replacement costs go up, so your home owners’ insurance premiums will rise as well.

Home Remodeling

Improving your home adds to the value of your home. And when the value of your home increases, so does the cost to replace it. Home owners’ insurance companies will take into account that after a major renovation project, it will be more expensive to rebuild your home to its current state in case of a loss. This can lead to an increase in your home owner’s insurance premium — but your home won’t be under insured.

Recreational Equipment

Owning a pool, tree house, or trampoline is fun, but these pieces of recreational equipment can also be dangerous. You may be held liable if anyone is injured or dies while using the equipment on your property — and it doesn’t matter if you gave them permission or not. Simply owning this equipment can make your home owners’ insurance premiums increase.

Home Based Businesses

Typically home owners’ insurance coverage is limited to personal property with very limited coverage for business equipment. If you work from home or have a business based out of your home, you may need additional coverage. And if you have customers come to your home to conduct business, you could have liability and property loss risks not covered by your home owners’ policy. This may require you to add an endorsement or separate business policy for your home.

Ownership of a Potentially Aggressive Dog

In the first half of 2012, one out of three home owners’ insurance liability claims was for a dog bite. Due to rising medical costs related to the treatment of dog bites, the cost of this claim continues to rise. Insurance providers may hesitate to provide home owners’ insurance coverage, or raise rates, for home owners with dogs including wolf hybrids, huskies, malamutes, German shepherds, chows, rottweilers, and pit bulls. However, some states prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on the breed of pets.

Living Too Far from a Fire Station

Insurers want to know that if there’s a fire in your home, the fire department can get there quickly to put it out before your home burns down and becomes a total loss. If you live more than five miles from a fire station, you may be subject to higher home owners’ insurance rates. Insurers also want to know how well your local fire department can handle emergencies, so they’ll look into whether you have a professional or volunteer department as well as fire district ratings when determining your home owners’ insurance rate.

Owning a Vacation Home

Vacation homes are typically more expensive to insure. It hardly seems fair, but insurance companies know that if you’re not spending a lot of time in your home, you’re less likely to be able to spot problems before they become serious issues that would warrant a claim. Burglars are more likely to hit a mostly unoccupied vacation home, and water leaks may go unnoticed for weeks or months. If you’re renting your home out with a service like AirBnB, don’t plan on renting it out for more than 90 days a year. Once you cross that threshold, your vacation home is considered a business and you may not be covered for claims on the property under your personal home owners’ insurance policy.

Neighborhood Crime

If you live in a high crime area, or your neighborhood has been recently targeted by burglars, your insurance company will probably be justifiably nervous about potential burglaries in your home. Property damage claims related to theft are one of the most common home owners’ insurance claims, and if you show an increased risk of this claim, your rates will be increased accordingly.

Lapses in Policy

If you don’t renew your insurance coverage and let your policy lapse, insurers could see that as a sign of risk and subsequently charge you more for your home owners’ insurance premiums. It’s a good idea to pay your premiums on time and keep your insurance coverage current.

How to Reduce Your Home Owners’ Insurance Rates

While some factors that raise your home owners’ insurance rates are beyond your control, like burglaries in your neighborhood, or the age of your home, there are some factors where you can make smart changes to save on your rates. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your home owners’ insurance premiums, try out these tips.

  • Maintain a good credit rating: Insurance companies typically use credit information when determining rates for home owners’ insurance. If you have a poor credit rating, you could end up paying more for your home owners’ insurance. Protect your credit by paying bills on time, only using the credit you need, and keeping balances low. It’s a good idea to regularly check your credit report to identify problems and report any inaccuracies that may be taken into account with insurers.
  • Don’t file small claims: Home owners’ insurance is for major incidents, not wear and tear. If your deductible is $500, don’t bother filing a claim or even calling about $750 in property damage. It’s just not worth the potential increase in rates. Save your claims for when you really need them, like a hail storm that takes out your brand new roof.
  • Make your home as fire proof as possible: Add a fire sprinkler and fire alarm to your home and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy. It also helps if you live near a fire station, and it’s best if the fire service is professional rather than volunteer staffed.
  • Install disaster resistance measures: Installing storm shutters, retrofitting your home for an earthquake, or buying stronger roofing materials can better prepare your home to stand up against serious disasters. Some insurance companies will lower your premiums if you make these improvements to your home and lower their risk.
  • Get a home security system: Burglaries and fires make up a significant portion of claims home insurance companies have to pay out every year, so if you take steps to mitigate losses from fire or burglary, you may be rewarded with a significant discount. Using a burglar alarm, smoke detector, or dead bolt locks can result in a discount of up to 20 percent on your home owners’ insurance premiums. Additional discounts may be available for homes with an alarm that is connected to police, fire, or other monitoring stations.
  • Ask about special discounts: Home owners’ insurance companies may have discounts available that you’re not aware of, such as special rates for retirees of employees of certain companies.
  • Update your home’s systems: Older homes are often charged more for home owners’ insurance because their systems are more likely to break down and cause a problem, such as a roof that is significantly damaged during a hail storm, or old pipes that burst and flood your home with water. If you update systems including your air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and roof, be sure to tell your insurance company, as you may get a break on your home owners’ insurance rates.
  • Get a security inspection: Many insurers will offer you a discount if you work with your local police department or constable to make security improvements to your home. An officer can come out to your home, inspect it, and make recommendations for improving your security. You can then make those changes and get another inspection and submit the report to your insurer for a discount.
  • Carry a higher deductible: Home owners’ insurance is really just for significant losses, even disasters. That means you probably shouldn’t go through your insurance company to handle a $500 window fix, for example. But a major leak that causes $10,000 or more in damage is worth a claim. If you’re able to raise your deductible to $1,000 or higher, you will typically save on your monthly home owners’ insurance premium. And you’ll also be less tempted to file small claims that could put you at risk of a higher premium in the future — or even non renewal of your policy.
  • Stay current on premiums: Pay your premiums on time and maintain continuous coverage, avoiding lapses in coverage, to indicate to insurers that you’re a responsible home owner.
  • Shop around annually: When it’s time to renew your policy, consider your coverage, property value, and current situation. It’s a good idea to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. And by shopping around and asking for quotes from multiple insurance companies, you could save significantly on your premiums. Be sure to compare apples to apples, looking at the same coverage and deductible levels. And don’t forget to ask about multi policy discounts and other ways they can help you lower your premiums for home owners’ insurance.
  • Investigate prior losses before you buy a home: If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, you should know that claims made before you buy the home can influence your rates. A home with multiple claims within a few years may be labeled as risky regardless of who is living in it. And if there are unresolved issues, you could be stuck paying higher rates. When buying a home, ask for a copy of the home’s loss history report with disclosure statements to get a record of the claims filed within the past five years.
  • Talk directly to an agent: It’s convenient to apply for coverage online, but an insurance agent can really help you get the best deal. Speak with a licensed insurance agent to discuss your needs. They can help you get the right amount of protection and even identify discounts that you might not have been aware of otherwise. You can also talk to them about potential scenarios you want to investigate, like how much you might save if you update aging home systems like a roof that’s more than 15 years old.
  • Take advantage of multi policy discounts: While it’s a good idea to shop around for the best rate on your home owners’ insurance policy, keep in mind that it can pay to combine your auto and home insurance, even life insurance. Most companies will take up to 15 percent off of your premium for buying two or more policies from them. Of course, you should make sure that the combined price of your policies including discounts will be lower than getting each coverage from separate companies.
  • Maintain your policy: Insurance companies love loyal customers and often reward long term policy holders with a reduction in your premiums. Loyalty discounts typically kick in around three years and may increase after six years or more.
  • Complete a home inventory: While a home inventory may not help you save on home owners’ insurance premiums, it can help you to more accurately recover losses. Only about 50 percent of home owners have prepared an inventory of their possessions to document losses. Your home inventory should include a list of your belongings along with video or photo evidence. Record model or serial numbers, keep receipts for purchases of value, and remember to record upgrades to your home as well.

Update From:

Choice Home Warranty Named to the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll.


Choice Home Warranty’s Fifth Consecutive Year on the Inc. 5000

Edison, NJ — Choice Home Warranty is once again honored to be a part of the Inc. 5000. For five consecutive years, Choice Home Warranty has been among Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America.

Choice Home Warranty is ranked #922, breaking the top 1,000 for 2016. Inc. ranked Choice Home Warranty based on the company’s 433 percent three year growth.

In its fifth year on the Inc. 5000 list, Choice Home Warranty is now on the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll. Ranked #12 for insurance companies, Choice is joined by leaders including Chelsea Financial Group, E-Telequote Insurance, Honor Capital, and Connect Assistance. Choice is also #22 for top New Jersey companies, again among Chelsea Financial Group as well as MP Consulting Services, Eduficcient, and Capital Advance Solutions.

The Inc. 5000 is a ranking of America’s fastest growing private companies. Choice Home Warranty is proud to once again be a leader among America’s most inspiring small businesses and entrepreneurs enjoying significant growth and success.

“Choice Home Warranty takes pride in joining the Inc. 5000 for a fifth year,” said Choice Home Warranty President Victor Mandalawi. “We continue to grow and innovate in home warranty service. Our ongoing success is a testament to our valued customers who support us year after year. Choice Home Warranty is proud to serve home owners every day and be a leader in home warranty services.”

Update From:

40 Important Exterior Home Maintenance Tasks


Interior tasks like changing air conditioner filters, painting walls, cleaning cabinets, and cleaning appliances are often easy to remember, but it’s important that you don’t forget to take care of your home’s exterior maintenance as well. Keeping up with exterior maintenance is critical to your home’s long term health. With good exterior maintenance, you can protect your home from the elements, keeping moisture, pests, rot, and decay out of your home. From inspecting your roof to patching up gaps, pressure washing your exterior, and fixing cracks in concrete, these important exterior maintenance tasks are important for keeping your home in great shape year round.

Update From:

56 Home Improvement Blogs to Inspire You


If you live in a house, there’s a good chance you want to improve it. Whether you’re eyeing a new countertop for the kitchen or just can’t wait to tear out some old tile in the bathroom, practically every home owner has a remodeling itch that’s just begging to be scratched.

Of course, if you’re short on ideas, or simply need help bringing your home improvement desires into reality, the blogosphere has plenty of resources for you to use. Find detailed tutorials, inspiring projects, product recommendations, and more in our list of the best home improvement blogs online:

  1. The Ugly Duckling House: Sarah at The Ugly Duckling House enjoys tearing her house apart and putting it back together again. Find out about her latest projects on the blog.
  2. Curbly: Love where you live with Curbly’s projects. You’ll discover DIY ideas, hacks, makeovers, tips, and more. See how it’s done and get ideas for your home.
  3. Bob Vila: Bob Vila has been a trusted name in home improvement for decades. Find must do seasonal projects, how tos, answers, and creative ideas from Bob Vila’s network on this blog.
  4. Hammer and Moxie: Discover Hammer and Moxie’s honest look at home improvement to get inspired to create in your own home. You’ll see their successes and mishaps along the way for a relatable view of home improvement.
  5. Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy features home tours, home design ideas, and home improvement projects. Perfect for condo owners or small house living.
  6. IKEA Hackers: Find ideas for hacking your home with IKEA products on this helpful blog. Discover furniture ideas, decor, and more.
  7. Remodelaholic: Remodelaholic uses creative ideas to remodel on a tight budget. You’ll see how to reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose, and more in your home while making it beautiful.
  8. Shelteriffic: Find hundreds of ideas for home design, products, tips, and more for home improvement on Shelterriffic.
  9. Pretty Handy Girl: Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl encourages home owners to become do it yourselfers with detailed tutorials that make it easy to take on your own projects. Ladies are especially encouraged to follow along and take on their own projects.
  10. One Project Closer: Read what professional remodelers have to say about making your home your dream home on this project blog. Your next project is one project closer to the home you’re wishing for.
  11. Charles & Hudson: On Charles & Hudson, you’ll see highlights from the best in design, DIY, smart homes, and more.
  12. Remodelista: Follow home improvement and design trends, home spotlights, product recommendations, and more on Remodelista.
  13. Houzz: An excellent resource for all things home, you’ll find an endless source of ideas for remodeling and home improvement on the Houzz blog. Lots of photos, design highlights, and other great resources are available on Houzz.
  14. Young House Love: Sherry and John of Young House Love have fixed up three homes and share thousands of home projects on their blog. Now, they have a book, product lines, and an endless array of ideas and home improvement projects for home owners to discover.
  15. DIY Diva: Farmer and experienced DIYer Kit tears houses apart and puts them back together again. Follow along as she shows you how you can do it, too.
  16. Retro Renovation: Check out this blog to see how you can remodel your home with vintage, mid-century style.
  17. Homey Improvements: See how James and Alicia are making their house more homey on the Homey Improvements blog.
  18. DIY Show Off: View DIY before and afters, home tours, and more on DIY Show Off. This is a great place to see how real people are making their homes better.
  19. Design*Sponge: A leader in home style blogging, Design*Sponge is a great resource for spotting home trends and discovering new home improvement projects.
  20. Old House Web: Check out the Old House Web blog to learn about historic preservation, affordable decor, remodeling, and more.
  21. Home Jelly: Discover home improvement projects that will leave you jealous — and inspired — on Home Jelly.
  22. Real Simple: A favorite source for home organization, Real Simple also offers great ideas for decorating, maintenance, repairs, and more.
  23. Interior Design: See the latest in interior projects, products, and trends on
  24. DIY Network: The popular TV channel also has a very helpful, up to date blog with seasonal ideas, maintenance, and trends.
  25. Home Adore: Find home highlights, inspiring projects, design, interesting architecture, and other home improvement updates on Home Adore.
  26. Southern Living home: Southern Living’s home section offers a style guide, house plans, and room by room inspiration.
  27. Freshome: Freshome features the latest news on design and architecture with best of highlights and more.
  28. House & Home: See home tours, smart updates, holiday style, decorating ideas, and project guides on House & Home.
  29. Ty Pennington: Famous for home design, Ty Pennington’s blog shares design updates and inspiration.
  30. Good Housekeeping: A classic resource for all things home, Good House Keeping has endless home ideas.
  31. Traditional Home: View renovation projects, home showcases, decorating ideas, and even room planning guides on Traditional Home.
  32. The Money Pit: Money Pit hosts Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete help to make good homes better. They offer resources for home remodeling, repairs, and improvements.
  33. BuzzFeed DIY: Follow BuzzFeed DIY to find trending home projects and more.
  34. Popsugar Home: Popsugar Home features decorating advice, helpful restoration tips, small space living, and endless inspiration.
  35. Urban Gardens: Read the Urban Gardens blog to find out how you can squeeze a garden into even the smallest living space.
  36. Design Notes: The Design Within Reach blog features updates on architecture, design, people, and culture.
  37. Unclutterer: Get more order into your life on Unclutterer, the ultimate blog for home organization.
  38. GoodHomes: GoodHomes features decorating tips, real home features, even competitions for home improvement.
  39. Centsational Girl: Centsational Girl, also known as Kate, specializes in renovation, decoration, and do it yourself projects on a budget.
  40. How to Plant: Planning the perfect backyard garden? This blog has guides for planting everything from knockout roses to fruit trees.
  41. Nesting Place: Nesting Place encourages home owners to love the home you’re with. Embrace the imperfect on this blog.
  42. DIY Inspired: DIY Inspired blogger Dinah features ideas for gardening, trash to treasure, seasonal projects, and more.
  43. Home Energy Blog: Find out how you can improve your home’s performance and environmental efficiency on this blog.
  44. Family Handyman: Well known as a popular home improvement magazine, The Family Handyman shares excellent DIY project guides, seasonal reminders, and tips on this blog.
  45. LOFT Home Blog: Discover interior design inspiration on LOFT Home.
  46. CreateGirl: Specializing in interior design, CreateGirl has great ideas for affordable, easy to buy pieces that will look wonderful in your home.
  47. Wood Magazine: Curious about woodworking? This blog has wood projects, how to guides, reviews, and tips to help you out.
  48. Home DSGN: HomeDSGN features dream homes, interior design, home features, and other excellent inspiration for your next home improvement project.
  49. Decoist: Find design ideas, DIY projects, dream houses, and the latest in design trends on Decoist.
  50. Shanty 2 Chic: One bargain at a time, Shanty 2 Chic offers updates on projects, free plans, and great ideas for the home.
  51. High Fashion Home: Discover product updates, interior design, and more on High Fashion Home.
  52. Make it and Mend it: Make, mend, and update your home with this blog.
  53. Homestead Basics: Learn about homesteading ideas for your family on this blog with the basics.
  54. Tiny House Blog: The Tiny House blog will teach you about living simply in small spaces.
  55. Refresh Restyle: Refresh Restyle offers cleaning tips, seasonal decor ideas, storage ideas, and other refreshing resources for the home.
  56. How to Nest for Less: How to Nest For Less features DIY, home decor, and decorating on a budget.

Update From:

30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value



Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Tip 2: Inspect it.
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Tip 3: Paint, paint, paint.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!
Tip 4: Find inspiration.
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.
Tip 5: Cut energy costs.
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.
Update from:

10 Reasons Why You Should Move to Austin, Texas

It’s officially the top place to be in the United States, according to a new report.


If it seems like everyone and their brother is moving to Austin, Texas, that would be correct. The “Live Music Capital of the World” welcomes around 50 new residents every day, and the state capital is such a hot spot it just earned another title as well. U.S. News & World Report released its 2017 Best Places to Live list today, and none other than Austin won the top honors.

Denver and San Jose rounded out the medal platform, but no city could beat Austin’s quality of life, job market and desirability, among other factors. Still not convinced that Central Texas is the place to be? These 10 reasons will have you packing your bags — and your cowboy boots — ASAP:

1 It’s super cheap.


While buying a home there can cost a pretty penny, the cost of living is actually pretty low, thanks to low state and local tax rates, plus zero personal income tax. According to U.S. News, Austin offers a better overall value than other similarly-sized cities.

2 You won’t miss the country one bit.


With over 250 parks to choose from, there are plenty of green spaces to jog, bike, hike or even kayak, all without leaving city limits.

3 There are two tons of food trucks.


It’s a great excuse to chow down on tacos — or barbecue — every day.


4 Live music is playing everywhere, all the time.


You might have heard of little thing called South by Southwest (President Obama, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen have all stopped by). If not, the PBS show Austin City Limits has documented the jazz, country and folk music heard across the city for over 40 years.

5 Art lovers can go to town.


Between landmarks like the Blanton Museum of Art and the numerous murals across town, there’s an Instagram backdrop wherever you look.

6 It’s full of natural wonders.


Austin is also known as the “City of the Violet Crown,” thanks to its spectacular sunsets.


7 Football fans will be in heaven.


Over a 100,000 people watch the Texas Longhorns on game day, but the city also hosts the annual X Games and Circuit of Americas Formula 1 race.

8 The UT campus is a city in itself.


The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest college campuses in the country (over 50,000 students take classes there!) and it’s home to seven different museums, including the LBJ Presidential Library.

9 The holidays are especially merry.


Every Christmas, a twinkling spectacle called the “Trail of Lights” illuminates the city.