How to Make Your Home a Magnet for Socializing

Your home can be a great place to host social gatherings. It's space you are already familiar with, and you don't have to pay to rent it. Homes can also offer a sense of comfort and being welcomed as a guest that a rental location won't be able to as effectively. If hosting social gatherings at your home is something you want to do, consider designing your home specifically for this purpose.An Open Floor PlanStart by having an open floor plan. Open floor plans can make spaces such as your living room, dining room, and kitchen area more inviting for larger groups of guests. Managing the guest-to-space ratio can be one of the tricky parts of hosting, so you will want to have ways to address that. No one wants to be part of a party where the space is too big for the gathering, so if you are hosting a smaller party, consider using furniture to partition off portions of the room. This can help break up the space so that it fits the size of your gathering.A Kitchen BarUnlike a k…

You Don’t Need a Degree to Make Your Home Smarter

One of the biggest perks of modern life is the convenience that technology affords to consumers. Following the trend toward automation, first with dishwashers, on to climate control, then to lawn care and beyond, living has never been more hassle-free than it is today.
But how do you best use the available technology to enhance the functionality of your own home? Fortunately, you don't need a degree to understand how to employ the latest tech to your advantage in your residence. Read on to discover the latest ways that technology is making modern life more convenient and how you can benefit from it.
Let the Tech Do the JobModern home technology is capable of regulating its own settings so you don't have to worry about manually changing them to fit your preferences. For example, if you like cooler evenings and warmer days, you can set your thermostat to change the temperature from morning to night without the need for you to adjust the settings constantly. Nearly everything ca…

6 Home Renovations That Can Reduce Utility Bills

Do you find yourself staring open-mouthed at your heating and cooling bills all year long? Maybe the problem is not with how much heat or air conditioning you are using, but rather with other issues with your systems or your house itself. There are at least six home renovations that can reduce utility bills and make heating and cooling your home much more cost-effective and affordable.
Replace Heating and Cooling Systems The older your heating and cooling system is, the less efficient it is. Even modern systems become less efficient over time because parts wear out and replacing them does not cure the issue. If your heating and/or cooling system is ten years old or older, consider replacing it now. It is not likely to last another decade, and if it does, your energy bills may rise anyway due to the age of the system. Newer systems are designed to be more efficient.
Solar Panels Solar panels can save you an enormous amount of money on energy bills because you will no longer be paying …

Backyard Upgrades That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

Are you considering a big upgrade to your backyard? If so, one thing many homeowners like to know is what features may give the best return on investment. This involves weighing the cost versus the value added in conjunction with the value your family will get from the feature while still living in the home. Here are some popular backyard features that can bring both great entertainment and value.
Put In a Pool Pools are sometimes seen as a lackluster investment because they can drive off potential buyers concerned about costs or safety. However, a well-maintained pool can actually add quite a bit of value to a home for the right buyer. This can include up to a 25 percent return on the initial investment. Pools are especially great with kids and in warm weather. Just make sure to account for safety. Property owners have a responsibility to create barriers around their pool to prevent children from wandering into it without adult supervision. Pools are a great source of fun and entert…

Signs Your DIY Home Repair Just Got More Complicated

Houses require constant maintenance to make sure everything is in working order. Sometimes, though, the job at hand can be tricky. Before you decide to tackle a home improvement or fix-it job, take the time to see if it is DIY-worthy or a DIY-disaster in the making.
Plumbing Problems Take a clogged drain. It seems like a simple fix, right? Well, if the plunger doesn’t work, pouring that toxic chemical solution down the drain hole ought to do the job. Or not. Some of those chemicals can damage your pipes and still not really remove the clog. Look, if the clog can’t be cleared by plunging or a solution of baking soda and vinegar, call a plumber.
Another issue is low water pressure. If a call to your town’s water division doesn’t solve the mystery and checking for mineral deposits in the faucet’s aerator screen doesn’t either, the best solution is to call a plumber. The bottom line is that if simple fixes don’t work, then the better—and often cheaper—solution is to call a plumber.

How to Make Sure Your Backyard Is Safe for Children

The backyard is one of the best places for children to play in. It lets them breathe in the fresh air and get plenty of exercise. However, contrary to what some people may think, backyards can actually be pretty dangerous. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to make sure your backyard is safe for your children to play in.
Play Equipment One hazard every parent needs to keep an eye on is what their kids are playing on. This includes slides, swing sets, and jungle gyms that are set up. You need to make sure nothing is loose or on the verge of breaking. Even something as simple as a loose screw can cause the playset to break. If one of these structures falls apart while your child is playing on it, it can cause serious injuries. Before letting your child play on it, always check it for any signs of danger.
Plants Faulty playsets aren’t the only danger you need to watch out for. Plants, depending, on the type, should be off-limits to your kids for one of two reasons. Some…

How to Get Your Backyard Ready for Winter

The cold temperatures, relentless winds and heavy snow of winter can wreak havoc on your home's backyard. Getting your backyard ready for winter means more than just removing leaves. Every fall, you should take certain steps to protect your backyard to avoid having to replace plants, buy new lawn furniture and fix broken pipes.
Plants and Flowers Even though your plants and flowers are dormant, they still need care and attention to get them through the winter. You should give each plant a dose of fertilizer to ensure the roots are getting nutrients during the winter. Some plants with delicate root systems should get a thick layer of mulch. Spread around the base of the plant, bark, pine needles, leaves or pecan shells will insulate the roots, helping ensure they survive the cold.

Taking care of your plants and flowers also can protect your home. Trimming trees and shrubs can prevent ants from invading your home, which prevents unwanted problems. It can also prevent rodents from n…