Exclusive! HGTV/DIY Host Matt Blashaw’s Outdoor Lighting Tips and Tricks

You’re probably ready to start relaxing and entertaining outdoors during the day and at night. For the latter, you’ll need strategically placed lighting for safety reasons. But there’s no reason why your lighting can’t be both functional and stylish.

Matt Blashaw. Photo credit Chaz Curr

TV host, landscape expert and realtor Matt Blashaw. Photo: Chaz Curr

Matt Blashaw, the popular HGTV and DIY host of Yard Crashers, Money Hunters and Vacation House For Free, has teamed up with the makers of Philips Hue smart lighting. Freshome asked Blashaw (who is also a landscaping expert and realtor) for some tips to help transform your outdoor spaces with the latest lighting available today.

Lights can help to create the perfect ambiance. Image: Travis Wolfe/Shutterstock

Lights can help to create the perfect ambiance. Image: Travis Wolfe/Shutterstock

Choose the right lighting

“Make sure you use lighting that’s specifically designed to withstand the elements. It should be outdoor-rated,” Blashaw tells Freshome. There are a lot of different types of

Pathway lights serve a variety of functions.
Use a variety of lights to achieve the perfect result. I
Philips Hue Lily.
Make your home a welcoming sight.
Traditional wall lanterns can also add interest to your home's exterior.
Floor your backyard with soft colors.

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Tips for Restoring Your Wood Floors

Hardwood floors have an incomparable beauty and they can add warmth and style to any room. Whether you have a traditional home with architectural details or a modern, industrial space, hardwoods fit right in. That’s why many homeowners even use hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms.

If you’re fortunate enough to have original hardwood floors, consider restoring their original beauty. Below are tips from two hardwood flooring experts to help.

recoat floor

Sometimes, your floors only need a recoating. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Recoat or Refinish?

If your wood floors start to look dull, they can be renewed through recoating. “A maintenance coat involves cleaning the existing floor’s finish, then lightly sanding it,” explains Brett Miller, VP of Education & Certification for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). “After that, you just need an application of a fresh new coat of wood floor finish.”

Miller recommends applying a new coat to your floors

before and after
even color
before and after 2
don't use steam mops
avoid temperature fluctuations

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HGTV’s Andy Williams: Celebrate Father’s Day With the Perfect Man Cave

Andy and Ashley Williams, hosts of HGTV's Flip or Flop Fort Worth.

Andy and Ashley Williams, hosts of HGTV’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth. Image courtesy of Almond Board of California.

Father’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate that special dad who works so hard and always puts family first. What better way to show your appreciation than to start thinking about creating a space that he can call his own: a man cave? This may entail transforming your basement, renovating your garage or even creating usable space in your attic.

Andy Williams of HGTV’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth gave Freshome several great tips to help us all design the perfect man cave.

Expect the man cave to be loud during sporting events.

Expect the man cave to be loud during sporting events. Image: Jon Feingersh Photography/Shutterstock

Creating a sports-themed man cave

When Williams conceptualizes and creates a man cave, he takes the same approach as purchasing a custom suit or a set of golf clubs. “There are so

A sports theme can also be stylish.
A man cave for a Renaissance man.
A tastefully-designed man cave.
You can't go wrong with wood and leather.
Include space for entertaining friends.
A man cave should reflect the cave owner's taste and style.

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Exclusive! The Most Popular Benjamin Moore Colors Across the US

No two individuals are alike. Similarly, each region in the U.S. has distinct styles in fashion, food and music. “These traditions and trademarks permeate all elements of the region’s culture, including into the homes of its residents,” Hannah Yeo, Color & Design Expert at Benjamin Moore, tells Freshome.

In fact, Yeo says Benjamin Moore has been able to spot a geographic design trend in how colors are being used. These are the most popular paint hues in eight cities across the U.S.

white entrance

Benjamin Moore: Simply White. All images courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Los Angeles

“Lighter colors are favored in the interior of the home across the nation and Los Angeles leads this trend,” Yeo says. As a hub for great design, she says white becomes an essential color in this area. “From warm pinkish white to the palest blue — or even the combination of whites —

Black kitchen
Blue attic
Balboa Mist office
Blue door
beige room
Caliente door
gray walls
pink desk area
Navy wall
beach glass walls

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Galley Kitchens: Pros, Cons, and Tips

Whether you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen or searching for a new home and weighing your options, the kitchen setup is extremely important. And if you cook a lot, the layout of this room really matters.

Quite a few homes have galley kitchens — and the owners either love them or want to take a sledgehammer to them. But what is a galley kitchen, and how do you know if this style is right for you? Freshome rounded up several experts to help you understand the pros and cons of a galley kitchen. They also provided tips for designing a galley kitchen that you’ll love. 

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time.

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time. Image: Ran Kyu Park/Getty Images

What is a galley kitchen and why is it used?

“A galley kitchen consists of two parallel runs of units forming a central corridor,” explains Ariel Richardson, a San

You can save money creating a galley kitchen
You can save steps - if it’s not too wide.
In lieu of 2 walls, a galley kitchen can have one wall and one long island.
Two cooks will probably bump into each other.
You might not have a window view.
Make sure appliances will fit correctly.
Add light wherever you can.
Light and open galley kitchen.
You may be able to enlarge the footprint.
Some galley kitchens are quite spacious.

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The Murphy Bed: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

If you need extra sleeping space for guests, futons and sofa beds are two options. But have you ever considered a Murphy bed? They’re extremely comfortable and take up zero floor space when not in use. And you can choose one that complements your room’s design. Here’s what you need to know about Murphy beds.


Murphy beds in multipurpose room.

Murphy beds work well in multipurpose rooms. Image courtesy of Murphybeds.com.

“Murphy beds have been increasing in popularity over the last five years due to smaller living spaces, downsizing and higher real estate values,” says Chelsea Williams, Retail and Internet Sales Manager at Murphybeds.com. “A Murphy bed provides you with the opportunity to have a spare bed without giving up the space for a spare bedroom,” she explains.

Dan Nelson, Principal Architect at Designs Northwest Architects, uses Murphy beds in his designs. “One of the great things about Murphy beds is

Murphy bed in basement
Sofa Murphy Bed
Murphy bed - space
Murphy beds maximize small space

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Designing the Perfect Kids’ Bathroom

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have my own bathroom (actually, it was a Jack and Jill bathroom that I shared with the guest bedroom, but we only had guests for a handful of days out of the year). My bathroom was pink, which my parents thought was an appropriate color for a girl’s bathroom, although pink has never been one of my favorite colors. It was a very pretty but very adult-looking bathroom.

Looking back, I wonder if my parents made the right decision. How should a kids’ bathroom look? Should it reflect their style and personality? And, if it actually looks like a kids’ bathroom, how will this affect resale value? I asked some of the people known for designing bathrooms and selling homes to provide insight on this topic.

Here’s what you need to know.

Make it fun, yet practical

What is an L-shaped Kitchen Layout?

The L-shaped layout is the most popular kitchen configuration, according to the NKBA 2019 kitchen design trends. But what is an L-shaped kitchen layout? We asked a few top experts to explain this layout and provide advice for using it. After all, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the right configuration for you.

L-shaped configuration are immensely popular.

L-shaped configurations are immensely popular. Image: Svet-Feo/Shutterstock

L-shaped kitchen layout options

“The L-shaped design consists of two adjoining, perpendicular walls of cabinets that form a formidable ‘L’ shape,” explains David Shove-Brown, Partner at Washington, D.C.-based boutique design firm //3877. He says its popularity is due to the layout’s adaptability.

“Typically, one side is dedicated to smaller kitchen tasks and acts as home base for the sink and countertop appliances,” Shove-Brown says. “The other ‘wing’ is oriented for larger, more time-intensive activities, holding the range and refrigerator and offering additional storage.”

Exclusive! Houzz 2019 Kitchen Trends

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

The 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study provides insight regarding the most popular kitchen trends in home improvement. The report is unique because it captures the opinions of homeowners, whereas most surveys focus on trends from the perspectives of interior designers, architects, etc.

Also, all respondents were required to meet one of three requirements: either they completed a kitchen remodel or addition in the past 12 months, they were currently working on one or they plan to start one within the next three months.

Below are some interesting tidbits from the report, along with commentary from a Houzz representative.

Would you move out during a kitchen renovation?

Would you move out during a kitchen renovation? Image: sturti/Getty Images

Homeowners are staying put during the renovation

The majority of homeowners are choosing

This kitchen provides spectacular views
Kitchen styles are changing.
Kitchen metals can match perfectly or you can mix them up
 Countertops and backsplashes are popular materials to replace.
Everyone wants a new refrigerator (or two).
White is still the most popular countertop color.
Shades of gray in the cabinets, backsplash, countertops, ceiling, and floors.
Pantry cabinets and a built-in area for pets to eat.
Engineered wood can be used on the floors and cabinets.
Use your hand, wrist or forearm to start or stop the water flow.
Baby boomers are designing to remain in their homes for years to come.
All-Clad Cordless Rechargeable Immersion Blender.

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Kitchen Sinks: How to Choose the Best Style for Your Needs

In terms of functionality, the sink is a vitally important part of your kitchen. It’s an important consideration in the design of your kitchen, and is essential in the hallowed kitchen work triangle.

However, with so many styles to choose from, are homeowners choosing style over function? How can you determine which type of kitchen sink is best for your needs? Freshome asked experts from Kohler, Moen, Delta and Franke Kitchen Systems for tips on understanding the function of various kitchen sink styles.

The aesthetic appeal of the kitchen sink

2 island faucets

When one sink is not enough. Image courtesy of Delta Faucets.

“With the evolving role of the kitchen leading to tasks beyond traditional cooking and cleaning, people are often selecting more secondary sinks,” explains Peggy Gallagher, Senior Product Manager at Delta. When choosing the right sink, Gallagher tells Freshome that there are several factors to consider, but she believes style

kitchen island
red sink
Stainless steel farmhouse sinks are durable and stylish.
blue kitchen
With enough room for 2 faucets, this sink makes prep and clean up fast and easy.
stainless steel
farmhouse sink
wide basin
Keeping your accessories nearby makes prep a lot easier.

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The 10 Commandments of Painting

Who doesn’t love paint? It’s luscious and creamy and comes in every color imaginable. Regardless of the sheen — flat, eggshell, satin or gloss — painting is a great way to either radically or subtly transform your environment.  Your color choices are important because they can either stimulate the senses or create a sense of calm.

However, to achieve the perfect result, you can’t just start painting willy-nilly. Following these 10 commandments of painting can help to ensure success in your selection, prep and paint process.

Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Get inspired before you pick a paint color. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

#1: Never uses swatches as the first step

Resist the impulse to just randomly select a color swatch and start painting. If you start painting on a whim, you may later decide you don’t really like that color. Take the time to figure out what you really like.

“Seek inspiration.

 Image courtesy of PPG Paints
Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore
 Image courtesy of PPG Paints
Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
 Image courtesy of PPG Paints
Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore
Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore
Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore

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National Kitchen & Bath Association 2019 Kitchen Design Trends

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) released its 2019 Kitchen Design Trends report. The report coincided with its annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), celebrating the best in kitchen and bathroom design trends.

The report and the show reveal the most popular styles and features. They also provide indicators of what’s trending for the next three years. This includes information gleaned from professional designers, dealers, specialists, manufacturers, remodelers, general contractors and architects.

Freshome asked Elle H-Millard, Certified Kitchen Designer and Industry Relations Manager at the NKBA, for photos from the designers, and insights regarding the key U.S. kitchen design trends.

Kitchen designed by Philip Nikolich; Photography by Angie Agostino

1st place large luxury kitchen designed by Philip Nikolich. Photography by Angie Agostino. Image courtesy of the NKBA.

The most popular kitchen design styles

“Transitional kitchens have dominated kitchen design and 65% of respondents said they were the most-often preferred kitchen style,” says H-Millard. “That makes

Kitchen designed by Philip Nikolich Photography by Angie Agostino
Kitchen designed by Dvira Ovadia Photography by Valerie Wilcox
Kitchen designed by Dvira Ovadia; Photography by Valerie Wilcox
Kitchen designed by Martin de Sousa Photography by Vincent Lions
A kitchen designed by Dvira Ovadia. Photography by Valerie Wilcox.
Kitchen designed by Madeleine Sloback Photography by Amanda Oster
Kitchen designed by Sarah Robertson; Photographed by Adam Kane Macchia
A kitchen designed by Madeleine Sloback. Photography by Amanda Oster.
A kitchen designed by Philip Nikolich. Photography by Angie Agostino. I
GE CAFE French Door Refrigerator with Keurig K-Cup Single Brewer/GE CAFE Cooktop with Gourmet Guided Technology
Broderick Kitchen Faucet Collection by Delta

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National Kitchen & Bath Association 2019 Bathroom Design Trends

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) released its 2019 Bathroom Design Trends, which coincided with its annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), celebrating the best in kitchen and bathroom design trends.

Freshome has already covered the latest trends in bathroom technology and bathroom faucets. But we asked Elle H-Millard, Certified Kitchen Designer and Industry Relations Manager at the NKBA, for photos and insights regarding some of the other key U.S. bathroom design trends.

Show highlight: the Blade 3D Printed Faucet by DXV

Oculus 3D printed faucet. Image courtesy of DXV

This 3D printed faucet took home Best in Show. Image courtesy of DXV.

The Blade 3D Printed Faucet by DXV garnered a lot of attention at the KBIS. In fact, it won Best in Show. A computer-guided laser beam sinters powdered metal into the shape of the faucet with high heat and pressure. A solid metal block is formed out of the powder, and

Bath designed by Sandra Diaz-Velasco Photography by Eugenio Wilman - Double photo
Powder room designed by Janik Lemery; Photography by Justin Van Leeuwen of JVL Photography
Powder room designed by Janik Lemery; Photography by Justin Van Leeuwen of JVL Photography
Bathroom designed by Nowell Vincent, CKBD; Photography by Chris Reilmann of Chris Reilmann Photography
The TOTO Flotation Tub
Powder room designed by Janik Lemery; Photography by Justin Van Leeuwen of JVL Photography
GRAFF's Camden faucets (left) and SleekStone sinks combine form and function.
Vitromex Conde Porcelain Marble Collection.
The Numi Intelligent Toilet and Konnect app. Image courtesy of Kohler.

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Water Closets: Essential or a Waste of Bathroom Space?

When you’re designing a bathroom, you’re probably going to view the 2019 trends in bathroom technology and the latest faucet trends for inspiration. A water closet is another bathroom feature that is popular among some homeowners — but it’s considered unnecessary by others. So, how do you know if it’s the right choice for your home?

If you’ve never heard of a water closet, Elle H-Millard of the National Kitchen + Bath Association (NKBA) explains, “The water closet is basically a toilet in its own room.” Do you need a toilet in its own room? Let’s find out.


Water toilet privacy

A water closet provides privacy. Image: Sisoje/Getty Images

Nathan Outlaw, President at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA, tells Freshome that he always recommends water closets for master bathrooms. “They help add privacy for the toilet user and allow a spouse to continue to use the bathroom

Water closet stylich
Water toilet and toothbrush
Water closet claustrophobic
Water closet with windows
Water closet sufficient lighting

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Should You Cut Your Grass Weekly?

Few things compare to the beauty of a well-manicured lawn. Studies show that a home’s curb appeal can increase its resale value. You’ll also have a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that your lawn care routine is responsible for the positive results. In addition, there are environmental and health benefits of turfgrass lawns.

Curb appeal can increase your home's resale value.

Curb appeal can increase your home’s resale value. Image: tab1962/Getty Images

However, the health of your lawn is dependent, in part, on proper mowing techniques. So, Freshome asked two lawn care professionals to provide best practices and tips for doing it right.

Mowing frequency

Warm season grasses grow faster in mid-summer.

Warm season grasses grow faster in mid-summer. Images: kurham/Shutterstock

How often should you mow the lawn?  “Many of us have heard the idea of mowing our lawn at least one time per week,” says Dr. Brad DeBels, Director of Operations at Weed Man Lawn Care. As a general rule, he says it’s

Scalping puts your lawn at risk.
Dull blades can also cause scalping.
An example of Kentucky bluegrass mowed at 3 inches.
A higher mowing height contributes to a healthier lawn.
Sharp blades produce a more effective cut.
Clippings are your lawn’s friend.
Repeatedly mowing in a circle around this well well during has caused thinning.

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Exclusive! Chip Wade on Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Before Summer

 Chip Wade

Wade gave us a few tips to execute before summer. Image courtesy of Chip Wade

If you’ve ever watched Chip Wade on HGTV or the DIY Network, you know he’s pretty handy, both inside the house and outdoors. Wade, who is also the Owner and Lead Designer of Wade Works Creative and a Liberty Mutual consultant, specializes in helping homeowners create the perfect indoor and outdoor spaces.

As you can imagine, he’s busy, but Freshome asked him to stop and share a few tips on how to recover from winter and get your home and yard prepped for summer.

Service your air conditioner

You don’t want your A/C breaking down during the dog days of summer.

You don’t want your AC breaking down during the dog days of summer. Image: C5Media/Shutterstock

“I recommend checking out your air conditioning system in the spring to ensure it’s working properly before the weather really warms up,” Wade says. The first step is to change the system’s

Changing filters regularly helps to keep your system running efficiently.
Caulk and weatherstripping can keep your cool air inside.
Caulk and weatherstripping keeps your cool air inside:
Check for leaks or blockages
Inspect outdoor equipment for winter damage.
Prep to enjoy the summer months.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Continue reading “Exclusive! Chip Wade on Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Before Summer”

Inexpensive Ways to Transform Your Countertops

If you hate your countertops — kitchen, bath, bar, or garage — but you’re not ready to pony up the money required to get granite, take heart. There are other alternatives, probably cheaper than the tax you would pay for granite, to transform countertops.

And the news gets even better. You don’t have to be a professional to transform your countertops yourself. We found several products that can make your countertops look a whole lot better with just a minimum amount of effort.

Daich Countertop Finishing Kit


The Daich Countertop Finishing Kit can makeover your kitchen counters. Image courtesy of Daich Coatings.

You’ll need a paint brush or paint roller to use Daich’s products, but don’t let that fool you. “The SpreadStone Mineral Select Countertop Finishing Kit is actually not paint at all. But it is applied with a roller or brush for an easy, paint-like experience,” explains Peter Daich,

Giani marble countertop paint. Image courtesy of Giani

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Arched Doorways Add Interest and Beauty

Straight lines versus curved lines. In a study published in PNAS, participants were more likely to label a room as “beautiful” when it had curves than when it only had straight lines. Straight lines certainly serve a purpose, but they can be formal and predictable. On the other hand, curves add a level of softness and interest. Arched doorways are one way to add soft curves and elegance to any space. Below, we’ve listed some of the ways to use arched doorways in your home.

Highlight entrances and corridors

Archway highlight entrances

Archways highlight entrance areas. Image: EricVega/Getty Images

“When you are refurbishing a historic property, arched doorways are a welcome change and distinguish more important and grand entrances and corridors from mere utilitarian corridors,” says Michael Schienke, Director and Chartered Architect at VORBILD Architecture in London.  However, he doesn’t think this look would work in every type of design. “In new

San Fran
Archway balance
Archways repeating
Archway adds details
Archways frame room

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The Power of Colors: Why Your Color Choices are Important

Do you have a favorite color? Have you ever wondered why you prefer a certain color and how it affects you? “One of the most amazing things about color is its close tie to emotions, making color extremely subjective,” according to Andrea Magno, a color and design expert at Benjamin Moore. “There are so many emotions that color can evoke, many that come from our past experiences or what innately appeals to an individual.” Your color choice can define a space.

“Colors can invoke all our emotions, from happy to sad and love to dislike,” explains Rachel Skafidas, senior color designer at Krylon. Keep reading to discover how your color choice can affect your emotions. We also explore how to incorporate this information in your home.


red room

Caliente, the name of this vibrant red color, stimulates your appetite. Image: Benjamin Moore

There’s a reason why fire engines, fire extinguishers

orange room
blue bathroom
violet room
Gray color choice

Continue reading “The Power of Colors: Why Your Color Choices are Important”

Think You Don’t Have Space for a Home Library? Think Again

If you love to read – or you just love books, whether you actually read them or not – consider creating a home library. Most people who don’t have a home library think that they don’t have enough space. But, by thinking creatively, you can find enough room to house your own books.

You don’t need thousands – or even hundreds – of books, and you don’t need wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor space. Below are some options for finding space to create a library that meets your needs and design aesthetic.

In the dining room

These bookshelves are the focal point

These bookshelves are the dining room’s focal point. Image: Dit26978/Getty Images

Not one, but two interior designers recommend creating a library in your dining room. “Change up the way you think about your home,” says Carolina V. Gentry of Pulp Design Studios. “You don’t have to have a formal dining room if you don’t use it, so make

Dining room
What's better than a good book and a good glass of wine?
cookbooks in kitchen
These shelves also provide pops of color in this white kitchen.
frame bed
Bedroom library
This is a great idea for a blank bedroom wall.
An office wall is an ideal place for a library.
There's plenty of shelf space in this home office.
This area is stylish and functional.
Fun shelves
Attic library
Carving space
Libraries don't have to be on the floor.
Home Library under stairs
Create a fun space to relax and read books.
Home library - nooks and crannies
A ladder system can help you reach books near the top.
chic lirary

Continue reading “Think You Don’t Have Space for a Home Library? Think Again”