7 Ways to Incorporate Travel Into Your Home Décor

Nothing stinks more than coming home from a trip – especially in a place you might never be able to get to again – and regretting that hand-carved wooden bowl or hand-blown glass light you left behind. The truth is that you probably won’t miss the extra money you would have spent for the item you couldn’t take your eyes off of, but you’ll probably think about that great piece and wish you wouldn’t have let the price or the size or the fact that you didn’t have enough space in your suitcase scare you off. Go ahead, buy it! And buy the extra carry-on bag to transport it, for that matter.

Here are some tips for getting travel décor right.

1. Avoid traditional souvenirs

Yes, we all love some tourist-trap souvenir shops. But sophisticated décor requires sophisticated stuff. And that means bypassing the magnets and snow globes – at least in the public spaces of your home.

2. Photography

Put your photography skills to the test and create memorable wall décor that will bring a smile to your face for a lifetime. These days, you don’t even need a professional camera to create brilliant photos with a high enough resolution to be enlarged to the size you want.

3. Use maps

Using maps to identify places you’ve traveled (or places you want to!) is an easy way to create inspired décor. Buy a fun map wallpaper or create an elegant wall display using antique maps of places you have traveled.

4. Go eclectic

You want your décor to look put together but not haphazard, and collected over time for an eclectic feel. The trick is to add in a few pieces instead of jamming up a space with all things Africa or Asia. Mix them in sparingly among your current décor. Don’t be afraid to mismatch the styles and have some creative fun – but at the same time, don’t go too crazy with the new pieces.

5. Look for textiles

Buying fabrics is a good option. They are an original way to personalize a cushion or create a made-to-measure tablecloth that your dinner guests will admire.

6. Color Scheme

One of the tricks to incorporating items you find while traveling into your existing décor is to remember your already-established color scheme. You don’t want to bring something home that will clash with everything you already have. But…don’t be afraid to go all in on color. Consider incorporating the popular colors from your favorite destination into your décor. Tropical locations usually use bolder patterns or pastels as their main decorating colors. You can take a more natural approach and focus on the colors of the ocean or the sky into your décor. You can even incorporate the colors of your preferred place into the paint, fabric and accent color selections you make for your home.

7. Go representative

Figure out what the country or city you’re in is known for and then focus on that. For instance, among many other things, Morocco is known for its Berber rugs. The hand-crafting of these items is one of the reasons they are so special and so revered. In many areas, you can also build an interesting side trip into your shopping adventure. Seeing the rugs be made by hand will further add to the experience of having one in your home, and will far outweigh the hassle of checking a rug at the airport! .

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Source: Realty Times

6 Ways to Lower Your Water Bill This Summer

When the temperature rises, so does water usage. And that means a larger impact on areas that are already struggling with drought conditions, not to mention the impact on your wallet, regardless of where you live. Using water efficiently is important throughout the year, but sometimes the timing of water use can make a big difference for community water supplies and your water bill.

In most cases, there are easy fixes you can make to be more water efficient. Here are 8 you can incorporate into your daily habits immediately.

1. Turn off the faucet

Did you know that you waste a good four gallons of water every time you leave the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth? This one easy change can make a big difference in your water usage and conservation efforts.

2. Check the toilets

It may not seem like much, but those drips can add up to gallons faster than you think. To check if you have a silent toilet leak, place food coloring in your toilet tank and wait to see if the color makes it into the bowl. If you see color seeping in, you know it’s time to fix it.

3. Set a timer

Have kids (or spouses) that take impossibly long showers? Even cutting back on a couple a week can dramatically curb your water usage. Shave off two minutes to save as much as 1,750 gallons of water per person a year! Set a 10-minute timer on a waterproof shower clock so your water-wasting offender can see how much time they have left to rinse, lather, and repeat.

4. Use the dishwasher

Here’s a surprising fact: You actually use far more water hand washing dishes than if you run the dishwasher. This is especially true if you have an Energy Star dishwasher, which requires an average of four gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink.

5. Check your sprinklers

Malfunctioning sprinklers could be costing you money and wasting water. Sprinkler heads that don’t properly deliver an even spray could cause parts of your lawn to die. If the heads don’t lower properly, they can be damaged or broken easily. You may also be overwatering. Volume quickly adds up when you’re irrigating a large property. Not everything needs to be watered daily. Trees, shrubs, and turf can all be watered less frequently for massive water savings.

6. Water in the morning or at night

Letting your sprinklers go during the hottest time of the day minimizes the benefit of watering. When the sun is high, water evaporates quickly, so it’s best to sprinkle when it’s more likely to stay in the soil. And please water the actual yard, not your sidewalk or driveway.

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Source: Realty Times

4 Last-Minute Tips For Your Fourth of July Cookout

You had good plans to be prepared for your fourth of July gathering and now you’re freaking out because you don’t have anything ready yet for the big party. Here are some last-minute ideas for a stress-free Fourth of July cookout.

1. Pack Smart and Use Household Items

If you and your crew will be celebrating Independence Day at a park or in a friend’s backyard, don’t load down your cooler with unnecessary items. Store liquor bottles in a large container so guests know exactly where to look for the good stuff. When the party’s over, you won’t have to individually collect all the bottles — just place the large container back in the wagon. Use small paper cups for beverages and bite-sized snacks and berry baskets from the grocery store to serve larger quantities of food — they’re more compact than paper plates. Place bread, fruit, sides and sandwich toppings in separate containers the night before your picnic. You can store leftovers and/or dirty dishes in these containers after your party. You can also repurpose items around the house as cute serveware. Instead of an ice bucket try a planter. Use a tin can for a vase. Mason jars are great to use for everything: drinks, soups, salad or dessert.

2. Banish Bugs

The absolute best way to keep mosquitoes away is with a fan. Set up a few cheap floor fans on your deck or patio to keep bug bites to a minimum. Citronella candles can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away, but only if they’re the real deal. Light them around the perimeter of your outdoor living spaces to create a mosquito-free zone. You can also repel them with plants, such as marigolds, lavender, lemon balm and basil. For a more potent solution, make these herbal bundles and toss them on the fire or BBQ during your next outdoor get-together.

3. Stay Cool

It’s hot out there! That’s where a fan comes in handy. Of course keep cold water on hand along with frozen aloe and a soothing facial spray.

4. Drinks

No one wants to play bartender all night. Set up a self-serve drink station with these big-batch cocktails.

Source: HGTV