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    WFH in your backyard with the perfect tiny office.

    July 13, 2021 8:00 AM by jennifer.thomas

    Tuesday, July 13, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    Still working from home? Here’s what you need to know for your backyard tiny office.

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    You don’t need us to tell you that a lot of things, including how we work, changed during the coronavirus pandemic. With more people facing the reality that working from home could become permanent, now might be the right time to jump on the auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) trend. Here’s what you need to know – plus some Instagram inspiration – for your backyard tiny office.


    Take advantage of backyard offices

    Privacy became a hot commodity in the time of COVID. What are the other advantages of a backyard office?

    • Eliminate distractions: Whether it’s the kids asking for snacks (again), someone else on another video call or that pile of laundry staring you down, getting out of the house to a dedicated work space can improve focus and productivity.

    • Improve relationships: Many have found that when they aren’t constantly crowding each other, their relationships are less strained. An ADU can provide important physical distance and alone time. Because there is a such thing as too much quality time.

    • Find balance: The change in scenery can help you make the mental break from the workday and shift your mindset so you’re fully present for your family. In the absence of a commute, that short walk can do wonders to start reclaiming some work-life balance.

    • Get outside: Working remotely outdoors offers a range of potential health benefits such as lower blood pressure and anxiety, better creativity and problem solving, and more vitamin D from natural sunlight. Throw open the windows or include a small patio in your backyard office plans.

     

    Plan before you build

    Now you’re sold on a backyard office. What do you need to make it a reality?

     

    • New construction vs. conversion: Will you convert an existing garage or shed? Or will you take advantage of the growing number of companies and specialty contractors to build something brand new?

    • Professional help: It’s possible to build some of these structures yourself, especially if you’re converting a garage. You may still need a pro for some projects, though, such as when installing electricity.

    • Local regulations: Follow your city’s zoning and permit laws. If they allow building a new structure, there may be regulations about size, proximity to the main house, whether it needs its own address and more.

    • Long-term opportunities: Will you use this ADU for something else – a yoga studio/home gym, in-law suite or rental property, for example – when you no longer need it as an office? Plan with the long-term future in mind so you can include features like plumbing you don’t need now but might want later.

     

    Mix in multipurpose furniture

    Just as if you were designing a small space in your primary residence, you want to choose multipurpose furniture for your office ADU.

     

    • Light hacks: A stylish mirror can make the space feel larger and reflect more light, which might be especially important if you’re converting a garage with smaller windows.

    • Storage: Storage that rolls out of the way when you don’t need it makes the space more flexible and convenient. A bench seat can be a comfortable place to read through documents or take a coffee break. With shelving underneath or storage inside, you have a flexible piece that’s functional and stylish.

    • Wall hangings: Hooks can also be surprisingly multipurpose. Not only are they ideal for that spare cozy sweater, but you can also use them to hang baskets for office supplies and other odds and ends. Use them to easily hang artwork and beautify your workspace. You can attach your hooks directly to the wall or on a peg board for even more design flexibility.

     

    Be energy efficient

    Because of its smaller size, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep your office ADU energy efficient.

     

    • Materials: Even with a smaller footprint, you still need to choose your materials wisely. A smaller A/C unit that doesn’t drain tons of energy from the grid will still be a letdown if you don’t have good insulation or if the windows and doors let it drafts.

    • Soundproofing: Many of the things you do for energy efficiency, like insulation and quality windows, can also help with soundproofing. This could be especially important if you need to block out road noise or barking neighborhood dogs.

     

    Remember power and internet

    Electricity might not be at the top of your priority list for a meditation space, but it certainly is for an office.

     

    • Plenty of power: Your new workspace will quickly lose its charm if you have to run back to the house every few hours to recharge your laptop. Remember enough outlets not only for your computer and phone, but also for anything that else – a coffeemaker, smart speaker – that makes the space more comfortable.

    • Strong WiFi: You could run an internet line directly to your backyard office or, depending on how close it is to the house, invest in a WiFi extender to provide a connection that reaches your private workspace.

    • Think ahead: Remember your future plans. If you hope to turn your ADU into a rental property, for example, make sure that whatever electricals you add have the juice to safely run appliances like a mini fridge.

     

     

     

    Stay secure

    You need to protect your computer and other devices in your new home office. You might even have confidential documents to keep under lock and key.

     

    • High-quality locks: Your office ADU is a great place to try a Schlage smart lock or electronic deadbolt. Not only are they among the most secure locks available for residential homes, but they have the added convenience of you not needing to carry a key. What better way to start your work day than to walk out to the yard with your cup of coffee, punch in your unique access code and immediately get down to business?

      Plus, when you choose a connected smart lock like the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you can control your lock remotely through a compatible app. That means you can check that your office is locked, even if you’re already in bed. And if you did forget, simply lock the door through the app, no need to wander out in the dark and rain. You can also receive notifications if there’s a disturbance at the door, giving you even greater peace of mind that everything is as it should be.

    • Motion sensors: Motion-activated lights on the outside of your ADU or a camera that records when it senses activity can also add to your security. You might choose a camera or security system that connects to your WiFi or mesh network so that you can receive videos and other notifications on your phone, no matter where you are.

    • Reinforced windows: Similar to securing a door with windows, consider using reinforced glass or a security film to existing windows. A film can make it especially hard for intruders to shatter the glass and gain entry.

     

    These tips cover the essentials. But once the must-haves are under control, think about your home office décor. A beautiful space that’s comfortable and welcoming will make going “into the office” that much more enjoyable. Find more tips and inspiration for your WFH space at the Schlage blog.

     

    Ready to nest? Ideas to help you find your nursery décor style.

    July 12, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, July 12, 2021

    Nursery Decor Ideas | Schlage

    You're expecting! If you and your partner can’t decide on the décor, try these nursery design ideas.

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    You’re expecting! You can’t wait to get all those adorable little clothes, fun toys and, most importantly, decorate the nursery. If you haven’t been dreaming about it already, or if you and your partner can’t decide on the décor, try these nursery design ideas.

    Gender neutral nursery ideas


    If designing a gender-neutral nursery is important to you, check these out for inspiration. Looking at popular posts on Instagram, we found you’re most often to come across paint schemes in green and yellow. You’ll notice in these nurseries from @homestyle_at_7 and @justsimplyjessica that although the greens are dramatically different – a dark almost hunter green in one and a softer dusty shade in the other – they’re still completely adorable. 

     

    In addition to gender-neutral colors, many of these nurseries focus on nature and animal themes to complete their look. What kid wouldn’t love to be surrounded by their favorite plants and animals?

     

    Traditional nursery ideas

    Traditional nurseries are the perfect choice if the rest of your home’s architectural style can be best described as “charming and full of character.” They’re also ideal if you have family heirlooms you plan to use in your nursery décor, such as an old crib or classic quilt handed down from your grandmother.

     

    We noticed a lot of wallpaper in our research, particularly in traditional baby rooms. There’s no need to cover every inch off wall space, but an accent wall with a classic print is a great focal point to help pull the rest of your furniture and accessories together.

     

    Mid-Century Modern nursery ideas

    It’s not too hard to create a Mid-Century Modern look in the nursery. These moms- and dads-to-be took their inspiration from the 1950s and focused on colors and classic furniture to stay true to the style. One of the upsides of a Mid-Century Modern baby room is that it can be cute without seeming too childish. Try this look if you’re looking for a new level of sophistication.

     

    The slim legs on the cribs and dressers are classic Mid-Century Modern style as are the darker wood finishes. The goldenrod walls and dark green crib in the @morgancaddellphoto nursery are also key characteristics of Mid-Century Modern.

     


    A comfy chair is a must-have for a nursery. Just think of all the time you’ll spend rocking and feeding Baby at all hours of the day and night. Few furniture pieces scream Mid-Century Modern than the classic Eames chair, although they’re more commonly seen in studies and living rooms. Fortunately, though, @theohheygirls shows that it can also fit beautifully in the nursery.

     

    While very different from the Eames chair, the curved back and arms of this rocker help keep it true to the era. We also love @lovelyladythings’ choice of turquoise blue for this room.

     

    Coastal-themed nursery ideas

    Whether you live seaside or just wish you did, a coastal-themed nursery is another great way to combine kid-friendly whimsy with a touch of grown-up style. Opt for natural materials like sisal, distressed-looking woods – think driftwood-inspired finishes – and colors in the blue and green family.

     

    While a highlight of @jensgatheringnest’s nursery is that woven jute rug, remember to use similar natural materials for accessories like baskets. They’ll help you keep your home organized with a newborn in the house, and when Baby gets more mobile, the soft-sided storage will be less of hazard if they trip and fall into it.

     

    Wall art can also really bring home the nautical theme. We’re not sure which we love more, the simple waves in @tsecalligraphy’s nursery or the sailboat wallpaper in @oh.eight.oh.nine’s.

     

    Boho modern nursery ideas

    Bohemian modern style, with its focus on natural materials, artisanal accessories and slightly funky aesthetic has been a popular home trend for some time now. It’s no surprise then, that we see it quite often in Baby’s room, too.

    If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind crib, look no further than @arrowsandbow. The entire bed looks to be made of materials like jute and bamboo, woven and latched together in a simple yet decorative style.

     

     

    There are so many highlights in this @meganmolten nursery that capture a clean, Boho feel. Light woods and fabrics, not to mention the fringed light fixture are beautiful details. Plus, those oatmeal-colored linen and cotton shades not only look gorgeous but because they’re also cordless are a great way to childproof your home and help prevent choking hazards. 

     

    Best colors for nurseries

    The sky’s the limit when it comes to the colors you choose for your nursery. While looking at popular nurseries on Instagram, we saw a full rainbow, from the super colorful, like these from @jens_den09 and @quirkybubba, to monochromatic.

     

    Despite being just black and white, this nursery seen on @houseofrounds is anything but boring. The different prints on the curtains, bedding, rug and throw blankets add for visual interest in an otherwise neutral color scheme.

     

    If you’re looking for some middle ground between ultra-colorful and monochromatic, take a page from @thejessstyle. The varying shades of blue give the room some extra life despite it actually being just two colors.

     

     

    A final note on color. One combination that continued to pop up in our research was pink and gray. Some leaned toward the neutral and simple, like the predominantly gray nursery shown by @cheriekayhome, while others embraced the glam and frilliness that might be perfect for the little princess in your life.

     

    Outfitting your new little one’s nursery is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of nesting. Once you know what look your hoping to create, see which DIY projects for growing families can help you pull it off. And don’t forget to add some of those important nursery items to your baby gift registry. Find inspiration, how-to’s and more on the Schlage blog.

     

    Mother knows best: Lessons from Mom for a happy, healthy home.

    May 7, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, May 7, 2021

    Lessons from mom | Schlage

    As we celebrate Mother’s Day, now is the perfect time to think about the best advice she gave when it comes to taking care of our homes.

     

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    Mom has taught you many things over the years. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, now is the perfect time to think about the best advice she gave when it comes to taking care of our homes. Here are some of our favorites from home improvement gurus, the people at Schlage and Allegion who help to keep your home secure and other experts.
    Mother and daughter embrace during backyard party.

    They got it from their momma

    Brian Patrick Flynn, contributor and featured designer for HGTV.com

    “As far back as age six, I remember thinking of how boring my friend's houses were and wanting to redo them myself. At six, that was unlikely to happen. It probably stemmed from my mom always updating our house every two years or so with a new paint color, millwork tricks and new upholstery … That one small taste of design had me hooked. What's fascinating most about it is that I've gone the opposite direction of my mom: bold colors are my norm and I barely even use white. Maybe I was adopted?" HGTV

     

    Anthony Carrino, HGTV star

    "My mom is the most selfless, giving person I have ever met, and I largely credit her for getting me started with interiors." HGTV

     

    See Anthony’s historic firehouse renovation, complete with Schlage door hardware now.

     

    Design lessons for real life

    Mina Starsiak Hawk, co-founder/owner of Two Chicks and a Hammer, HGTV star

    “The way I designed homes before I owned my first one was different. Now, designing the one that I’m currently in, that we filmed my forever home special about, we’ve been more driven by, ‘Okay we’re going to have a kid…’ I know babies have all the gadgets and the bottle warmers. So when I did my kitchen layout, I had a cabinet that literally sits right on top of the counter and has outlets inside of it. So, you can leave things plugged in and close the cabinet, so your counter doesn’t look cluttered. So just a lot of functional things like that, that until you’re in the situation, you don’t really realize that maybe you don’t have.” TV Insider

     

    Heidi Klum, model, TV host, producer and businesswoman

    "I'm not someone who [lives] like, 'Okay, this is a museum and you can't sit here and you can't touch this and everything has to be put in its place—[the kids] live here as much as we do. You come into our house and a giant elephant and lion are welcoming you. We have toys and things everywhere." Good Housekeeping

     

    You get what you pay for

    Coty M., Allegion Digital Workplace Administrator

    “My mom always told me it’s your home, take care of it. When it comes to repairs, if you go too cheap, then you will have to fix it again. Before committing to a project or repair for your home, do your research. If you can do it yourself, then do it because you will have a much better appreciation for your home. If you intend to hire individuals to do the work at your house, negotiate. The worst thing they will say is no.”

    Coty M with mother.

    Becky H., Content writer/Schlage blogger

    “$20 isn’t too much to spend if it makes your life better. My family tends to be frugal, but my mom has reminded my sister and me more than once not to be too stingy with our wallets. It doesn’t matter if it’s patio furniture, a filter to help the dryer work better or a high-quality spatula. If it adds enough value to your life, it’s money well spent.”

    Becky and mom during camping trip.

    Masters of the clean house

    Craig B., Allegion Manufacturing Engineer

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.”

    Tyler B., Allegion Director of Customer Experience Applications

    “Does a lesson I was taught but clearly have never implemented count? My mother always tried to teach me that cleaning up a little bit every day helps you avoid the major interruption of having to clean up everything at the end of the week/month/<time period in between visits from adults>, and yet I don't seem to ever actually learn that lesson.”

    Mom-work balance

    Christina Haack, HGTV star

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.” TV Insider

     

    Caitlin Taylor, architect

    “After you shower, if you wipe your body down with your hands to remove the excess water before grabbing a towel, you reduce the amount of moisture on the towel and it stays clean longer.” Architizer

     

    According to Architizer’s interview with Taylor and other woman architects, women start architecture careers in approximately the same numbers as men but leave the field in greater numbers. The American Institute of Architects’ Diversity in Architecture Survey found that 71% of women in the industry were concerned about work-life balance, compared to just 50% of men. Additionally, 70% of women, and 47% of men, found long hours make it difficult to start a family, thereby encouraging them to leave the field.

    This and that

    Mimi M., Allegion Executive Administrative Assistant

    “My advice to my kids (and one of them in particular said it saved him several times) is, ‘If you have to ask yourself if you should or you shouldn't … you probably shouldn't.’”

    Photo of Mimi with mother.

    Molly Williams, Apartment Therapy

    “Take your houseplants outside in the summer (or at least open a window). This is a lesson I’ve taken to heart over the years! When I was a kid, my mom would drag all her houseplants outside once the weather started warming up. By the time it was time to bring them indoors in late September, they would have grown tenfold.” Apartment Therapy

     

    Erin Napier, HGTV star

    "Don't do something to your home because you saw it on Pinterest. Your home should tell your story and be a soft landing at the end of the day. There's only one you, and you should celebrate that." Southern Living

     

    We trust our moms with our homes, our own children, practically everything. With everything she’s given you over the years, wouldn’t it be nice to give something back to her? Find thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day at the Schlage gift guides and be sure to check out the newest guide for gardening mommas.

     

    What’s the best back patio door for your home?

    April 27, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021

    Best patio doors | Schlage

    Use this guide to choosing patio doors to get the security, style and convenience you need.

     

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    One of the best ways to get the most out of your indoor/outdoor living space or backyard getaway is by installing the right patio doors. What’s “right” is entirely up to your unique sense of style, what works best with your home’s layout and how you want to use your outdoor space. Use this guide to choosing patio doors to get the security, style and convenience you need.
    Blue french patio doors.

    What to ask before replacing a back patio door

    Like any remodeling project, it’s best to think through your priorities before choosing a new back door for your patio. Here are a few things to consider so you get exactly what you want.

    Security

    Just because it’s not facing the street doesn’t mean you should ignore security when it comes to back doors. Potential intruders will typically look for the easiest point of access, no matter its location. If security is a high priority, pay special attention to the door’s material. Metal doors are usually the most durable, especially compared to glass.

    Sightlines

    Despite some people’s security concerns, glass is one of the most popular materials for back doors because of the view it offers. If you have a pool, a beautiful garden or simply want to let in extra light, glass doors are the way to go. Remember that you can always add window treatments – blinds, curtains, glass etching – if you want both light and privacy.

    Swing

    This is an important one if you want to be able to actually open your door. If you don’t have much space inside or furniture gets in the way, consider sliding doors or those that open outward, also referred to as outswing doors. Kravelv Home Improvement Tips has more details on inswing vs. outswing patio doors.

    Entertaining

    Certain types of doors lend themselves to creating a welcoming environment for guests than do others. And even if you’re just entertaining the kids, think about what kind of doors work best for that lifestyle. Will you get frustrated trying to balance cookout supplies while trying to unlock and open the door? Will the kids remember to lock the door on their way in and out to play?

    Doggy door

    If you’re not big on escorting Fido out on chilly mornings and want a doggy door, consider the types of human doors that best allow for this. For example, glass doors are especially difficult to adapt for a pet flap. Another consideration is what kind of damage they might do to the screen.

    Screens

    Speaking of screens, if you live in a particularly buggy area or if you’re a mosquito’s favorite treat, remember to factor in screen doors and whether they’ll work in conjunction with your main door.

    Best types of doors for back patios

    Now that you know how your back door should work to make life easier, let’s look at your options. Below are five common types of patio doors and some of their pros and cons.

    Sliding doors

    They might be the most common types of doors for back patios and for good reason. They check a lot of the boxes we mentioned above. You get great sightlines so you can always see what’s happening in the yard, they don’t take up much space and you can easily have a screen door to let in the breeze and keep out the bugs. They generally are secure on their own, but you might be more comfortable taking some extra steps like installing a blocking bar – a rod inserted in the bottom track – and shatterproof film. If you want something more distinctive looking, though, one of the other options below could be for you.

    French doors

    Particularly if you have a more traditional home with classic architectural features, French doors could be your ticket. The main appeal, in addition to their style, is the amount of light they let in. It’s why they were invented in the first place. You’ll need a wider entryway to accommodate the dual doors and you’ll want to make sure you have room for them to swing. The good news on that front is that you can find French doors that are inswing or outswing. One more consideration for French doors is if you want them both to open or have one purely for decorative purposes. Not only will this affect the function of the door, obviously, but it also impacts your hardware. Use this guide to choosing door hardware for French doors.

    Dutch doors

    Originally created so people could open their homes to the breeze but keep farm animals out, Dutch doors are growing in popularity again. Like French doors, you’ll need special locks for Dutch doors, but that’s an easy adjustment to make. Dutch doors are a good solution if your entryway is standard width, as opposed to doublewide for a French door, and if you aren’t concerned about bugs. Screens won’t really be an option here. Also, while you might not need to control your cows’ access to the home, Dutch doors are helpful for keeping indoor pets and children in. If you like this style, start with these DIY Dutch door ideas.

    Folding doors

    Think of these as accordion-style doors. This higher end option is ideal if you want to feel like you’re outside all the time. You often see them on long verandas where you get wide-open sightlines. And if you love to entertain, being able to fold them back and open invites guests to make their way outside and stay awhile. These doors tend be glass, so you’ll want to pay special attention to how to secure a door with windows. They also tend to be on the pricier side, but the investment could be worth the look.

    Standard door

    Of course, there’s always a standard, tried-and-true door like you’d find anywhere else on your home. What you would use for your front door will work equally well in the back. And while it might not seem particularly exciting, it does have its pros. Choosing door hardware and deadbolts is pretty straightforward. A traditional mechanical deadbolt will help keep your home safe, as will a Schlage smart lock, which also fits all standard pre-drilled doors, making installation a snap. And of course, you get all the same convenience and remote capabilities you would with a smart lock for your front door. Typical materials include aluminum or steel, wood and fiberglass, all of which can be painted. To us, that means an opportunity to experiment with bold colors you might be hesitant to try on a front entryway. Don’t confuse a standard door with boring.

    Visit the Schlage blog for more guides to choosing locks for doors, adding style to any entryway with simple, budget-friendly DIY projects and outdoor entertaining.

     

    Upgrade your outdoor space with these 8 easy tips.

    April 19, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, April 19, 2021

    Outdoor design tips | Schlage

    Here are eight tips to help get you started so that you can turn your backyard into the oasis you and your family desire.

     

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    When we redo a living room, we put a lot of thought into it. We sit on countless couches at furniture stores all over town to find just the right one. We thoughtfully pick out each piece of art for the walls, fret about paint colors and analyze how durable different types of flooring are. Do you put the same effort into designing and decorating your outdoor space?

     

    2021 is the Year of the Yard. According to a survey from the International Casual Furnishings Association earlier this year, we don’t just want a deck or porch that looks good. We also want one that fits our lifestyle. When asked, 53 percent of those surveyed said they want to create an enjoyable and functional space. The ability to entertain (36%) and creating a private retreat (34%) were also at the top of the list.

     

    When we expect our outdoor space to be such a big part of our everyday lives, why wouldn’t we work just as hard on its design as we do any room indoors? Here are eight tips to help get you started so that you can turn your backyard into the oasis you and your family desire.

    Bohemian modern backyard patio

    1. Decide how you want to use your outdoor space

    For some, a kitchen is purely functional. For others, they want a kitchen that’s a gathering place for family and friends to hang out and munch on hors d’oeuvres. Just as you would when remodeling a kitchen, figure out how want to use your yard or deck. Is it all about relaxation with hideaway nooks or do you need open space for play? Is it a place for the dogs to get out and “ruffhouse” or are you more into gardens full of delicate beauty? Once you’ve decided what you need the space to do for you, the rest of your decisions will be much clearer.

     

    Before you start digging or erecting any kind of structures, it pays to check with local officials and HOAs about zoning regulations or permits. The last thing you want is to have to tear down your hard work, pay fines or inadvertently hit a water or electrical line because you didn’t cover your bases early on. This is especially true if you live in an historic neighborhood.

    2. Make a style plan

    You can throw out a couple lawn chairs and call it a day. Or, you can showcase your style, just like you would inside your house. Choose a décor theme or trend to help keep you focused when choosing outdoor furniture and plants. For example, if you want to feel like you’ve escaped to a Tuscan villa, look for Old World-inspired décor such as lanterns, stonework, palms or topiaries, and wrought-iron accessories. If you’re more into cozy casual, soft cushions, outdoor rugs and water features will be more fitting.

    3. Shop your own home

    We often recommend repurposing items in your own home to achieve a budget-friendly style lift. The same goes for your outdoor space. If you have planters on your front porch, maybe bring them to your back deck instead. The same goes for outdoor rugs and other furniture.

     

    You might even see if you have indoor furniture you can bring outside. The International Casual Furnishings Association found that 40 percent of Millennials plan to add a sofa or sectional to their outdoor space. That doesn’t necessarily mean you bring your living room couch outside, but in many instances, you can apply a weather-resistant coating to cushions, paint and finishes so that they’ll hold up better to Mother Nature.

    4. Upcycle and DIY furniture and décor

    While you’re shopping your own home, see if there are any items you can give new life with a little elbow grease. Maybe that chipped teapot becomes a rustic farmhouse planter. Maybe you build a latticework trellis for extra shade and privacy. Perhaps you transform an old door into a porch swing. Upcycling goods you already have or building your own is an excellent way to cut down on waste and to put your personal touch on your home.

    5. Add convenience where you can

    Especially if you’re upgrading your outdoor space so that you can retreat and relax, you’ll need to look for ways to add convenience. You might love to garden and find working in the dirt to be therapeutic. But if you always have to haul your tools around from the garage, this once-calming hobby could lose its charm. A small garden shed nearer to where you use those tools can be a lifesaver. If your goal is to entertain more with backyard parties, think about furniture that doubles as storage and seating, a functional outdoor kitchen or bar, or extra power outlets for speakers and lighting.

    6. Focus on sustainability

    You wouldn’t put unsafe or sharp materials in your child’s new playroom, so why would you choose materials for your yard that are harmful to plants and animals? When planning your garden, focus on native plant species. Flowers that are found naturally in your region not only put less stress on the ecosystem, but they also encourage helpful bugs like bees and butterflies. You might like to plant trees that attract your favorite birds or leave stumps, which can be the perfect natural home for a range of critters. Houzz also suggests leaving gaps in your fence as kind of “green highway.” Too many manmade barriers can disrupt animal migration patterns and movement. Leave a path for our furry friends.

     

    If you’re installing a new deck, look for composite wood decking, which is more sustainable than many other more traditional materials. Finally, when choosing lighting or fountains, choose solar-powered alternatives to ease the strain on the electric grid.

    8. Keep it secure

    You wouldn’t think twice about putting a strong deadbolt on your front door or making sure the door hardware in your home can hold up to everyday life. You shouldn’t think twice about securing the back door to your patio or deck, either. And just like you want to add convenience for relaxation and entertainment, you can get convenience from your security as well, especially when you choose an electronic or smart lock.

     

    We recently heard from a Schlage customer who installed a Schlage keypad lock on their back patio door. The deadbolt’s keyless entry and auto-lock feature allowed them to work in the yard without worrying about their home’s security or getting locked out, even as they moved from the backyard to the garage in front, inside for water and back again. Plus, when they have friends over, they can deactivate the auto-lock feature to easily enter the house with grilled food, to grab more drinks or to use the restroom, no code necessary and no need to stop the party.

    We could go on forever about curb appeal and outdoor living. Find all our advice at the Schlage blog or get inspired on Instagram and Pinterest.

     

    How to travel more safely during the pandemic.

    April 13, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    Pandemic safe vacation ideas | Schlage

    Even if you aren’t ready to jump on a plane or take a major trip, you still have plenty of options. Consider these safe travel alternatives to explore during the pandemic.

     

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    As cities begin to open up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are getting ready to travel. Even if you aren’t ready to jump on a plane or take a major trip, though, you still have plenty of options. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, consider these travel alternatives.
    Dachshund wearing sunglasses laying in the sand on the beach.

    Road trip

    Limiting exposure to groups, especially those on an airplane where social distancing is next to impossible, is a good way to reduce risk of infection. That’s why the classic road trip has regained popularity in the last year. Skip the lines and packed public transportation by loading the family in the car and cruise the open highway. If you’re ready to splurge a bit, you might even decide to rent an RV, which also eliminates the need to book a hotel.

     

    Packing for a road trip requires a bit of extra planning. With the pandemic, bring along sanitizing wipes or liquid in case you need to clean up after using a rest stop or other public facility. Have some extra emergency supplies as well, including snacks and water, masks and roadside assistance supplies, in case some businesses and services aren’t fully operational yet.

     

    For more ideas on what to bring, read our list of favorite road trip gadgets to make your vacation safe and memorable.

    Family on road trip stop to view the water.

    Homesharing

    You might like the idea of escaping to an Airbnb or similar rental for your vacation. This alternative has a few upsides. You can check with the property manager beforehand about cleaning practices, so you know how safe it will be for you and your family. It’s also perfect when you need a change of scenery but aren’t quite ready to brave the crowds of an amusement park or spend a lot of time in restaurants. Choose a homesharing rental with all the amenities you might need – a kitchen for making your own meals and outdoor space for lounging or playing games, for example.

     

    Just like with the road trip, throw some extra sanitizing wipes and hand soap in your bag before you depart. If possible, contact the property manager with any questions about what will be provided at the house so you can plan accordingly. And don’t forget to ask these security questions before booking any vacation rental.

    Green tiny cabin in woods.

    House swap with a friend

    Simplify housesharing even more by swapping with friends for the week or weekend. It’s like the movie The Holiday but closer to home, with people you already know and more budget-friendly. You might find that you enjoy preparing for their visit, leaving little notes for them to find, stocking the fridge with their favorite foods or making sure they have whatever they need for a memorable getaway. An added bonus? They’re probably willing to pet sit for you while they’re there, so there’s no need to book a kennel or hire someone to keep an eye on Fluffy while you’re away.

     

    One way to make this even easier is with a smart lock. You can program a unique access code for your friend, so they don’t have to keep track of the keys to your house. With features like auto-lock, you also don’t have to worry that they might head out for the afternoon without securing your home first.

     

    Lastly, don’t forget to provide your pals with a cheat sheet for your smart devices. It’ll make everyone’s life easier.

    Friends standing in entryway of home with luggage.

    Voluntourism

    Many non-profit and charity organizations took a hard hit during the pandemic. As things begin to reopen, look for ways you can have a positive impact on your community. In some cases, you’ll be located in more remote areas or outdoors, so dense populations and crowds will be less of an issue. Plus, you’ll probably feel better knowing you improved someone’s life.

    Toddler picking up litter.

    Camping

    Ah, the great outdoors. Avoid hotels by planning a camping trip. It could be to a nearby state park, a recreation area farther afield or even in your own backyard. Being in nature is a great way to recharge and destress, two things we could all use a little of after the mess that was 2020.

    Camp setup with dutch oven over fire and view of mountains.

    Explore your own hometown

    Somewhere on the spectrum between an all-out trip and a staycation is exploring your hometown. You can stay at home or get a hotel. Then check out all those places you haven’t been since you were a kid or visit the attractions you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t. You might be surprised how simply shaking up your routine can offer the same rejuvenating benefits of longer travel. Plus, you’ll be avoiding airports, highway rest stops and other germy places.

    Bed & Breakfast sign.

    Staycation

    Of course, when you’re looking for safe things to do during COVID, you can always stay put. There’s nothing wrong with recharging your physical and emotional batteries by laying low and relaxing at home. You might do a bit of exploring your own hometown, like we suggested above, or you could tackle some DIY projects during your staycation. It’s the perfect time to do what you want, when you want. No excuses or explanations necessary.

    Mom sitting on balcony with two toddlers.

    No matter where you’re going, trust that everything back home is safe and secure while you’re away. Find more vacation safety tips at the Schlage blog and check out our latest to see if Schlage’s 1953 travel advice still holds up in the modern world.

     

    13 DIY curb appeal projects to help you kickstart spring.

    April 9, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, April 9, 2021

    Spring front porch curb appeal | Schlage

    Celebrate the beautiful weather by giving your home's curb appeal a little pep. Try one of these easy spring curb appeal projects and celebrate your hard work.

     

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    Spring is finally in full swing! Celebrate the beautiful weather by giving your home's curb appeal a little pep. Once you've checked off the most important tasks on your home improvement checklist, try one of these easy spring curb appeal projects and celebrate your hard work.
    Spring front porch swing with colorful pillows.

    1. Cedar planter » Shanty2Chic

    A cedar planter box is a quick way to add some color and sophistication to any porch. We especially love how Shanty2Chic added house numbers for an extra personal touch. Another idea is to add caster wheels to the planter, especially if you plan on filling it with a large pot or oversized foliage. It will make it easier to move the box as your décor changes with the seasons and to keep your porch clean.

    2. Vertical garden wall » The Handyman’s Daughter

    Vertical gardens are a great way to add some greenery without taking up a lot of space. That means they’re especially perfect décor for small front porches. This one not only gives you a stylish way to display smaller plants and flowers, but the base could double as a bench or storage for your gardening supplies. No more hauling tools from the garage or shed, just to tend your garden.

    3. Ocean stone mat » Tattooed Martha

    There are all kinds of creative ways to DIY a doormat, but we’re highlighting this one made from stone because we love the natural look. We see this as a perfect fit for a variety of homes, from Craftsman-style to Scandinese. Tattooed Martha made this mat for her bathroom, but there’s no reason you couldn’t re-create your own for the porch or mudroom.

    4. Recycled rubber doormat » Hoosier Homemade

    This is a good DIY project for kids that, when they’re done, the whole family can use. We’ve all seen these institutional-looking rubber doormats. They’re effective but not very attractive, so Hoosier Homemade used paint and a sealant to add color and fun. You could do a simple pattern like she did, or get more creative, adding a message in block lettering or creating a picture.

    5. Outdoor bench » My Daily Randomness

    We love 2-for-1 furniture and this bench with planters has us excited for spring. Who wouldn’t want to welcome guests with this there to greet them? This carpentry project is great for taking your front porch décor to the next level.

    6. Porch swing bed » Plank & Pillow

    Come springtime, you’ll be ready to spend plenty of time outdoors in the fresh air. In the summer, you’ll love to luxuriate in the cool evening breeze. For both of these “activities,” you need someplace comfy to sit, so we recommend a porch swing bed. Deeper than a traditional porch swing, this bed is perfect for soaking up the season with family and friends.

    7. Faux tile stenciled floor » Homestead 128

    You might think that changing the floor of your porch means tearing the whole thing down and starting over. Think again. Homestead 128 painted their concrete patio with stencils to create a tiled look. Don’t be intimidated by this DIY front porch décor project. Our tips for how to paint flooring can help, too.

    8. Straw tote spring “wreath” » Sadie Seasongoods

    Wreaths don’t have to be round or even true wreaths at all. What’s not to love about Sadie Seasongoods’ second-hand tote bag turned into a gorgeous spring floral arrangement? She chose artificial flowers, but you could use anything from your garden as well. And when you choose colors that complement your front door, your neighbors won’t be able to stop talking about your front porch style.

    9. Mailbox makeover » Beneath my heart

    There’s nothing wrong with a simple mailbox post, but the one in this “before” picture was a bit of an eyesore. Don’t worry about the expense and heavy lifting of the new stone post, though. Beneath My Heart used a stone cast mailbox post – sold as one piece that slips over a wooden beam – to boost her curb appeal.

    10. Wrapped porch posts » Addicted 2 Decorating

    If your ugly posts happen to be porch columns, this one’s for you. Addicted 2 Decorating wrapped her existing porch posts in lumber and built out some architectural detail to give them a more substantial and finished look. She learned a few hard lessons along the way, so be sure to check out her entire series. We’d say the effort was worth it, though.

    11. Flower bed edging » Garden World

    Stone pavers give any garden bed a more refined, finished look. They also help to keep the grass of your lawn from creeping into your beds, making maintenance easier in the long run. You might need a little muscle to complete this project, but you won’t regret the sweat.

    12. Chevron Lattice » Remodelaholic

    Making a lattice trellis or screen became a good skill to have in 2020 as we looked for new ways to create privacy at home. Remodelaholic was ahead of her time with this outdoor living tip. It’s beautiful on its own, but some climbing vines or flowers would take the look over the top. Build one for your porch or in your backyard for some added shade and privacy.

    13. Side door upgrade » Four Generations One Roof

    The most-used entrance in your home isn’t always the front door, so we wanted to show you how Four Generations One Roof made over their side door. A spring-y tulip wreath and the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt helped take this door from boring to both stylish and secure.

    What spring projects are you planning to tackle this weekend? Get more inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, then show us your handywork.

     

    How to throw a royal garden party on a common budget.

    April 7, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021

    Royal garden party ideas | Schlage

    Since most of us don’t have the royal resources to pull that off, here are Schlage’s hacks for hosting a royal garden party with an everyday budget.

     

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    There are backyard bashes, and then there are garden parties. Generally considered swankier events, garden parties have historically been soirees of the social elite. The Queen of England hosts two annually where she serves over 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake … at each. Since most of us don’t have the royal resources to pull that off, here are Schlage’s hacks for hosting a royal garden party with an everyday budget.
    Tulips in front of Buckingham Palace.

    Location

    Royal Version:

    The Queen hosts her parties at Buckingham Palace, which with almost 40 acres of gardens is the largest private garden in London, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to seven greenhouses, in Scotland.

    Your Version:

    Even if you don’t have Buckingham Palace at your disposal, your own backyard can be the perfect location. Vertical gardens with climbing plants can give the illusion of a walled English garden, for example. If your flower beds aren’t in hosting shape yet, try containers. Most home improvement stores will have some pre-made baskets and pots in the spring and summer. Choose blooms that suit your taste or in colors that fit your party theme, then arrange them to help transport your guests to another world full of fancy hats and fascinators. In addition to plants, consider adding a water feature – Buckingham Palace has a three-acre lake, after all – lighting like candles or lanterns, and outdoor heaters as needed to give your home that palatial garden feeling.

    Invitations & dress code

    Royal Version:

    The Queen’s garden parties are invitation-only, and potential recipients have to be nominated for an invitation by local governments, civic groups and faith organizations. Guests are expected to adhere to a strict dress code with morning coats for men and day dresses for the ladies.

    Your Version:

    Skip the nominations, even if you are an epic party planner, and simply send an e-invite or mail a handmade masterpiece. Make sure guests know it’s a garden party. No one wants their sink their new heels into the dirt because they didn’t realize they’d be outside. If you want a dress code but don’t want to seem pushy, ask guests to choose attire based on a theme, such as floral dresses for a flower-themed garden party. Especially if you’re asking friends to dress outside the norm, send your invitations a few weeks in advance.

    Family dinner party in backyard.

    Food & drink

    Royal Version:

    Jam pennies and ham and mustard sandwiches are reportedly among the Queen’s favorites. There’s also a strict no-alcohol policy at her garden parties.

    Your Version:

    If you don’t know – and don’t care – what a jam penny is, stick to something you already know, love and can prepare easily. The last thing you want is to be fussing with tiny sandwiches when you should be socializing with your guests. As for drinks, a traditional garden party calls for tea. For your version, large batches of lemonade or cocktails can be refreshing for summer parties, and they require little extra effort on your part.

    Mason jar drinks.

    No matter your taste, consider these garden party dining tips:

     

    • If the weather’s hot, avoid foods that will spoil quickly in the sun.

    • Buffet-style serving saves you time and allows for guests to mingle more.

    • Whether cocktails, mocktails or a pot of Earl Gray, stock a bar cart for all your guests’ libation needs.

    • Freeze water balloons and put them in the drink cooler. Cans and bottles will stay cold, and guests won’t have to dig for beverages in the slush.

    • Keep bugs out of drinks and off food. Mesh domes for platters or cupcake wrappers to top drinks are a few budget-friendly options.

    • There’s no royal decree against a potluck garden party, so don’t be afraid to ask friends to chip in.

    Tablescape

    Royal Version:

    The Queen comes prepared for her garden parties with lengths of tents, and we can only imagine the elaborate floral arrangements, china tea cups and silver platters heaped with treats you might find under them.

    Your Version:

    You can always go with one big table, family style, but don’t discount lounge seating, especially if you want your guests to mingle casually. Pillows and blankets on the grass might also work for you. With these smaller conversation hubs, be sure guests have someplace to sit their drinks and plates.

     

    When it’s time to decorate. Flower arrangements are tried-and-true for garden parties. You might make them your centerpiece or include them in name tags if you have assigned seating. Martha Stewart suggests an herb centerpiece – they can be just as fragrant – for when you want a more original look.

    Entertainment

    Royal Version:

    When the Royal Family arrives at their garden party, a military band plays the national anthem.

    Your Version:

    Create a playlist on Spotify or another favorite music service. If you have an Alexa-enabled Bluetooth speaker outdoors, you’ll be able to easily control the ambience from your phone or with just a quick word to the voice assistant. Make sure your playlist sets the appropriate mood, whether you’re going for upbeat and fun or more calming.

     

    If your guests include children, or even fun-loving adults, a few simple yard games might also be a good idea. And if party favors are up your alley, House Beautiful suggests a flower-arranging station that not only fits the flower-themed garden party, but also gives guests an activity and a gift to take home. Plus, you don’t need to hire a florist or toil away at making bouquets yourself beforehand.

    Looking for more party inspiration? Try our blog for stylish and simple backyard party ideas, or find us on Pinterest for even more tips that’ll help you transform your home for the outdoor entertaining event of the year.

     

    1 year later: How the pandemic reshaped our homes.

    April 5, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, April 5, 2021

    Scandinavian living room | Schlage

    A year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re looking back at some of those changes and looking forward at what to expect in 2021.

     

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    We don’t need to remind you how many days, hours and minutes you spent at home in 2020. These unprecedented times meant that we dramatically changed how we used our homes – how we designed them, lived in them, made them work for our “new normal.” A year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re looking back at some of those changes and looking forward at what to expect in 2021.
    Scandinavian living room.

    Common ways we changed our homes for COVID

    We expected a lot from our homes in 2020. Sometimes we literally reshaped them, remodeling to meet our new needs, while other times it was all about adding temporary touches to make lives more convenient and comfortable.

    Rooms that got the most makeovers

    Two rooms that got the most attention in 2020 were kitchens and home offices. Kitchen extensions and updates were among the most searched-for inspiration in the last year and it makes sense. Without being able to dine at restaurants, we needed to tighten up our own culinary skills and we needed our space to help us do that. We created new layouts to for better use of space, installed kitchen banquettes and invested in new appliances like that fancy coffee maker or air fryer to add convenience.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise to see home offices on this list as many of us were now working from home. It might have been a converted guest room, the dining room or a closet-turned-office. In fact, “cloffice” became a word. One of Schlage’s first blog posts during the COVID era was about creating the ideal office space.
    Just as important, however, we were also looking for ways to create workspaces for the rest of the family, too. Kids doing e-learning now needed an office of their own, free from distractions for their own Zoom calls.
    Boy sitting at table doing school work.

    Increased privacy

    With everyone working, playing, eating, crafting and everything else at home, we soon discovered that our beloved open floorplans maybe weren’t so great after all. Adding privacy because a priority, whether it was because we needed to be able to focus on work or because we just needed a break from others in the house. Many of us installed privacy screens and curtains, created temporary walls with large furniture such as bookshelves and added backyard fences.

    Functional, and multifunctional, must-haves

    We sought more and more ways to make our homes pull double- and triple-duty. Spaces no longer had to just be functional, they needed to be multifunctional. The same went for our furniture. The kitchen table had to be ready for breakfast, then math class, then dinner, all in the same day and with minimal fuss. Our basements still needed storage, but it had work smarter since the space was now also our home gym.

    Mood-boosting décor

    Not every decision was only about function, though. Because we were pining for the days of travel, visiting family and friends, and celebrating holidays and birthdays, we were determined to surround ourselves with good memories. We added more meaningful décor and photos as well as customized furniture that allowed us to display them to full effect. And so began the rise of shelfies.

    Smart convenience and entertainment

    Smart devices became a bigger part of our daily routines. Sometimes we were looking for greater convenience as we started to feel the pressure of balancing work, homeschooling, cooking every meal and taking care of others. Sometimes we were looking for more ways to stay entertained and we needed the technology to pull off another watch party or play games online with long-distance friends.

    Friends and cat on zoom call.
    According to experts, the most popular technology in 2020 targeted entertainment – home theaters and gaming systems, for example – and digital health devices. Looking at smart devices in particular, security systems, smart garage door openers and smart lighting saw the largest sales gains in 2020.

    “Alexa, what are some things to do during quarantine?”

    Because we weren’t going out nearly as much, we spent a lot of time Googling things to do during quarantine, ways to keep the kids busy and how to host people for special occasions when we were supposed to be social distancing.

     

    Some of the most-searched terms during 2020 were “how to paint” and “how to build.” Schlage offered its suggestions for the best DIY projects for using leftover paint and tips for painting doors and floors. Eventually, perhaps because our confidence in our DIY skills was growing, “how to fix” became a popular search, too.

     

    You can read more of Schlage’s blogs here, starting with some of our favorites like how to boost your mood with a style lift and how to use your home to save money during quarantine. You might also like:

    Looking forward to 2021 home décor trends

    We likely still have some time before we’re in the clear, and even then, who knows what our new normal will look like. As 2021 progresses, consider some of these expert picks for what to expect from home décor moving forward.

    Décor for mental health

    This trend got its start during the pandemic when we were all feeling the stress. Bathrooms-turned-spas were hugely popular as we looked for new ways to escape and relax. That should only continue as we now realize just how important our mental and emotional wellbeing are.

    In addition to spa-like spaces, the top colors of 2021 are inspired by the soothing qualities of nature. We’re seeing lots of blues, greens and browns. At the same time, you have the opportunity to go for something bolder, as there’s also a healthy mix of vibrant colors intended to bring more fun into our lives.

     

    Wallpaper and textured accent walls are also trending highly now. This is likely due to our desire to customize the space we spend so much time in. We aren’t dismissing neutral walls entirely, but they’re offset with a large-print wallpaper – often inspired by the Art Deco or Grandmillenial styles – and eye-catching original paint jobs.

    Lighting will also remain high on people’s priority list, whether it’s to reduce eye strain while working from home or by adding therapy lamps and other lighting to boost our moods.

    Customized spaces

    When privacy in our own homes became a challenge, we started to think much more intentionally about how we actually use our space. If we don’t want an open floorplan anymore, what do we want? As homeowners take on remodeling projects in 2021, expect to see customized layouts that fit a family’s unique needs, whether that’s dedicated office space, a home gym or even an accessory dwelling unit.

    Exterior shed turned art studio.

    Urban gardening

    Pandemic plants became a thing in 2020. Many of us tested our green thumbs with container gardening, vegetable patches and indoor houseplants. Urban gardening is predicted to take off even more, particularly as we get into the warmer months of 2021. Love the Garden analyzed popular Instagram searches and expects an uptick in interest around organic gardening, growing your own (fill in the blank) and vertical gardening, all important to homeowners in urban areas or who are limited on space.

    Container garden with tomato plants.

    Trends are ever-changing, especially during times like these where they only thing we can really expect is the unexpected. Stay on top of what you need to make your home and life more convenient, secure and stylish. Visit our blog or find us on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

     

    Green renovation ideas for an eco-friendly home.

    March 26, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Green renovation ideas | Schlage

    Use this guide to simplify the process if sustainability is on your must-have list for a remodel or new build.

     

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    There’s so much to consider during a renovation. What do you want to do and can you afford it? Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? How do find a contractor you can trust? Which shade of blue is better for your walls? The details can get overwhelming, especially if you also want your renovation to be environmentally friendly. Use this guide to simplify the process if sustainability is on your must-have list for a remodel or new build.
    Woman painting wall green.

    Pick sustainable materials

    Materials is one of the biggest expenses for both your budget and the environment during a remodel. There are a few things to factor in when choosing eco-friendly building materials and supplies. First, the material itself should come from a sustainable source. Cork and bamboo, for example, are some of the most sustainable materials for flooring and countertops. The tree isn’t even damaged when cork is harvested. When choosing other kinds of lumber, look for those that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

     

    Recycled and reclaimed materials are even better. Recycled glass and ceramic tile can make for some gorgeous and unique backsplashes for your kitchen and bath. Reclaimed wood has been super-popular for accent walls, Farmhouse-style kitchen tables and fireplace mantels for several years now.

     

    Weigh your options when it comes to synthetic versus natural materials. You might think natural is always the way to go, and that’s usually the case. However, more-durable manmade materials have their advantages if they keep you from having to replace something frequently. We would put composite decking – a mixture of wood paste and recycled plastic – in this category.

    Choose clean materials

    Just because something is “sustainable” doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for the environment or your health. Making this even tougher is that there’s no single standard or organization that certifies materials as “natural” or “organic.” That being said, there are some chemicals we know we should avoid.

     

    When painting, look for ones labeled as being free of or low in VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are hazardous chemicals that can release fumes and leak into the environment as the paint gets damaged or deteriorates. VOC-free paint is both kinder to Mother Nature and less likely to affect your own health. No matter what kind of paint you choose, dispose of leftovers appropriately. Most cities have facilities you can drop off your half-used cans.

     

    Pay attention to furniture, fabrics and other household products with formaldehyde. According to the Centers for Disease Control, homes with new products and new construction have the higher levels of formaldehyde thanks to manufactured wood in goods like flooring and furniture. You also find it in permanent press fabrics and some glues, paints and caulks.

     

    Look for furniture, cabinetry and flooring made without urea-formaldehyde (UF) glues and insulation without UF foam. Pressed-wood products – think particle board – should meet ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) or no added formaldehyde (NAF) requirements.

    Reuse what already exists

    This is your excuse to hit up the yard sales, antique malls and vintage shops. It’s about keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill. You can find perfectly good, not to mention stylish and unique, furniture and décor secondhand.

     

    Don’t forget to reuse things you already own, too. If you’re replacing the cabinets in your kitchen, can you use them elsewhere? Go easy with the sledgehammer and relocate them as a new bathroom vanity or as part of your workbench in the garage. A chair could be given new life with updated upholstery. Door hardware could be transformed into new, unique décor. Take a creative eye to your belongings before you automatically put them in the trash.

    Aim for energy efficiency

    There are so many reasons to aim for energy efficiency – less strain on the power grid, smarter use of water and non-renewable resources, and financial savings to name a few. Let’s take this room by room.

     

    The kitchen is a great place to look for energy-efficient solutions. All those appliances pull a lot of juice off the grid. Choose Energy Star-rated refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers when you can. And think about where you put them. If it’s possible to place your refrigerator where it won’t be in direct sunlight, it will use less energy to keep everything cold.

    In the bathroom, look for ways to conserve water. Low-flow toilets use less water without affecting how well it flushes. Shower and sink faucets can also be low-flow. Consider a tankless water heater as well. You’ll get hot water for your showers on-demand without the heater working constantly.
    Quality doors and windows are hugely important when it comes to energy efficiency, particularly because heating and cooling usually accounts for the largest portion of our electric bills. Install triple-pane glass for the best window insulation, choose window frames made from wood or fiberglass that transfer less heat or cold, or simply fix existing drafty doors and windows.

    Continue to control the temperature in your home with insulation, not just in the walls, but in the attic, basement and crawl spaces as well. Be sure to choose environmentally friendly insulation as some come packed with harmful chemicals.

     

    Finally, look for smart home technology that can help monitor and control your energy usage. Smart thermostats come to mind immediately here. Smart bulbs on a timer or included in a routine can help reduce the amount of time an empty room is illuminated. Smart irrigation systems allow you to only water your lawn when it needs it. Some of these devices might not have a huge impact individually, but working together, over time, you may see improvements.

     

    A final note on energy efficiency. The price tag of some energy efficient solutions can be large. Keep in mind that while you may be spending more up front, you’ll still be saving money in the long run via reduced energy bills. The savings will come.

    Pay attention to the details

    Small details can add up. Do your due diligence from the start to make sure your project has the kind of impact you expect.

     

    Our first tip applies more to building a new home, but you also might find it helpful if you’re considering an addition. Be realistic about how much space you really need. Larger homes will have a larger impact, and not always a good one, on the environment. Smaller spaces require fewer materials, which means less waste during the build, and less stress on the grid when it comes to heating and cooling. It’s one of the reasons that many people are drawn to tiny houses.

    You’ll also want to find a contractor or builder with a history of eco-friendly practices. Don’t waste your time trying to convince a carpenter why they should use a certain kind of wood to meet your standards. Start your project with one that cares about the same things you do and is committed to sourcing their materials and disposing of waste responsibly.

     

    Choose items that can be repaired piecemeal. Take flooring, for example. If just part of the carpet gets damaged, do you really want to replace the entire thing? When you opt for carpet tiles, it’s simple to replace only what’s damaged instead of ripping the entire thing up and throwing away perfectly good material.

    If landscaping is on your to-do list, only plant native species for your region. They put less strain on the environment and even help revitalize a biome that has been damaged by invasive species and human impact. This could include flowering plants that attract beneficial insects or certain varieties of grass. When sodding your lawn, choose a variety that doesn’t require lots of watering if you live in an arid climate, for example. If your area is prone to drought, you might forgo grass altogether.

     

    Like we said, there’s a lot to consider, but the effort is worth it when you see the savings both for the environment and your wallet. If you’re ready to take it a step farther, check out what you need for a passive house and find more green home improvement suggestions at the Schlage blog.

     

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