Three paint lids in a row with paint brushed placed on them. The colors are sage green, pastel pink, and a soft gray.

Preparing to Paint Your Home

Whether it is a new-to-you space or a familiar one, painting can always be a fun project. While fun, it can also feel overwhelming. To help prevent it from feeling that way, let’s go over some tips and tricks to making this process as easy as you can.

Before you first shake up and open that paint can, it is important to plan out what you want your room to look like. Picking your color is a fun part of the process but you’ll want to keep some things in mind:

Lighting:

Consider the lighting in your room. If you do not have a lot of natural light or if there is dim lighting, you will want to consider a lighter color than a darker one.

Need some inspiration? See what’s trending this year.

Other colors in the room:

Coordinate your paint colors with your furniture and curtains. While those items are replaceable, it is a good idea to see if your paint swatch will go with that color beforehand, so you don’t have to purchase new if you weren’t wanting to.

TIP: If you do have a room that you want to keep light but add a bit of drama, consider doing an accent wall!

Couple painting a wall in their home together. A woman is standing on a ladder while a man paints with a roller.

Materials:

Once you have picked out your paint colors, it’s time to gather your supplies.

  • Besides the paint, you’ll need an angled brush to cut in and rollers for the walls.
  • To protect your floors, add an old sheet or cotton drop cloth to your list. (You can always shop a thrift store for old sheets too).
  • Using quality painter’s tape will help prevent paint bleeding through and last, but not least, primer. Primer is cheaper and will help you use less coats of paint. It may feel like more work at the beginning but skipping this step will have you wishing you didn’t in the end.

Before you start your project, consider your local weather. The less humidity, the faster your paint will dry and will prevent drip marks on the wall. Prepping your walls before painting is also important as it adheres the best to a clean surface. If you have wallpaper, consider whether you want to remove it or paint over it.

Tip: If you start painting but need to stop. You can wrap your roller or brush in plastic wrap then place in the fridge. This will help keep your paint fresh, so you don’t have to wash it out in between coats.

Now that you know all that you need to get started, let’s get that project going!

Want to switch up your furniture to match your own room but don’t want to buy new? Check out how here.


Mobile Home Upgrades That May Improve Value

There are some relatively easy upgrades you can add to your home for little cost. One of the great things about mobile homes is that there is so much you can do with them, and often a little research and how-to knowledge is all you need to achieve the look or project you desire. Let’s check out some ideas!

Insulation is a great upgrade for your mobile home. It not only will regulate your temperatures, but it may also possibly help lower your energy bills. Plus, there are plenty of options that won’t even inconvenience you while it’s being added!

Painting the walls in your mobile home can add the personal touch you’ve been wanting. Most mobile homes have vinyl-on-gypsum wall panels, which means the walls are coated and will probably need some sanding or a paint with primer to stick properly. Get all the details about painting your mobile home walls.

Spruce up your home by updating your kitchen cabinets. From knobs to paint color, all it takes is a little embellishment. Get started on painting your cabinets with a kit today!

You can also work on making your home more energy efficient. This may mean a smart thermostat that fluctuates throughout the day, new windows, sealing your roof, etc. These upgrades usually help regulate the temperature within your home as well. Don’t stop there, there are tons of easy ways to save energy in your home without spending money. Get energy saving tips!

Lastly, Landscaping can add tons of charm to your home. You can choose a color scheme or just unique plants, the choice is yours! Not only will landscaping look great, but it can absorb water and keep your home dry, too! Try some of our landscaping ideas to improve drainage!

There are many more updates out there, including upgrades you can look into that won’t cost much for your home. It’s really about knowing your home and yourself enough to know what you’d benefit from as well as what you’re willing to keep up with!

Simple Ways to Prep Your Yard/Exterior for Fall

When I became a homeowner I learned that fall really is the most important time for your lawn. It’s when you put in the most work (or should) and it’s finally not a million degrees, so you can linger in your yard to get some things done. Dig out the gloves, borrow a ladder, free up some storage space, and let’s get busy making your yard ready for autumn!

  • Start your landscaping/gardening. Fall is usually the best time to plant flowers, trees, and some veggies. Check the Farmer’s Almanac for your area. Seasons of planting vary by weather, last frost, and soil type.
  • Another thing to do late summer, early fall is aerate your land. You can usually pay someone to do this, or rent a machine yourself.
  • This is also a great time to start a compost bin. Want less waste, and richer soil? You may just like composting. Follow this easy home magazine to learn more and get some information to help you create your compost station!
  • Clean those gutters. You want them to drain right for the coming season.
  • Also, try putting your tools away. From buckets to water hoses, you’ll want to store anything that can freeze away for now.
  • Sweep off your deck/driveway. Rain and leaves will stain these areas and leave them in a mess. Keep the mess at bay by sweeping off leaves and debris. Same goes for your lawn. Keep them off the grass or mow over them.

    Duran Family_The Ranch Model 43ERZ30764GH17_Texas_2019-57
    Keep your deck space looking great!
  • Fix that slippery spot. Lay down some seed for muddy places, stepping stones for uneven areas, etc. It will get worse when it freezes in winter, so best to address it now.

Seasonal maintenance can add longevity to your home, and beauty and safety to your lawn. Take some time this weekend to take care a couple of these items. The long term is worth it!

Now Add Some Flair!

A Quick Guide to Staining Your Deck

Staining your deck adds major curb appeal to your home, while also preserving your deck. It’s relatively easy to stain your deck; there are just some important aspects you want to remember. Let’s discover some helpful tips!

Where do I start?

With cleaning! You’ll need to sweep your deck thoroughly to begin.

Unless your deck was just built, you’ll need to clean it. Pressure washing is an option but it soaks the wood so you’ll have to wait ample time for the wood to dry. You can also try a deck cleaner, which is more cost effective at about $10-20 a bottle. If needed, sand rough or uneven areas of the decking before staining. Fix any blemishes and/or replace rotted or broken deck planks, etc. Deck cleaners also take time to dry, often the best bet is a combo of pressure washing and a cleaner.

What if my deck has been stained previously?

You’ll want to apply a deck stripper first or use a scraping method if only little remains, then you’ll clean as mentioned above. It is not recommended to just apply over top of old stain.

When should I stain my deck?

Warm seasons are your best bet. Late spring and early summer are ideal. However, consider your area’s rainy season. Your deck will need about two days to dry after being cleaned and then about two days to dry from the stain. Keep in mind the time frame, too. Projects always take longer than you expect. Give yourself a whole day for this project.

Wood_Family_Testimonial_2018_078
Preserve your deck today!

What supplies do I need?

  • Experts recommend using a paint pad attached to a pole (I recommend two for quicker coverage or if one breaks) for the easiest and most even application. You can use a hand brush, but at the expense of your back. You could also try a roller. Or if you really want the job to go quickly, you can purchase a sprayer.
  • Don’t forget your stain! You’ll want a stain over a sealant as they offer better protection. Measure your area and try to estimate how much paint you’ll need. You can even select a paint color if you’d rather. Keep in mind for stains you may want to reapply yearly. However, most people reapply ever 3 – 5 years.
  • Also having plastic and tape or a tarp of some kind to cover the side of your home with will be helpful to avoid stain getting on it.
  • Rags for any mistakes!

Now throw the stain on?

Not quite. You’ll want to tape off any areas that could easily be stained due to close proximity to your deck. If your deck has had time to dry and you’ve checked the weather for two dry days during application – you’re ready to start!

What strategy should I use?

Start with the tops of railings and move down, painting the walking surface last. Be sure to paint underneath railing. Experts recommend laying a cloth drop with a paint pad container on it as you work through the staining process.

That’s it!

Now that you’ve stained your deck allow at least 2-3 days for it to dry completely. It may need an extra coat or touch ups so take care of those as needed. Enjoy your deck and the sunshine! Now throw a party and invite your neighbors and show off that deck!

Play Summer Games With the Family!

woman looking through clothes in her closet

How to Reuse 5 Everyday Items

We have so many options with recycling. You might have a recycling bin at your house that your city picks up. Or you might have your own bin you take to a recycling center. With gently used items, you can always donate them to a local resale store or to someone you know would get good use out of them. But what about the items that don’t fit into either category?

It can be hard to figure out what to do with those items. So, we’ll be looking at how to reuse items that you can’t recycle but aren’t good for the trash either.

Some items can’t be tossed due to a chemical or chemicals in their makeup. For these items many recyclers and re-users recommend not burning items you can’t throw away because burning usually releases the chemicals quickly into the air. So what can you do with these objects?

Reusing is a good alternative as it allows the product to stay intact and not fill a landfill. Check out these solution suggestions for 5 common items on how to reuse them!

  1. Tires. Tires are a necessity if you have a car and if you don’t want to pay to have them collected, you’ll probably be left with some over time. Instead of just letting them pile up, why not find a creative way to give them new life? Check out some of these fun ideas:
    Teeter totter, tree swing, climbers, etc.
    Ottomans (outdoor)
    Flower planter
    Outdoor stairs / edging for garden
  2. Old clothes and/or towels (that aren’t donatable). If your clothes are too old to donate, but you don’t want to throw them away – these solutions may be good for you!
    • Cut them up into rags for cleaning/ various projects
    • Make them into blankets
    Make reusable bags out them
  3. Scrap wood. Reusing wood is a great idea, especially for outside projects. Depending on age and if the wood is treated or not can dictate what project you reuse it for. Typically, most woods are fine to be reused outside for a project.
    • Outdoor bench / table
    • Planter box for flowers
  4. Mirrors. These are a great way to add perceived space or light. Whether broken (wear gloves and take care using) or whole mirrors can add personality to any space.
    • Use various sizes and tie them or hook them along your fence or outdoor space for added flair
    • Make a mosaic (concreate steppers, on flower pots)
    More great ideas
  5. Hardback books. Old books or ones you’re not interested in reading or donating can be a perfect project! They require a little more creativity, but you can find a good use for them!
    • Paint the pages and reuse it as a journal
    • Use pages as a garland
    Tons of more projects here!

We hope that this post helps you think through how to creatively reuse some stubborn items. However, more than that, we hope this helps you get into the mindset of thinking through what you purchase and how you can use it long term when the original function is no longer applicable. Thinking this way helps us all to be resourceful consumers.

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Make Your Kitchen Sustainable

Small office space within mobile home

Creating an Office Space in Your Mobile Home

Whether or not you work from home, a home office is a space that can come in handy. It can be used for handling important items like your finances or a designated space for your kids to do their homework.

What do you do if you don’t have a specific office space in your mobile home though? Here are some ways that you can convert a nook in your home to your very own home office!

What should you look for when designating a space? First, decide how much space you will be needing. Overall, you won’t need much to make a makeshift office.

Here are some suggestions to help you consider your needs:

  • Do you need a place to write?
  • Do you have just a computer with one monitor, or two?
  • Will you need space for a printer or a place for a phone?
  • Will you need all the above?

Pinpointing your needs will help you create the ideal nook and utilize the space in the best way for you!

Young boy working on schoolwork at a desk nook in a mobile home.

Once you have decided on what all you will need for your office, look around your home for spaces that you can utilize.

Some examples are:

  • A closet – You can take the doors off or leave them on, then close them to hide your office! You can slide a desk in or even make a built-in space and add a chair. To get power here, run an extension cord.
  • A spare nook in your kitchen – Do you have a coffee bar that you can move and utilize that space?
  • An unused corner – You can create a corner desk or standard one to create your space.
  • Are you a family that rarely uses the kitchen table to eat? Take advantage of the large space and set up your home office there!
  • Do you have any other unused space areas that could be better utilized? You can use that space to set up shop there.

If you don’t have a desk already, you can get crafty to create the space you need! You could:

  • Use a spare table you or a friend may have
  • Dive in at a thrift store to find the perfect desk or table
  • Search yard sales
  • Build one
  • Convert an old bookshelf

Once you have the basics set up, find yourself a comfortable chair. This could be one you have around your home or can search for one the same way you found your desk space.

Finally, personalize! Take your small space and decorate. Add plants, pictures, mirrors, and a lamp to name a few suggestions to make the space cozy and your own little office away from work.

Get Small Space Inspiration!


Maintaining Your Water Heater

Your water heater is a modern-day convenience. We don’t always think about it like that or having to live without them until something goes wrong. Many of us have experienced when a water heater has died – and it’s not fun. Cold showers or water leaks are not welcomed surprises.

Water heaters last an average of 10 years and like any appliance, they require a little maintenance to keep working efficiently. To get the most out of your water heater it’s a good idea to do some check-ins.  Once a year, schedule time to either hire someone to complete maintenance or make plans to do it yourself. Also, be sure to consult the owner’s manual that came with the water heater so that you can follow the manufacturer’s recommended steps and to safely perform the maintenance.  In addition, hire a licensed plumber or pipe fitter to aide in any maintenance if you are unsure how to safely accomplish these tasks.

A visual inspection is something you can do yourself. This helps to identify any issues on the exterior such as loose screws, nuts, bolts, and gaskets. The goal with the visual inspection is to see what is worn and may need replacing and check for signs of rust or corrosion.

General Maintenance Tips to Consider:

  • Have the tank drained once or twice a year. During this process, flush the tank a couple of times to make sure all the sediment and debris is cleared out of the tank.
  • Besides just cleaning the water, the anode rod should be checked once a year. The purpose of this rod is to attract all the debris and sediment. This rod typically needs replacing every three to five years.

Photo of Water heater in utility closet

  • If your water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve), add checking the T&P valve to your list to make sure it is in proper working order. This is important to check as pressure can build up in the tank.  As mentioned above, be sure to consult the owner’s manual in order to safely perform this task. Not all water heaters have a T&P valve.

If your water heater is gas, it will have this valve. Some electric water heaters also have this.

  • If you have a tankless water heater, make sure to descale your water heater to rid the sediment and debris. Make sure the tankless heater is set appropriately and not too high. Doing this will decrease the buildup.

Signs your water heater may need maintenance:

  • leaks
  • low water pressure
  • hear clicking or if your water is rusty

Keeping a mindful eye on your water heater at least once a year will clue you into when it is nearing the end of its life span and help to keep it working efficiently. Doing this should help prevent any of those unwanted surprises.


Keep Maintaining Your Home!


woman cleaning in her spring kitchen

Say Hello to Spring with these Seasonal Maintenance Ideas

Winter is hard on your mobile home, but spring is here! With that in mind let’s explore how you can prepare your home for the season change. This is a time for cleaning. So find your overalls, pull your hair back, and gather your tools – it’s time to freshen up your home from the inside out!

If you’ve got a nicely landscaped yard, you’ll definitely need to get busy. Plants and grasses need prep work in March. Even though weather is pretty unruly during this time – one thing is for sure: warmer air is coming. Check out some of the options below to get you started.

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Make your home shine by trying some spring maintenance!

See Maintenance Tips Now!

Tips for Hanging Curtains in Your Manufactured Home

Manufactured homes often have smaller or nonconventional sized windows, thin window frames, or vinyl on gypsum walls that will require unique options for curtains. With a variety of different home types, this often requires you to be creative about how to hang curtains. We’ll look at some ways that will make it easy to enjoy curtains in your home.

  1. Easy ways to hang curtains –
  • Tension rods – These are probably the easiest, most affordable option. Tension rods fit to the frame using an internal suspension system. You will have to measure the maximum stretch of the rod to your window frame to ensure that it will reach. It’s best to pick one that is somewhat larger than it needs to be so that the fit is snug.
  • Magnetic rods / magnetic curtains – If your window frames are metal you may want to think of a magnetic option. You can find rods that connect magnetically, or you can even look for magnetic curtains that need no rod and connect at the top and bottom or all the way around your window frame.
  • Adhesive strips – These can be a quick option for lightweight curtains. These can add up in cost, so you’ll want to pick a curtain type that only has a few loops, or you also can lace a string or ribbon through the loops and just hook the ends.
  • Wall anchors – Thin wall anchors are helpful when you’re trying to hang something heavy in a mobile home. If you’re wanting to use a traditional rod – this is a good option to ensure it doesn’t damage your wall and stays put. Learn more about how to use thin wall anchors here.

2. Tips for how to hang curtains –

  • To make your windows seem larger and the room feel bigger, try purchasing curtains longer than your window. This is common advice found in home magazines. Often using curtains that hang to the ground looks best regardless of window size, but it’s up to you.
Curtains hung in a mobile home.
See how much light and space this trick adds!
  • If you’re using a regular rod, try hanging your curtains higher than the window. This will also make the windows feel bigger and will balance out the space around your window by framing it higher.
  • For magnetic or tension rods, try tying the curtain up in the middle or to the side for an added touch of style.

3. Tips for types of curtains to use-

  • Try using curtains that are light weight and opaque to keep your home well lit. With lightweight curtains, you will not have to worry if the fabric is too heavy for the rod or the hanging option you choose.  These add a classy touch to your home by allowing the light to stream in.
  • If you need curtains to block the light, try to find lightweight ones and ensure their weight will not bring down the hanging device you have chosen.

We hope that this has you inspired to hang or try something new with your curtains in your home.


More Homeowner Tips!