5 Facts To Know When Choosing New Roofing

(BPT) – When choosing products and materials for a new roof, many homeowners focus mainly on color and what their shingles will look like next to their existing siding or brick.

Naturally, aesthetics and curb appeal are important. But an even more crucial element of your new roof is the attic ventilation system.

If your roofer doesn’t install a well-designed ventilation system through your attic, your home could be subject to problems ranging from moisture damage to irreversibly warped shingles to hazardous mold on your walls and insulation.

Not only can smart choices in ventilation have a positive effect on your wallet (a well-conceived roof replacement can produce an ROI of some 68% when you go to sell), but they can significantly impact the beauty of your home and help you avoid costly repairs.

Here are five key facts you should know about residential attic ventilation systems before installing a new roof.

  1. All homes accumulate moisture. The USDA reports a standard U.S. household produces up to six gallons of incidental moisture each day, thanks to sources like showers, dishwashers, washing machines, weather and potted plants. For reasons of health, however, the CDC recommends keeping interior humidity below a standard 50%. If excess dampness isn’t released outdoors through effective attic ventilation, it can promote mold and mildew growth on walls and insulation and/or rise to linger in your attic. In cold weather the excess heat and moisture in your attic can melt the snow on your roof, creating ice dams that can cause damage to the shingles and roof deck.
  2. Today’s homes are more airtight. In the past, less-sophisticated residential construction meant interior moisture was able to escape more easily through walls, seams, chimneys, etc. That’s less likely to happen in today’s more energy-efficient homes that are sealed up tight, which means that proper ventilation is more important than ever to help eliminate any trapped moisture.
  3. Many of today’s ventilation systems are ineffective. Boxed, slant-back and turbine vents are intermittently installed and often fail to create the necessary 50/50 balance of intake and exhaust. This means less air movement in the attic and ventilation that only happens where those vents are installed. Ridge vents are the only vent type that can be installed in a continuous line along your rooftops to evenly vent across the entire roof and eliminate trapped air. Handy ventilation calculators are available online and can help you determine the ventilation needed for that optimal balance; if your roofer seems unfamiliar with the 50/50 concept, you may wish to seek a more experienced roofer.
  4. Ridge vents don’t look like old-fashioned vents. While older vent styles tend to jut out of your rooftop and stand out against shingles or tiles, today’s more modern ridge vents are nearly invisible. That roof accessory choice is one area homeowners seem to overlook the most, and it can make or break the overall beauty of your roof. Today’s ridge vents are a safe choice because they fit with any architectural style and work with a variety of roofing materials including asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, flat tiles, metal and stone-coated steel.
  5. Certain vents can be high-maintenance. Static varieties can get clogged by snow, leaves, brush, insects, birds, rodents or other debris, and if they’re mechanically powered they may be prone to electric shortages or wiring issues. Ridge vents, conversely, are self-powered and built with a membrane that prevents rain, snow or debris from sneaking in.

For more tips on making smart choices in roofing, visit the Quarrix website to download the “Homeowner’s Guide to Ventilation.”

Money-Saving Roofing Secrets Every Homeowner Should Know

(BPT) – Replacing an aging or damaged roof is an important step in providing crucial protection from the damage the elements can dish out – from heat, wind and rain, to snow, sleet and hail. But homeowners may not realize that the type of roof shingle they choose can make a big difference, not only in the protection it offers to the home, but also in the cost of their homeowners’ insurance.

Here are a few things homeowners should keep in mind when looking to save money with a new roof.

Roof replacement can save money

Even though it’s initially costly, homeowners in large parts of the country can actually save money by installing a new roof, as long as they choose the right shingle.

For years, insurance carriers have been incentivizing homeowners to install shingles that are rated for impact resistance in an effort to reduce the number of roof claims. As a result, using qualifying impact-resistant roofing products may qualify for significant premium discounts on homeowners’ insurance in some states.

“Insurance companies are spending so much each year replacing roofs that we’ve started to see some companies change their straight deductible to a percentage of the home’s total value,” said Curt Boyd, owner of Academy Roofing in Aurora, Colorado. “Homeowners see a $4,000 deductible and they don’t want to spend that to replace their roof every two years. They start looking for ways to buy value.”

The nudge toward impact-rated shingles (sometimes called “IR” shingles) is increasing. Recently, some municipalities in Colorado went as far as mandating UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Resistance classification for all new roofs, a trend that’s anticipated to continue growing into other severe weather-prone areas.

The type of shingles you use matters

Most major shingle brands now have a UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Resistance classified shingle available, but the way the shingles are reinforced differs widely. The newest IR asphalt shingle on the market, the Heritage IR shingle from TAMKO Building Products, Inc. reinforces the entire back of the shingle with a strong polyester fabric. Other methods used to reinforce IR shingles include using fabric over just portions of the shingle or coating the shingle with another substance.

While they are distinctly different than traditional shingles because of their reinforcement, these UL 2218 classified options still offer the pleasing aesthetics homeowners have come to expect from modern asphalt shingles. Heritage IR features the same naturally-deep shadow lines that portray the look of wood shakes, and they are available in some of the company’s most popular color choices.

Check with your insurance carrier

Many major insurance providers offer premium discounts for UL 2218 Class 4 classified shingles, but the percentage of savings and the areas of the country where the discount applies vary by insurance carrier. Homeowners should check with their insurance carrier online to see a list of pre-approved shingles and regions, and check with their local agent for a quote of the premium discount for their specific home. Boyd with Academy Roofing said that he’s seen premium discounts close to 30 percent in Colorado for Class 4-rated products.

Learning about the newest and most effective shingles on the market can help save money and worry, both by protecting the home from the top down and potentially reducing insurance costs. Homeowners contacting their insurance carrier and getting educated about roofing options can help them make a smart choice for both their homes and their wallets.

5 Ways To Brighten Up Your Home With Daylighting

(BPT) – Looking for relatively quick, doable home improvement projects that won’t break the bank? You can create a bright, cheerful home just by changing the lighting. A well-lit space can make rooms appear more spacious, as well as brighten the colors of your new decor or accessories. As you begin to plan your lighting, consider a daylighting system that brings natural brightness to all the areas in your home.

These daylighting basics will help you find the best system for your space.

1. Daylighting systems bring true natural light into your home

First, let’s talk about what daylighting systems are, because there are many lighting options available today that claim to provide natural daylight. These lightbulbs that are labeled as “daylight” are designed to mimic natural light as closely as they can, but these bulbs are not true sources of natural light.

Solatube Daylighting Systems, on the other hand, are designed to capture the sun’s perfect natural brightness and deliver it into indoor spaces, like traditional skylights. Unlike traditional skylights, however, daylighting systems are much more versatile to work in any room in your home. They are also leak-proof, plus more cost-effective and time-effective than traditional skylights that are built into the home’s architecture.

2. Natural light reduces energy use

Daylighting systems harness the sun’s light, which means you’re using less energy to light up your home. If you’re environmentally conscious and trying to incorporate more sustainable living practices into your day-to-day routine, adding daylight into your home is an easy and long-term solution. Because they use less energy, daylighting systems also cut down on utility costs. You’ll save money even taking installation costs into consideration in the long run.

3. Daylighting systems are designed to maintain brightness even in corners

Traditional skylights can provide natural lighting, but these structures are limited and not possible for all rooms in the home. New daylighting systems can be installed for any interior. Plus, the Spectralight Infinity Tubing is designed using the most reflective materials and in configurations that allow all areas of the room to be bright, including hard-to-reach corners.

4. Accessories are available to help your daylighting system meet your needs exactly

Every interior is different, and that’s why daylighting systems can be modified with accessories to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a solar-powered nightlight solution, a dimmer add-on or a ventilation component for rooms like the bathroom, there’s an accessory to help your daylighting system work for your space.

5. Installing a daylighting system in your home is easy

The technology for daylighting systems might be complex, but installing one in your home is not. Transforming your space with a daylighting system only takes two hours and requires minimal structural changes to your home. Ready to bring true natural light into your home? Learn more about daylighting systems and how you can use them to improve your home by visiting https://www.solatube.com.

4 Ways to Recreate Your Entertaining Space

(BPT) – The holidays, the big game, New Year’s and everything in between: At this time of year there are plenty of reasons to invite family and friends to your home to entertain. In addition, there are also plenty of times – particularly on cold winter nights – when you just want to have a place you can go to get cozy, play a video game or watch a movie in peace.

Either can be an appealing option, but do you have an entertaining space that fits the bill? One where you want to spend your free time?

If the thought of your entertaining space has you sadly shaking your head no, the good news is there’s no reason you have to settle for a less-than-ideal solution. Like the events you use it for, your space can change as needed. To help you make the most of your space for all of the group and individual events you have planned, follow these tips.

Control light.

A common design tip for most spaces is to allow for lots of light. You may want that when everyone comes together to watch a game, but for those times when you want to watch a film or play a video game, a darker environment may be more immersive. To keep total control of the light in your entertaining area, invest in room-darkening blinds or dark curtains that can block out the sun when you crave darkness and let in the light when you don’t.

Redefine your viewing experience.

When people come to your home, they will often be there to watch something on the screen. That makes the right technology essential. The 4K UHD Laser Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector is perfect for binge-watching the hottest shows, enjoying an immersive gaming experience or cheering on your favorite team. The projector itself can be ceiling mounted or set up to reflect onto any screen you want, and because it is empowered with Smart TV, you’ll have access to wireless streaming, Netflix and YouTube. What’s more, HDMI and HDCP input make your projector ready for Blu-ray and gaming consoles right out of the box. Whatever you want to do or watch, this project enhances your experience.

Install a seating strategy.

Every entertaining area has viewing seats that are less than ideal, and while a new projector can expand your viewing options, there’s still no reason to settle for second-class seating. If you’re planning to have a large group over on game day, a simple platform can provide your room with stadium seating and give everyone that at-the-game feel. If stadium seating isn’t for you, strive for an open arrangement and place display tables and other storage solutions behind seating when guests come over. Those items don’t need a good viewing angle anyway.

Add a few extra comforts.

It’s time to take customizing your entertaining space up a notch by adding a few elements that are uniquely you. From full bars to mini fridges, humidors and portable air conditioners or dehumidifiers, there are several tiny additions you can make to any entertaining area to make the space more enjoyable. If you’ve ever wished you had something nearby, now’s your time to add it. Think it over and you’ll see that the right additions can have a big impact on how you use the space and how much you enjoy it. Reshape your entertaining space today. With so many big events coming up, every moment you waste in reshaping your entertaining space is another opportunity missed, so don’t delay. Start visualizing your space for what it could be instead of what it is and you’ll be on your way to creating the entertaining space you’ve always wanted.

To learn more about the LG’s latest 4K UHD projector and to see it in action, watch the team from Inverse play this year’s hottest game on this one-of-a-kind technology at https://www.inverse.com/squad-up.

5 Smart Ideas To Refresh Your Deck

(BPT) – As seasons turn, your focus begins to shift to the outdoors. Your deck or patio becomes your new living room – an ideal setting for memorable moments with friends and family. If you look at these spaces and long for a refresh, the time to start planning is now. You have options, and many you can do yourself with minimal effort.

To start, if you don’t have a deck or patio, research materials carefully before making an investment. One prevalent building trend involves making the smart choice toward natural, environmentally friendly materials that will never end up in landfills. As such, more homeowners are choosing Real Cedar because it is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects. It’s low-maintenance and easy to work with, being durable yet lightweight, laying straight and taking fasteners easily. Plus, nothing looks, feels or smells quite like cedar.

To refresh your deck with style and functionality, consider these five trending outdoor-living projects:

Planter boxes:

If you want to add beauty and functionality to your deck, construct planter boxes and put them in sunny spaces. From small boxes that house herb gardens to larger boxes that allow vegetables to thrive, you can have a bounty of fresh flavors right outside your door. No need for a garden plot! Planter box designs come in a variety of sizes and can be built low to the ground or at waist height for easy tending.

Outdoor sectionals:

Built-in sectionals are becoming a focal point and favorite hangout spot on the deck. Perfectly set into a corner, these multi-directional couches can be built as large or small as you desire. Use Real Cedar for your project because it is pitch- and resin-free, so accepts and holds a wide variety of finishes beautifully so you can customize the look to your tastes. Finish with cushions for that decorator touch and you’ll have your new favorite cozy outdoor corner.

Water features:

As homeowners look to make their decks and patios a true retreat from the stress of everyday life, they want to add elements of Zen, which is why fountains and water features are becoming so popular. New decks are often built to incorporate these features, including pathways where water provides a calm ambiance. If a pond is too significant an undertaking, fountains provide a more affordable alternative that can be used in any size space.

Pergolas:

These beautiful semi-shelters can be built in a number of useful configurations depending on how much shade you require, what you wish to situate beneath it (A dining set? Outdoor couches and chairs? Grilling equipment?) and whether you want to incorporate climbing plants. For complete project plans and instructions on how to make your own pergola over a weekend, visit www.realcedar.com.Lighting: When the sun goes down that doesn’t mean the fun should stop. Add lighting to extend the functionality and enjoy special moments under the stars on your deck or patio. Stair, railing and pathway lighting add a necessary safety feature, while under-table lighting and deck-post sconces provide the perfect illumination for the space without being overwhelming. For a touch of twinkle, add a few outdoor string lights in white, or for a more festive atmosphere, go for the color of your choice.

These five outdoor living ideas are sure to enhance any size deck or patio space. Make plans today so you can enjoy many seasons of fun outdoors with loved ones.

Real Estate Financing: The 3 main Factors Lenders Consider

(BPT) – Sponsored ad content from Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.

Buying a new home is an exciting milestone. While finding the right home is essential, the most important step toward homeownership is making sure you’re ready to apply for a home loan.

Applying for a mortgage is not something people do every day, so it’s natural to have questions. There are several factors that help determine a loan decision, along with strategies you can follow to help position yourself for the best loan at the best rates.

Angela Patterson, Vanderbilt Mortgage director of Credit and Credit Services, explains the three factors that have the biggest influence on any loan decision.

Credit

Your credit is a critical factor for lenders making a loan decision. They will learn more about your credit history and credit score by pulling a credit report.

A credit report shows how well an applicant has repaid any loan or credit obligation. Usually lenders look at the most recent pay history and look for debts with a high balance. While score is important and will most likely have an impact on the interest rate offered, the detailed pay history plays a significant role in whether an applicant is approved or declined.

Does this mean if you have a past blemish on your credit you will be denied a home loan? Not necessarily. There are many factors lenders consider.

“It is very important to our team to call every applicant,” says Patterson. “Our customers are more than just a credit score. We want to understand their journey and provide the financing program that best fits their situation.”

Income and debts

Determining your ability to repay the debt on time each month is important to a lender when making a loan decision. A debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is one of the tools lenders use to determine your ability to pay. Two things need to be calculated to know this percent: monthly income and the existing credit obligations that are paid monthly.

Lenders typically use verified gross monthly income, your pay before taxes, when determining an ability to repay. Gross monthly income includes a paycheck from an employer, plus any money you may receive in government aid, child support or pensions.

After totaling gross income, the lender will need to determine the amount of debt the applicant pays toward each month. Typically, lenders use a credit report to identify the applicant’s debts. Some examples include car payments, student loans and credit card balances.

Employment

Employment is another important factor that goes into a loan decision. Lenders will look at the type and length of employment. If a person is self-employed, the applicant will need to prove steady income over a two-year period.

Consistent and non-temporary employment are seen favorably by most lenders. This means being regularly employed for two or more years. Consistent employment shows a lender stability in an applicant’s source of income, which is an indicator of their ability to repay the loan.

How does the lender learn about your employment history? Typically, they will request a Verification of Employment from your employer and will consider the information provided in the loan decision.

Next steps

Understanding these three factors and knowing where your personal finances fit within them is important when applying for a home loan. While there are other things lenders consider, making sure you are financially fit in these three areas is a great start to getting ready to buy a home.

Retaining Walls To the Rescue

(BPT) – Segmental retaining wall (SRW) units are one of the most versatile landscaping tools in the homeowner’s and professional landscaper’s toolbox. Retaining wall units have evolved from just being used to retain soil, transition slopes and prevent erosion. Today’s SRWs can do all that plus serve as multipurpose building blocks for a variety of outdoor-living features, including stairs, columns, freestanding walls, tiered walls, curved walls, seating and more.

Creative designs

While SRWs still beautifully accomplish their original intent, professionals and homeowners alike can easily create hardscape features that make outdoor-living spaces more useful and enjoyable. “Our landscape designers are very inventive in their use of segmental retaining wall units, and our customers really appreciate all the features that can be created with SRWs,” says Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Products such as the VERSA-LOK retaining wall system can be creatively adapted by homeowners and professionals to accommodate curves, corners, columns and tiers – without any special pieces. For example, one popular application is a retaining wall that employs a convex curve set into a small slope. Additional courses can be stacked against the lower courses of the wall to create a “couch” or seating area to surround a circular paver patio and fire pit installed at ground level.

Freestanding walls

Freestanding walls are common applications for retaining wall units. Sometimes called garden or seat walls, freestanding walls are designed to surround the perimeter of a patio and can serve as space for seating or potted plants. They also add a measure of privacy around an outdoor-living space, and when designed with inset columns, can be a support for fencing.

Tiered walls

Tiered walls are a common solution for grade changes and erosion control. The benefit of tiered walls is that they look great, and the space in between the walls can be used for a patio or for perennials, shrubs, vegetables or herbs. Tiered walls add visual depth and texture to a hardscape design and can be more aesthetically pleasing than a single wall. Stairs incorporated into a tiered wall design give safe access to a home on a slope or hill. A tiered design also creates a low-maintenance landscape, eliminating the need to mow a difficult slope.

Stepping up

Retaining wall units can serve as risers for steps. Stair treads can be finished with special precast stair tread units or bullnose (round-edged) paving stones. When installed in a contrasting shade or color, stair treads add interest to a hardscape design. Stairs created from retaining wall units can be placed within a tiered wall design, in a single wall or with wing walls on each side. Raised patios, built with a foundation created by SRWs, are another popular feature that is often used to replace high-maintenance decks.

Can-do columns

Columns created with SRWs are a versatile, beautiful and functional feature within a hardscape design. They can support a pergola, lighting or other landscape features such as statuary, and are used to finish off the ends of a freestanding or seat wall. They can also be installed at intervals within a wall design, and columns create an attractive way to frame and support fencing.

The use of SRWs is limited only by the imagination for outdoor-living features. With a variety of colors, textures and configurations, the VERSA-LOK retaining wall system is one that can do it all – from landscape walls designed with curves, columns, corners and steps to professionally engineered, soil-reinforced retaining walls. VERSA-LOK, the original solid, pinned SRW system, enables homeowners and professionals to create multi-angle corners, curves, stairs, columns and freestanding walls with just one type of unit, and no voids to fill or special pieces to purchase.

“VERSA-LOK is the one block I do 90 percent of my projects with; it can do it all,” says Stan Genadek, owner of Genadek Excavating and Landscaping in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, and the creator and host of a popular YouTube channel on landscaping, “Stanley ‘Dirt Monkey’ Genadek.” Says Genadek: “Because of its versatility and ease of installation, VERSA-LOK is the gold standard in retaining wall systems.”

2019 Outdoor Living and Design Trends For Every Homeowner

(BPT) – Outdoor living continues to grow in 2019 as homeowners dream of adding spaces that provide tranquility, connection and touches of nature. More than just a home enhancement, these spaces are meant to inspire people to set digital devices aside and find moments of calm while making memories with friends and family.

Now is the perfect time to plan updates to outdoor living areas so as the seasons turn, you’re ready to enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest. Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard, offers his expert insight into top outdoor design trends of the year that you should consider for your home.

Blurring of indoor and outdoor areas

Beyond windows and patio doors, home designs are truly blending indoor and outdoor areas thanks to features like folding walls and collapsible screens. For example, imagine a family room that opens up completely to an outdoor patio for easy entertaining, made possible by retractable walls plus smart lighting and strategic heating and cooling sources for seasonal comfort. These types of integrated spaces make the backyard a one-of-a-kind extension of the home.

Clean lines and contemporary style

Modern lines are a top interior design trend and it is expanding into outdoor living spaces, offering a seamless visual transition. Contemporary style with clean lines, textures and shapes have taken over more traditional styles, particularly among younger homeowners. Modular, large-format pavers embrace this trend and are expected to continue to increase in popularity, with smoother textures gaining traction.

Monochromatic and “greige” tones

The contemporary trend also leans toward monochromatic color schemes. Gray continues to be popular, with the growing trend of “greige” – blends of gray and beige tones – poised to take off in 2019. These muted hues blend seamlessly with the landscape, plus they allow homeowners to use strategic pops of color with furniture and flowers to create customized spaces that reflect their personalities perfectly.

Outdoor kitchens and fire features

In an effort to make outdoor spaces an authentic extension of the home, livability is a priority. That means outdoor kitchens and fire features continue to be a top trend. Kitchen additions like pizza ovens are reflective of the foodie movement, while fire features using gas fuel rather than wood are reflective of the desire for convenience, plus they are a good fit for many municipal regulations.

Sustainability is king

As more homeowners are prioritizing green living, outdoor designs that become a part of the local ecosystem are in high demand. This could include planting to support pollinators and integrating edible landscape into the design. Water features are growing in popularity, used to add a tranquil element to outdoor spaces while masking unwanted sounds, such as traffic or other noise pollution.

Visualization of designs

Partnering with the right designer is key to achieving the outdoor space of your dreams. More homeowners are asking for 3D designs in order to properly conceptualize a space before it is brought to life through construction. Belgard Design Studio can take a simple sketch with dimensions and a few photos and turn it into a 3D rendering or virtual reality experience so homeowners can see the true potential of their outdoor space.

Small footprint designs

Outdoor living isn’t just for homeowners with large properties. Houses with small footprints are adding impressive outdoor spaces in surprising places. This could be maximizing alleyway access, adding a courtyard to a small backyard, or shifting the focus by utilizing the front yard to create a patio and fireplace area. If you long for an outdoor living space, don’t let space constraints limit your dreams.

These 2019 outdoor living trends, in effect, will prove to create a year full of innovative outdoor projects that fit the needs of every homeowner.

Connectivity Is King This Home-Buying Season

(BPT) – The spring home-buying season is just around the corner and that means people are busy making improvements to get their homes ready to sell. These days, home upgrades are increasingly focused on one key feature: connectivity. In 2019, buyers want smart homes they can easily control from anywhere. From smart HVAC and sprinkler systems to connected garage door openers, it’s all about creating convenience and comfort.

Security gets connected

Security systems are nothing new, but the technology used to arm those systems is changing rapidly. More and more home security companies now offer fully connected systems that allow users to protect and monitor their homes from any smart device. Whether it’s a live video feed, the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely or just checking that all sensors are working properly, integrated security systems offer peace of mind. Having the infrastructure in place can be a selling point for buyers who want to make sure their new home is as safe as possible, given they’ll only have to set up the monitoring subscription upon move-in.

Updated garages add value

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value survey, a garage door replacement is the number one home improvement project in terms of return on investment. But these days, more homeowners are taking it a step further and installing new technology to make the garage more user friendly. For example, the SilentMax Connect garage door opener from The Genie Company comes with Aladdin Connect technology built-in to improve convenience and functionality. Not only is the opener super quiet – ideal for attached garages – but the connectivity features allow you to check whether your garage door is open or closed, grant individual access with virtual keys, instantly know when someone is operating your garage door (authorized or not), and provide a log of when each opener was used – all from your phone or smart device. Thanks to this technology, you can open the garage door remotely for delivery people, a housekeeper or for your child coming home from school. Considering your garage is one of the most accessed points in your home, this functionality is a great security feature and proves that garages offer more than just storage space. With the right connectivity tools and features, they can provide convenience that will be attractive to future owners.

Save energy, increase comfort

As home improvement trends go, increased connectivity is rivaled only by the desire for more energy-efficient homes. Smart thermostats accomplish both these aims and can increase the value of your home in the process. Smart thermostats let you easily control the temperature in your home from any connected device. You can set a daily schedule for your heater, adjust the temperature in individual rooms or let the system program itself based on your usage history. For energy-conscious buyers, this kind of technology provides a way of living that’s as aspirational as it is attainable.

Lighting the way

Smart lighting has turned from a novelty to a practical tool as products have gotten more advanced. Programmable lighting allows you to schedule when your lights will come on, turn on and off lights remotely or change the lighting to improve aesthetics. With a smart lighting system, you’ll never have to get out of bed to turn the lights off downstairs, and you can always come home to a fully lit house, boosting your sense of security. With these kinds of applications, your home’s lighting can go from a ‘given’ to a must-have, attracting buyers like a moth to a flame.

New, smart products are hitting the market every day. For homeowners savvy enough to incorporate this new technology into their homes, they’ll not only be more connected, but they’ll likely see more offers rolling in when it comes time to sell.

5 Ways To Create an Inviting Room Using Tile

(BPT) – Today’s tile trends extend so far beyond their traditional use as a staple of bathroom design that you may not recognize them. While once the most attractive and innovative tiles had to be imported, contemporary handcrafted tile and stone products for home design are now being made right here in the United States.

Homeowners and interior designers alike are always seeking distinctive visual touches to make each home special. Here are five ways tile design can enhance a room.

Elevate small spaces. Use tiles interchangeably to create a unique design. The Ann Sacks Radius Collection by designer Barbara Barry has five distinct modular designs that can be used independently, or combined to create patterns to delight the eye. Creative use of a variety of tile shapes like these can easily elevate small spaces such as baseboards, fireplace surrounds or backsplash areas in a kitchen.

Make a color statement. Whether you choose a single color or mix colors to create a pattern, the choices can overwhelm. “I enjoy the soft juxtaposition of watery blue tones, soft green tones and the neutral colors of gravel,” explained Barry. While Barry is known for her love of soft colors, you may choose colors that best complement elements already in the room. If you’re not working with a designer, consider traditional complementary color pairs when making decor choices, such as red-green, blue-orange or yellow-purple.

Create a calm mood. The latest trends in interior design reflect the desire for homes to be sanctuaries. Inspired by the clean lines, appropriate scale and exacting proportion prevalent in Midcentury Modern architectural design, Barry describes her collection as “soft modern, defined by a curved edge for a sensual feel.” Barry adds, “In this busy world, I want to come home to calm rooms and quiet spaces.” Choosing colors, lines, shapes and scale with simplicity in mind can help contribute to a feeling of calm.

Personalize your space. Find what appeals to you, and work with a designer or manufacturer who can meet your requests. In her collection, Barry provides tools for consumers or designers to customize patterns. Designed to spark the imagination, five distinct patterns in varying scales punctuate interiors with personality. Smaller manufacturers can personalize your project with their flexibility, customizing color choices and resurrecting a retired pattern or color, or even by recreating tiles present in a home refurbishing or renovating project. Make your space your own.

Create visual interest. Choose different textures through materials like wood, glass or tile to break up an otherwise ordinary surface in a room. Radius is available in all Made by Ann Sacks matte and gloss colorways, which can be installed as a singular color statement or mixed to evoke a unique, personalized design, whether to create a captivating statement-making wall or to cover an entire floor. The choice of tile adds a textural element to a room that can’t be duplicated by any other material.

Ann Sacks fell in love with tile while on a family vacation to Mexico when she was 13, and later used that passion to create a business inspired by those Mexican tiles. She hired gifted artisans to grow her business into a true American success story. Ann Sacks, founded in 1981 in Portland, Oregon, draws talented craftspeople to create inspiring designs in tile, stone, plumbing, lighting and accessories. These creations are traditional in terms of craft, but aligned with contemporary design trends. Today, the company includes the work of 15 designers.

Whether you choose to use tile in a more traditional way in your bath or kitchen, or to elevate another space inside a home with a more innovative style, use a customized design and select colors to create a unique environment anyone would want to call home.