These 2016 Kitchen Design Trends Are on Track to Become Timeless

kitchen 2(BPT) – Some kitchen design trends fade as quickly as they come in – tile countertops, naked windows or avocado-hued appliances may come to mind. Other trends, however, are so deeply rooted in good design that they’re destined to become timeless style statements – and enhance your kitchen with a look you’ll love as much in a decade as you do the first moment you see it.

Those are the trends homeowners should watch for in 2016 and incorporate into their kitchen upgrade plans, says stylist and designer Emily Henderson, season five winner of HGTV’s “Design Star.” Given nearly nine in 10 homeowners plan to renovate their homes in the near future with half of them planning to do so within the next year, according to a survey by LG Electronics, being armed with the right information will help make those renovations a success.

“Timeless design has an enduring aesthetic that seamlessly complements a range of infinite kitchen styles and colors,” Henderson notes. “They create looks and enhance functionality in ways that will pay off for homeowners for years to come.”

Henderson points to five design trends to watch in 2016:

Open It Up

Areas that seem small or cramped have never been a staple in homes. Look for design enhancements that create a more open atmosphere, like open shelving or glass-front cabinets, which appear contemporary, sleek and functional. Open storage encourages organization, cuts clutter and eliminates chaos since the contents are always on display. They also provide a great way for homeowners to display their pretty dishware, Henderson notes.

Stainless Steel Revamp

Stainless steel appliances have long been the standard of elegance in modern kitchens. “It’s hard to imagine improving on such near-perfection, butkitchen LG Electronics’ new Black Stainless Steel Series of appliances have done just that,” Henderson says. The new finish from LG adds luster and warmth to the satin-smooth finish and durability of traditional stainless steel. The effect is warm and sophisticated, meshing perfectly with a range of kitchen design styles and colors. “It only helps that the finish is smudge-resistant, which is perfect for a mom like me who likes to keep things clean and pretty, especially with little ones around,” Henderson notes.

Let Your Personality Shine

Modern designs and the sheer number of home d├ęcor products make it easier than ever to personalize virtually any design theme. You can add a dash of your personality to your kitchen decor in many ways. Use decorative accents on counters and focus on underscoring a theme you love in the rest of the house, for instance. A lived-in look with touches of style adds life to the space. “I love vintage salt and pepper shakers, brass or wooden utensils, glass canisters, wooden bowls, enamel pots and even vintage cookbooks,” Henderson says. “You can find so many ways to add personal flair to a design, and it’s a sensibility that will never go out of style.”

Contrast is Good

Some combinations will always be on trend, and Henderson predicts more of them will be showing up in kitchen design in 2016. “Black and white, metallics like brass, gold or copper paired with natural and wooden touches – these combos will never tire,” she says. “They can be used alone or in combination with other elements. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.”

In celebration of 2016 design trends, you have a chance to win a suite of LG Black Stainless Steel Series kitchen appliances, $25,000 and a design consultation with Henderson to completely make over your kitchen. Now through Jan. 29, 2016, create your own kitchen design Pinterest board inspired by the black stainless steel finish and submit it to the contest. Visit HGTV.com/LGContest for contest details and how to enter.

No purchase necessary to participate in the contest. The contest is open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and District of Columbia, age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Contest ends at 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2016. For full official rules, visit www.hgtv.com/LGcontest. The contest is sponsored by LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc., 1000 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632.

6 Expert Maintenance Tips to Keep You Warm in Your Home All Winter Long

winter tips 2(BPT) – Is your heating system ready to brave the long, harsh winter? As cold temperatures take hold all over the country, it’s important for homeowners to safeguard their homes from heating system breakdowns.

“It’s fairly simple to ensure your home is ready for the freezing months ahead,” says Mike Clear, vice president of operations for home warranty company American Home Shield, which has responded to more than two million service requests for heating system issues over the past five years.

“Paying attention to little things now can help you avoid problems down the road, like unexpected repair or replacement expenses or disruption to your family’s routine.”

Clear offers tips to help you maintain your heating system and keep your home warm this winter:

1. Schedule a maintenance check-up.

Each year, have your heating system serviced by a qualified professional. This will not only keep small issues from escalating into bigger, costlier problems, but it can also extend the life of your heating system. Once you begin using your heat regularly, check the system filter and inspect the exhaust vent for rust and wear at least once per month.

2. Replace your filters.

Be sure to regularly check your heating system’s air filters and replace them as necessary, or at the manufacturer’s suggested intervals. Clean filterswinter tips 1 can help cut energy usage, extend the life of your unit and improve your home’s overall indoor air quality.

3. Routinely clean heating components.

Easy-to-reach heating system components, like air registers and radiators, should be kept clean and unobstructed. Put this on your weekly cleaning checklist to keep your unit from working harder than necessary.

4. Seal the leaks.

Keep warm air in and cold air out by making sure your doors and windows are properly caulked or have necessary weather stripping. Not only will this help you stay warm and comfortable, but it will reduce the stress on your heating system.

5. Consider a home warranty.

A home warranty, like those offered by American Home Shield, can help you control costs when covered components of your heating system or other covered items break down. Plus, with their network of professional contractors, you avoid the hassle of having to search yourself for a qualified technician to make repairs.

6. Check your hot water heater.

Inspect your hot water heater tank for leaks or corrosion, and flush it per the manufacturer’s instructions to eliminate sediment buildup. Test the pressure relief valve once a year to make sure it is working properly.

Follow these tips and you’ll stay warm and cozy this winter instead of getting stuck in a heating system rut. For more information and helpful homeowner advice, visit ahs.com/home-matters or learn how to protect your home with #AHSWinterMaintenance tips through the American Home Shield Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube channels.

Tips to Make Your Next DIY Home Improvement as Green as Possible

diy(BPT) – If you’re thinking about making your next DIY home improvement project “green,” but aren’t sure how to achieve a balance of eco-friendly and affordability, there’s good news. It’s now easier than ever, especially when you do the work yourself with rented equipment and choose salvaged building materials for your project.

As you plan your next home improvement, here are some tips to help you ensure it’s as green and cost-effective as possible:

* Rent rather than buy. While you probably have a respectable stock of basic DIY tools, some projects may call for equipment you don’t have. Rather than buy new, try renting the tools you need. Renting is cheaper than buying new tools, especially if it’s a specialized item you may not use again for a while, if at all. You’ll also avoid the hassle of having to store larger tools between projects.

Renting is also green. When you get a tool from a rental company, you’re basically sharing with other DIYers in your area, and that means cutting down on the energy use, materials consumption and pollution associated with producing, delivering and selling new tools. You can find an American Rental Association member store near you by visiting www.rentalHQ.com.

* Seek salvaged materials. When you decide on a home improvement project, one of the first things you consider is what material you’ll need. Before you hurry down to the home improvement store or lumber yard, however, consider if you can do your project with reclaimed materials.

Building a patio? Recycled bricks or pavers will do the job just as well as new, they cost less and they impart unique character that you just can’t getpavers from new materials. Installing a new wood floor in your family room? Wood flooring reclaimed from an old warehouse or barn not only reduces the amount of construction materials going into landfills, but it can give your floor an authentically rustic and historic flair. A simple online search can help you find suppliers of salvaged building materials in your area.

* Reuse from your own home. You don’t always have to buy reclaimed materials from outside sources. Often, you have items in your own home that could be used in your DIY projects. The front walk might need to be redone with level pavers, but the old ones could work great for a backyard fire pit. The lumber from that fence you took down in spring could be turned into decorative seating for your deck this fall. The pedestal sink left over from your bathroom remodel could make a great ornamental birdbath for the garden.

Look for opportunities to reuse items you already have on hand – in creative new ways. You’ll reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, save money on waste removal fees, and spare the expense of buying new building materials. And don’t forget – you’ll have extra storage room since you’re renting tools, rather than keeping them lying around.

* Keep recycling in mind. Sometimes construction leftovers just can’t be reused, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be recycled. The rusted tin ceiling you tore out of your 1920s home may never be useful again, but it can be recycled. As you’re working on your DIY project, look for opportunities to recycle what you can’t use. And if you do have to buy new materials, choose ones that could potentially be recycled some day in the future.