Turning Your New House Into Your Home

Composition of various home furnishing on white shelf on green wall backgroundIf you purchased one of the 4.6 million homes sold in January of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors, then you’re probably still working to turn it into your dream home. Getting rid of signs of the old residents and adding your own touches will transform that house into a space where you are meant to be.

Your Own Refuge

While you were looking at houses to purchase, you probably visualized yourself in the house to get a sense of how it would feel. Now that you own a house, it’s time to turn it into a place you want to come home to, says Apartment Therapy. What makes your home an exciting refuge for you? Is it a place in which to relax? Do gourmet cooking? Entertain guests? Tap into that energy and start transforming your house into that place you call home.

Photo by Wickerfurniture via Flickr

Comfort and Beauty

When you look at your living room, do you see yourself sinking into a plush sofa with a book or your Kindle? Sitting in a large armchair with a cat and your MP3 player? Is it a place in which to just sit and contemplate and enjoy the beauty around you?

Get a good image of the furnished room in your mind before you go out shopping. Some people are chair and footstool types. Others prefer a couch or love seat. Is a coffee table important? Or small tables beside the chairs on which to set your coffee? Think comfort and convenience for this space.

Photo by Wickerfurniture via Flickr

What would make this a beautiful room in which to relax? An interesting painting on the wall? Start going to local artist’s shows and fall in love with a new talent. How about a large flower arrangement on a raised table against one wall? Send yourself a bouquet of seasonal flowers every other week so you always have the color and scent of flowers in your living space.

The Power of Texture

People tend to forget texture as an aspect of a home, says Freshome. Do you enjoy walking across deep carpets in your bare feet? Are you excited by the feel of textured wall paper or running your hands over wood furniture? Don’t forget that the physical feel of your home adds to its welcoming energy.

Photo by MyWallArt – 3d Wallpanel via Flickr

In the bedroom, consider the feel of satin sheets or a large down-filled comforter against your skin. Perhaps you enjoy a bed full of pillows to lounge in. Patterned curtains with large textures add to the three-dimensional qualities of the room. A large rattan basket in the corner and a writing desk made of bamboo gives you a number of textures to enjoy while relaxing in this room.

Warm Colors and Fresh Scents

Make any room look more inviting by using warm tones such as brown and red or peach-orange. A mixture of these colors in the furniture, wall coverings and window treatments keep the room interesting and cozy. A large room painted and decorated with warm colors will look smaller and more intimate.

Photo by ginnerobot via Flickr

Candles and incense provide the scent in your house that makes it uniquely yours. What memories are conjured up when you smell an ocean breeze? A floral bouquet? Citrus or cinnamon? Smell is an important trigger of memories so you want your home to always give you good ones. When the scent is just a little bit off, thoughts of your grandmother’s hydrangeas off of her front patio can turn to an undesirable reminder from the past.

Identity Threats During a Move: What You Can Do to Protect Your Identity

House insurance salesman16.6 million people—or 7 percent of Americans over the age of 16—were exposed to at least one incident of identity theft in 2012, as the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports. While any incident of identity theft can be alarming, scenarios where a thief charges purchases to your credit card (or even opens a new card in your name) can be personally and financially damaging. Moves are a popular time for identity theft to occur, as thieves know that your attention is divided. Follow these tips, with help from AOL Real Estate and TampaSecurityNow to stay safe during your next move:

Identity Threats During a Move

There are a lot of naturally occurring elements in a home or apartment move that can expose you to identity theft. These include:

  • Improper disposal of personal files, credit card offers, old utility bills and other items – As you pack, you may be tempted to throw away old records and utility bills in addition to new junk mail and unsolicited offers. If a thief recovers these from your trash, he could open a credit card in your name. Always shred documents that contain your personal information before disposing of them.
  • Theft of personal information by movers or other service people – Whether it’s the cable guy coming by to retrieve your modem or the movers packing the moving truck, all it takes is one unscrupulous person to steal your information. Safeguard possessions by only hiring service people with a positive rating from the Better Business Bureau and staying in the home when you have service people over.
  • Theft of mail delivered after you move – After a move, mail can slip through the USPS Mail Forwarding system and go to your old address. If possible, ask a former neighbor to collect and forward items to you to prevent your mail from falling into the hands of a thief, who can use personal information to assume your identity.
  • Break-in or theft during the chaos of the move – The presence of movers or of signs of moving (such as a tag sale or moving sale, a realtor parked outside, or a “For Sale” sign) can attract the wrong kind of attention. A thief can break in (or even wander in during an open house) and pocket a cell phone, tablet or other small device that contains personal information. Take these gadgets with you whenever you leave the house or lock them up to prevent theft.

Ways to Safeguard Your Identity During the Move

During a move, Lifelock recommends signing up for an identity protection service that provides automatic notifications and credit monitoring, protecting you if anyone tries to access your accounts. The service can do much of the monitoring for you, during this very busy time.

As you plan to move, create a list of all of the personal mail you routinely receive, such as student loan bills, utility bills, doctor’s and vet appointment reminders, and personal correspondence. Provide everyone with your new address, change your address with the USPS and cancel any services you no longer need to minimize mail coming to your old house. This can also be a perfect time to switch to e-statements, which are better for the environment and can help stop identity theft.

Just moved into your new home? 5 simple ways to avoid accidental fires and stay safe

Fire damages EA warehouse

It’s funny how you never think anything will go wrong until it actually does. Accidents happen to anyone and they can strike in an instant. You can never stop them from happening, but there are things you can do to stay clear of them. Some of the worst accidents involve your home catching fire, so we’re going to look at a few things that should keep you a little safer from now on.

Don’t leave your food unattended

Cooking Green Curry

You wouldn’t leave a baby unattended in the bath because it could drown while you were away, so don’t walk away while you’re cooking food. This will obviously depend on the appliance you’re using, but why walk away from something when there is a small chance it could catch on fire? The fact you’re not even around means you won’t be able to douse the flames straight away. Chip pans are more dangerous than every other appliance combined.

Keep your doors closed all the time

Closed doors

When you’re walking around the house you should close the doors behind you. It’s also a good idea to walk around at night closing every door inside your home. If there was a fire and all your doors were open it would be able to spread very quickly, but if the doors were closed you would have a much higher chance of surviving. How long would it take you to close all your doors at night? It’s well worth it when you have young children in the house because you want to keep them as safe as possible.

Don’t use electric blankets

Electric Blanket to the rescue

Electric blankets seemed like a great invention because who in their right mind doesn’t want to feel warm and snugly when they get under the covers, but there is a huge problem with them catching fire. Some fire fighters will tell you they hate electric blankets more than anything else. You’re risking your life every time you fall asleep with one still on, plus you’re risking your home burning down every time you switch one on for a few hours before you go to bed.

Burning candles aren’t always pretty

Jan 27/2010 Candles

Nothing is more relaxing than soaking in a warm bath surrounded by dozens of beautiful candles. They even come in handy when the electricity cuts out and you need to see what you’re doing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use candles because that would be crazy, but you just shouldn’t leave them unattended. In the majority of cases they’ll eventually go out by themselves, but do you want to be the exception to the rule when they burn your home down?

Always use a fireguard

Cosy fire ambience in Wetherspoons, Lytham

Are you one of those people who still loves a log burning fire? They’ve actually become a lot more popular in recent years, either because they’re great or because the price of electricity has skyrocketed. If you do decide to burn logs in the fire you need to make sure you protect yourself with a fireguard. You don’t know where flying hot embers are going to land and they can set things on fire. If you don’t use one your eyes will be glued to the fire to see where those embers are landing.

The author of this post is Shruti Vaghe, a freelancer who often writes for Alliance Floor Source, a company providingvinyl flooring services. . She likes to indulge in yoga and pilates to stay fit. Follow her on Twitter @ShrutiVaghe.