Remodeling Your Home: The Psychology of Color

If you’re looking for an easy way to spice up your home without spending too much money, you should consider color. Different colors have different personalities that can really improve your mood and show your sense of style.

Color accents can make the rooms in your home feel more calm, approachable, optimistic or daring. They can even make rooms feel larger or more intimate. Using the right pieces and color combinations can cause significant mental and physical benefits.

Here are the basics behind every color of the rainbow.

Red: Daring and Bold

Red is a bold color that stimulates the senses and demands attention. Depending on its shade and context, red can create a romantic, contemporary or even rustic vibe. Touches of red can warm up cooler-colored rooms or add drama when used as the main color.

When light touches red, it creates a warm glow that makes people want to be together. Incorporating some red accents is a great way to give a room a more intimate feel.

Orange: Friendly and Approachable

Orange is a great way to give your home a jolt of energy. It’s reminiscent of citrus and sunsets, and it represents happiness and innovation for many people. While orange has a bad reputation for being overwhelming, the right shades of orange can inspire relaxation and a feeling of warmth.

“Orange is the child of red and yellow,” says color expert Leatrice Eiseman. “It gives you the excitement of red, but at the same time, the welcoming, friendly, warm aspect of yellow.”

It can also stimulate an appetite, so it would be a good choice for a dining room or kitchen. The brighter the shade, the less you need to draw the eye and create that approachable feel.

Yellow: Optimistic and Uplifting

Yellow is the color of happiness because of its ability to capture the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Yellow also brings a lot of mental and interpersonal benefits, including memory activation, nervous system stimulation and increased communication skills.

The wide spectrum of yellow shades gives you a lot of flexibility in designing feel-good rooms. Muted yellows work well as a peaceful neutral. Strong, saturated shades can create the illusion of light, making hallways and windowless rooms feel brighter. A buttery yellow adds a warm glow that makes a room feel cozy.

Green: Soothing and Natural

Green represents life and growth. It’s associated with being outdoors, so it lends a stable feel to a room.

The soothing quality of green makes it an ideal shade for almost any room. Emerald-green can create drama, sea-green promotes openness, and pops of lime green can add energy.

“We respond to green and blue because green and blue are the colors of the planet,” says color expert Elaine Ryan. “You’re brining the natural world inside when you use green, and it will work with everything as long as it’s the same tonal value.”

Blue: Calming and Energizing

Blue is a powerful color; it can evoke feelings of both calm and energy, depending on how you use it.

High-energy blues like sapphire can add boldness and energy to a room, while lighter shades like sky blue create tranquility. Darker shades offer drama, and paler blues can make small spaces feel more expansive, like the sea or the sky.

The color blue slows respiration and heartbeat, making you feel physically calmer. Use blue in rooms where you go to relax, such as your bathroom, bedroom or kitchen.

Purple: Mysterious and eccentric

Purple is a combination of relaxed blue and daring red. It’s the color of royalty and creativity, and it can add exotic flair to many rooms in your home.

Purple can be dramatic or quiet, depending on the shade. Deep purples are stunning, while light lavenders add softness. Darker shades can be heavy on the eyes, so you don’t need to overdo it. A few strategically placed purple accents can go a long way in creating an exciting new vibe.

Home Décor Ideas for Spring 2014

As March 20, 2014 – the first day of spring – slowly approaches so does the need for an updated spring décor. Whether you have thought about totally redesigning several rooms in your house or simply just repainting a few rooms now is the best time to start. The sooner you complete your redesign, the more time you will have to enjoy it, so what are you waiting for?  Here are a few ideas to get you started and help inspire your new spring décor.

Start with Your Color Selection

Before you can start selecting paints, materials and patterns, fixtures, or other décor items, you must first choose the colors you wish to incorporate into your design. Since you are doing a spring redesign, you will likely want to incorporate bright colors that inspire as sense of warmth and fresh growth. So to help, here are Pantone.com’s top ten colors for spring 2014:

  1. Dazzling Blue
  2. Violet Tulip
  3. Radiant Orchid
  4. Celosia Orange
  5. Freesia
  6. Cayenne
  7. Placid Blue
  8. Paloma
  9. Sand
  10. Hemlock

After you have selected your color pallet, you can then move forward with your design. There are many design styles you can peruse and many different elements you can include. The important thing is to do what you like; after all you will be the one living there. Here are a few ideas to help make your design stand out in 2014.

Hot Ideas to Incorporate

  • Flowers – Accent your design by including fresh cut spring flowers
  • Raw Materials – Include furniture and tables that are made with raw wood, metal, or stone
  • Honey-Tone Woods – Lighten up your space with furniture made from walnut, oak, or cherry woods
  • Bring the Outdoors In – Incorporate earth tones and spring colors, as well as outdoor styled furniture to make the inside of your home feel like your back yard
  • Decorate with Copper – Incorporate copper design elements into your redesign, such as copper light fixtures, backsplash, cabinet hardware, and other accent items
  • Patterns – Select pillows, curtains, and other fabric elements that have rich patterns that match and accent your design style and colors

Enjoy Your New Space

Throughout the hard work of your redesign, it may not seem worth it, but once you finish your design you will have the satisfaction and pride of knowing that you created this new space. So once you have finished your design, feel free to sit back and relax in your new spring oasis, after all you deserve it. Oh, and you might want to plan an Easter dinner or other family and friend gatherings to show off your new space and be further rewarded for your hard work.

If you have any additional ideas or tips for a fresh spring décor, please tell us in the comments section below!

Preparing Your Home for Spring

Although it is still snowing and cold, spring is approaching. After being bundled up inside for several months, most of us will be eager to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. However, the harsh winter conditions along with some winter time neglect may have caused some issues that will need attention. Therefore, it is important to go over your home to determine if any maintenance is required. From the interior to the exterior, preparing your home for spring will ensure you are ready to enjoy the warm weather once it arrives.

While it is still cold outside, prepare for spring by starting inside your home.

  • General Interior Maintenance: With all of the holidays and family gatherings, the inside of your home has likely incurred some wear and tear. Walk throughout your home and look for any issues. This includes: cracked or broken drywall, loose tiles or carpet, loose door or cabinet hinges, burnt out lights, broken ceiling fans, etc. If no issues are discovered, consider applying a fresh coat of paint to a few rooms, or start to redecorate for spring.
  • Check Interior Systems: Spring and fall are the two most important times to check your home’s HVAC systems – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Look over your air conditioning and any water systems to determine if any maintenance is required. Even if everything looks good, consider giving them a “tune-up”, as a tune-up will be cheaper than an emergency repair call. Additionally, clean or replace any filters, and replace the batteries in any smoke detectors.
  • Spring Cleaning: Your home will also likely need some organizing and cleaning. As the decorations come down, be sure to neatly organize them for storage until next year. If any are broken or damaged, be sure to dispose of them now to save storage space and time. Also, be sure to neatly organize and store any cold weather items such as apparel, snow shovels, and sleds to make room for warm weather items. It is also a good time to clean windows and doors. Consider steam cleaning any carpet to remove salt and dirt that got tracked in throughout winter.

After preparing the inside of your home, then move outside to check for any issues.

  • General Exterior Maintenance: Walk around your home and examine all windows and doors, opening and closing them to ensure they are functioning properly. Examine any weather stripping and caulking they have to determine if anything needs replaced or fixed. Inspect your roof and siding to determine if any shingles or siding are broken, loose, or missing. Look for anything that might need repainted, such as doors or porch posts. Clean out all gutters and downspouts in preparation for spring showers.
  • Exterior Landscape: While outside, check for any downed tree limbs or other debris that needs cleaned up. Pressure wash sidewalks and driveways and determine if any repairs need to be made. Additionally, consider resealing them to cover any snow removal damage. Prepare for growing season by replacing any broken garden hoses or other gardening tools.

Preparing your home for spring is rewarding now and when spring arrives. It will give you something to do now to cure the winter time blues and once warm weather is here, you will be able to enjoy it doing the things you love. So stop putting these tasks off until next week and get started today, because warm weather is on its way!

If you have any additional tips or helpful insights for preparing your home for the spring season, please tell us in the comments section below!

5 Subtle Ways to Make Your Home Halloween Friendly

Pumpkin Decoration

Halloween is on its way! While large, inflatable yard decorations are all well and good, here are a few Halloween decoration ideas that won’t overshadow your home’s exterior.

1. Use Natural Decorations

Natural fall foliage and crops make great seasonal decorations for Halloween without looking gaudy. Buy some pumpkins or gourdes and accent them with beautiful fallen leaves for a simple, natural look. Jack-o-Lanterns are also a great way to modify natural elements, and your whole family will enjoy the pumpkin-carving process.

You can use your natural decorations inside or outside. Put some mini pumpkins and gourdes in a bowl on the coffee table, or place them on some scatter leaves near the front stoop. The simple elegance of nature will accent your home and give it a festive flare.

2. Create Cute Treat Bags

If you live in a neighborhood that is a big supporter of children’s trick-or-treating, show your Halloween spirit by creating handmade treat bags to pass out. There are an endless number of treat bag options you could create – one simple option is to purchase simple, small white party favor bags and draw cute or spooky ghost faces on them before filling them with candy. When children come trick-or-treating to your house, you can offer them each a unique Halloween bag unlike any other they’ve received.

3. Accessorize with Candles

Halloween is a great time to be a candle fanatic. By burning cinnamon, pumpkin, or harvest-scented candles, you can add a seasonal smell to any room of your home. For decorative purposeless, accessorizing with candlesticks of varying lengths will add a festive and elegant feel to any room’s mantel or tabletop.

To accessorize with candles more safely, you can also purchase battery-powered electric candles that look all the part of real candles, but with no open flame. Surround your electric candles with decorative leaves, gourdes or hay, and you have a great Halloween decoration that will look as good outside as it does inside.

4. Decorate Your Door with an Autumn Wreath

To both accentuate your home while showing your Halloween spirit, accent your front door with a Halloween-themed wreath. By purchasing a festive wreath that combines dark colors with brighter oranges and reds, you can show your holiday spirit in a way that won’t detract from your home’s exterior. Rather than sticking to just black and orange, adding deep browns and reds will maintain a Halloween feel, without being cliché.

5. Expand Your Traditional Pumpkin Carving

Jack-o-Lanterns’ are a traditionally part of Halloween that many families enjoy. This year, expand on your family’s love of pumpkin carving by creating Jack-o-Lantern gourdes too. Use large, autumn gourdes and hollow them out similarly to how you would a pumpkin. You can then cut designs and holes into the gourdes’ sides to give them an authentic, luminescent look. Placing a few lighted gourdes in with your Jack-o-Lanterns will add some variation to your porch decorations, making your Halloween accents look better than ever.

If you have ideas for more ways to make your home Halloween friendly, please tell us in the comments section below!

Image: Matthew Hine (cc)

5 Ways to Celebrate Labor Day

Costello porch

One of the many porch and patio options from Costello Builders custom-designed homes

We know that you work hard all year, and we at Costello Builders do too. That’s why we’re excited to take some time of this Labor Day and relax with our friends and family. If you’re not quite sure what you want to do this Labor Day, though, here are some ideas:

1. Have a Family Picnic

Many families get together over Labor Day weekend and celebrate the holiday with all kinds of fun, food and catching up. Invite your family over to your home for an indoor-outdoor picnic. We personally like to use our outdoor patios to shade our food, but plan a lot of games in the yard area.

2. Go to the Park

If you just don’t feel like organizing an entire family gathering this Labor Day, treat your own family to some peaceful bonding time at a local park. There are tons of state parks open to the public in Pennsylvania, where Costello Builders is based. Bald Eagle State Forest is especially beautiful and has a lot of great hiking trails at beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.

3. Go to a Restaurant 

On the off-chance that the weather isn’t so great this Labor Day, take your family out to eat. You can go to an old favorite or try that new place that opened up a few months back. Despite the fact that many people get a day off of work on Labor Day, many restaurant employees still have to do their jobs. Just make it worth their time by leaving a nice tip.

4. Go to an Event

Your community may host certain events specifically to celebrate Labor Day. Some areas have parades, fairs and festivals that are open to the public in honor of the holiday. Attend an event with your family, and maybe arrange to meet up with some of your friends there. Parades and festivals are always more fun when you can enjoy the experience with those closest to you.

5. Do Absolutely Nothing

Hey, it is Labor Day after all – a day to celebrate the fact that you’ve diligently worked away all year long. If you don’t want to have a huge picnic or spend a day out on the town, we understand that too. Sometimes, just hanging out in your living room all day with your family is exactly what you need.

Tell us what you plan to do this Labor Day by posting on Costello Builders’ Facebook page or by tweeting it to us at CostelloBuild on Twitter.

How to Make Your New Home Child Safe

costello home

Is your child safe in your house? Each day, hundreds of children are injured in their own homes due to unsecured furniture, unguarded staircases and unprotected stove-tops. Make sure your new home will be safe for your child by taking all the precautionary measures listed below.

Install a Safety Gate

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), fall-related injuries affect approximately 8,000 children every day in the United States. Installing a safety gate at the top and bottom of your staircase is one of the best measures you can take against an accidental fall. We know you always want to have an eye on your child, but for that one time when she wanders off, make sure you’re prepared.

Strap Down Large Furniture

No, you don’t have to bungee-cord your dresser to the wall but using a safety strap to secure bulkier furniture items is a good precaution. Your little explorer may want to get his clothes out himself but dressers tip over easier than you think. Safety straps simply work by securing your furniture to the wall behind it. Secure one bracket to the wall and one to the piece of furniture and strap them together for accident prevention that won’t be noticeable to guests.

Cushion Your Corners

Corner cushions are one of the most useful new home investments you can make. Children get excited when they move into a new house but they are also less familiar with their surroundings. Make sure toddler-level corners are covered securely to avoid unwanted head bumps. Most corner cushions even come with double-sided tape and are designed to leave your furniture undamaged.

Protect Against Burns

Over 300 children each day are treated for burn-related injuries, says the CDC. To ensure that your child doesn’t reach up and touch the stove burner while you’re cooking, place a stove guard on the front of the oven. Stove guards create a barrier to keep your child’s hand from reaching the hot burners. They can even be purchased in see-through acrylics that will look natural in the kitchen and still allow your child to watch you cook.

Lock Your Cabinets

Make sure your child can’t open the kitchen or bathroom cabinets where you store cleaning products or sharp objects. In fact, when your child is very young it’s a good idea to have all of your cabinets locked – just in case.  Magnetic locks can easily be installed in any room of your home and, in many cases, don’t require drilling into your cabinets. Adhesive magnetic locks stick directly to your cabinetry when you need them but can be removed later as your child grows.

Educate Your Child

Children love to read books with their parents. A great way to keep your child safe is to read her books about different safety issues. There are a plethora of colorful kid’s books dedicated to educating children about the importance of being safe. Likewise, there are many interactive games online that you and your child can play together to better understand how to be safe around your home.

Take these precautionary measures and enjoy your home in peace, knowing that your child is safe in your new house.