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(StatePoint) Feeling uninspired in your space? Bring the bright, cheerful feeling of summer into your home with these DIY décor tips that won’t break the bank.
Make it Pop with Paint
    Add cheery pops of color with paint. An accent wall is an easy, inexpensive way to brighten home design. The first step is to select the right location. Accent walls look best when they don’t have windows or doors, and are highlighting a focal point, such as a fireplace or wall used to anchor furniture.
    Next, select color. Accent walls look more organic when they’re darker than the other walls in the room and harmonize with the adjacent wall color. When in doubt, remember that painting your statement wall the same color but two shades darker than the others is always a foolproof look. For best results, tape off trim and adjacent walls with a premium painter’s tape to prevent paint bleed. It’s a small investment that will make a big difference.
Up the Ante with Accents
     Embrace summer by restyling tablescapes with natural décor items, like a bouquet of garden roses, fresh fruit or beachy treasures. Position white candles or a large piece of coral inside an indoor fireplace. Swap out pillows for ones with summery floral designs. By adding a few accents, your home will feel fresh and rejuvenated.
Let in More Light
     Invite more light into a room by painting dark wood accents and trim white. It may seem like a large undertaking, but with the right tools and some patience, this project can completely transform your home to make it look brighter and feel larger. One of the most important tools you’ll need is a premium painter’s tape, like FrogTape brand painter’s tape, to protect walls and floors. Treated with PaintBlock Technology, FrogTape Multi-Surface and Delicate Surface painting tapes can be used on a variety of surfaces to deliver the sharpest paint lines possible for professional-looking results.
Look for a New View
     While a fireplace is a great focal point in winter, consider rearranging furniture in summer to focus on a window or French doors instead, so you can enjoy the sunlit mornings or sunsets. This will give you a good reason to clean underneath everything, and offer you an opportunity to add a colorful rug.
Greet Guests
  A bold front door will give guests a warm greeting. Just as a sunny day can boost your mood, a burst of yellow or vibrant blue will make guests feel happy as they enter your home. A fresh paint job on a front door can also increase your home’s curb appeal and provide a protective barrier from the elements.
  The paint finish selection is important for the front door, no matter the color. While you can choose any finish, glossy paints are typically preferred for doors and trim, as they stand out, highlight architectural features, and hold up to nicks and scrapes better than other sheens. Make this pop by adding a color contrasting wreath.
  With a pinch of creativity and a dash of design inspiration, you can easily freshen up your home for summer.



(StatePoint) Shopping for a home? Before you begin your search, it’s important to figure out what you can comfortably afford.
  “The interesting thing about homebuying is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all process,” says Mike Dawson, Vice President of Single-Family at Freddie Mac. “After all, it’s your budget and these are your housing needs. Doing your homework to figure out what those needs are is the critical first step.”
     Before you start shopping, learn how much you can borrow. Free online resources, such as Freddie Mac’s “How Much You Can Afford” calculator, found at calculators.freddiemac.com, can help you get a handle on this figure during the preliminary stages of your search. This estimate is based on income, fixed monthly payments such as auto loans and student loans, and the terms of the loan you plan to take out.
     You may also consider speaking to a lender at this stage. If you qualify for a loan, he or she will provide you with a pre-approval letter stating how much home you can afford and the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Having this letter can help show the seller that you are a committed and qualified buyer. Keep in mind that the amount your lender is willing to lend is not always how much you should borrow. You should borrow only what you feel you can comfortably repay through monthly mortgage payments. Wait to take this step until you are actually on the hunt, as pre-approvals are usually good for only a limited time.
     When determining your budget, consider the length of your loan and the type of loan you want. Do you want to pay back the money that you borrow over 15 years or 30 years? The longer your loan term, the smaller your monthly payments, but you’ll pay more interest over time.
      The type of mortgage loan is important, too. With a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate stays the same through the life of your loan, as will your monthly payments. While this can offer some peace of mind, it’s important to know that such loans tend to have higher interest rates because the lender isn’t protected against a rise in its costs over the course of your loan. On an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) however, the interest rate may re-set every one, three or five years based on the movement of a specific index and the terms of the loan. Homebuyers may have low interest rates when they first take out their mortgage loans, but the rates may increase over the loan term. If your rate changes at a reset, then your monthly payment will change too.
     For a full run-down on all things homebuying, visit myhome.freddiemac.com.
     One of the most important aspects of homebuying is getting a handle on how much home you can afford. Do your research before you begin house-hunting, so you can be well-informed throughout the process.



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