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    Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Home Renovation Awards

    What are the most important trends in housing and home improvement? Good Housekeeping’s annual Home Renovation Awards are here to answer that question — and, in the process, help steer you through your next big project. From the vast array of this year’s submissions, we know that today’s homeowners remain laser focused on creating beautiful living spaces that reflect their personal style. But other priorities are catching up with aesthetics, including:✔️ Resiliency: Our homes need to be more durable than ever, to defend against pounding hail, torrential rain, blazing heat and other forms of extreme weather.✔️ Energy efficiency: Homes must also maximize efficiency across heating and cooling equipment, appliances and more, to counter rising energy costs and the broader impacts of inflation on household budgets.✔️ Connectivity: To facilitate the realities of remote working, as well as the demands and benefits of our increasingly “connected” lives, technology is an essential part of the home design process. ✔️ Outdoor living: Another by-product of the pandemic, homeowners are looking for new and better ways to expand their usable living space into the open air. ✔️ Low maintenance: With the pace of life in constant overdrive, minimal upkeep is needed to create time for those pursuits that matter most.Brands throughout the home improvement space have answered the call by launching products and services that check every box for today’s homeowner. In fact, there were so many smart, innovative submissions to the 2023 edition of our Home Reno Awards that we had to extend the testing period by six weeks to give our judges ample time to review them all. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to identify the 64 most award-worthy submissions covering all aspects of home improvement, including kitchens and baths, exteriors, smart home technology, alternative energy, power tools and more. Whether you’re embarking on a major remodel or just looking to simplify your home’s maintenance, you’ll find plenty of great ideas in our roundup of winners. Meet the GH Experts Open GalleryHow We TestedOpen GalleryOver a rigorous, four-month testing period, experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute put every submission through its paces, often with multiple forms of assessment. Hands-on testing started in the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, running abrasion tests on paints to measure durability, checking the run time on power tool batteries and more. We also sent products into the homes of consumer testers, who evaluated them under real-world conditions, answering questions like: How easy is this bidet seat to install? or Does this smart home device make your life more convenient? or Is this cordless drill powerful enough for your needs? For items that were too big or complex to call into the Lab for testing, for example whole-house heating and cooling equipment, our engineers reviewed technical data and any third-party testing provided by manufacturers to verify claims around performance, safety and efficiency. Our home design editors, meanwhile, weighed in on style and aesthetics — like assessing the texture of various lines of decking and the color depth of new countertop materials.Last, and definitely not least, we brought in our outside judges, a pair of professionals with a combined 60 years of experience under their tool belts. Houston-based homebuilder, developer, and author Fernando Pagés Ruiz, returned for his second year of judging and installed everything from roofing and decking to a steel gazebo, and reviewed many power tools in the process. Boston’s Marc Savatzky, a contractor, real estate developer and host of the podcast Real Estate Addicts, used his special interest in smart technology to test a WiFi-connected lock, faucet, blinds, a whole-house backup power system and more.Mike GartenClassic CountertopPorcelain CountertopPorcelain is an ancient material, but its popularity as a countertop material is fairly recent, making it a good choice for homeowners who are going for a different look in the kitchen. Caesarstone’s version comes in 22 colors, ranging from pearly white to dramatic black. The entire line boasts the exceptional strength and durability that makes porcelain such a high-performing, low-maintenance material, even in outdoor applications. In fact, Caesarstone’s porcelain is rated for exterior use, so it’s the perfect surface for an outdoor kitchen, one that coordinates with your interior finishes. LAB RESULTS: The nonporous surface did a solid job resisting stains, heat and scratches in our Lab tests, and it also held up well during several weeks of exposure to the elements, including hot sun and lashing rain. The material was a bit more prone to dents and dings, so you’ll want to be careful with cast-iron pots and other heavy objects. As for the aesthetics, Caesarstone is a longtime favorite with our design pros. “The brand offers so many striking yet timeless options,” says Associate Lifestyle Editor Alyssa Gautieri. “With subtle yet intentional veining, these porcelain countertops look as beautiful in an array of light and dark styles.”Cutting-Edge Cabinet Company FORM Kitchen Custom CabinetsCredit: FormFORM launched five years ago with the mission of bringing sleek, modern, European cabinets to the U.S. market for a fraction of the cost of custom units. Its direct-to-consumer model cuts out the middle dealer, working directly with a German manufacturer. All planning and communication happens through the app or online — no in-person meetings with designers or showroom visits (though FORM tells us it will open physical design centers in select cities, including Denver, New York City and San Francisco, later this year). Delivery of the finished units can be within 12 to 14 weeks of the project start date.LAB RESULTS: Laurie Jennings, general manager of the Good Housekeeping Institute, went with FORM for her recent kitchen renovation, and was wowed by the experience and end result. “One standout was the ultra-talented designer, Bianca, that we got to work with,” she says. “I also loved the exceptionally accurate 3D renderings they made of our space, which helped us choose lighting, countertops, hardware, and more — even if we then had to order them all separately.” While at the time of Jennings’ project, FORM didn’t offer installation, it has since launched a “featured installer” program, with dozens of vendors nationwide.Fuss-Free Smart FaucetArtifacts Touchless Kitchen FaucetSmart faucets bring hands-free operation to the kitchen with increasingly sophisticated sensor-based technology, plus an expanding array of styles. Kohler’s Artifacts is a recent entry to the market that drives the innovation forward with a precision sensor built into the spout that responds faster than a blink of the eye. The pull-down sprayhead features three settings: a gentle spray for rinsing hands and food, an aerated stream for filling pots, and a powerful sweeping spray for cleaning.LAB RESULTS: None of the pain points our experts saw with first-generation smart faucets, including tricky installs and finicky response times, were an issue with the Kohler. “The sensor responds well and immediately,” reported one tester, who also appreciated the hardwired installation, noting that she was often changing the batteries that powered her last smart faucet. As for the design, “this faucet is definitely a jewel piece in the kitchen, bringing a timeless, classic look.” Outside judge and professional contractor Marc Savatsky, who has vast experience with WiFi-connected devices, added, “I love the simplicity of the Kohler touch faucet. It works reliably, and at no time since putting it in have I felt frustration or the need to revert to using the manual handle.”Brilliant Bidet SeatDiscovery DLS Elongated Smart Toilet SeatBidet seats got a bump from the pandemic, following fears of toilet paper shortages. Our experts like the fixture as an “aging in place” upgrade, since it allows people of all ages and abilities to manage hygiene on their own. The Discovery DLS Bidet Toilet Seat, which replaces your existing toilet seat, is a very high-tech version, with custom controls that let you program precisely how you want to be cleaned. Key features include an adjustable nozzle spray connected to an unlimited supply of warm water, a heated seat, a nightlight and a built-in air dryer. LAB RESULTS: The three GH staffers who tested the Discovery found it relatively easy to install, though getting the mounting brackets just right took some doing. After several weeks of use, they raved over the adjustable water and seat temperatures (“Can’t wait for the heated seat come winter!”) and the warm air dryer. “I love the self-closing lid,” added Product Analyst Lynn Redmile. “It solves a huge pet peeve in my house full of guys!” The Discovery has a lower profile than other bidet seats we’ve tested, though using it is still an adjustment compared with the perfectly flat profile of a standard toilet seat.Feature-Rich Smart ToiletInnate Smart ToiletToday’s luxury toilets boast serious intelligence, including high-tech features that provide easier cleaning — for your private areas as well as for the toilet itself. The Kohler Innate Smart Toilet makes the point most elegantly, combining sleek contours with a long list of enhancements, starting with the integrated bidet, precision water pressure and temperature control, and electrolyzed water pre-rinsing of the bowl to minimize stains. The toilet’s intelligence is so innate it can even flush on its own and lift and lower its seat automatically, for start-to-finish hands-free control. LAB RESULTS: The Innate has all the specs our engineers look for in a top-performing toilet, including a 1.28 gallons-per-flush efficiency rating that qualifies it for the EPA’s WaterSense certification. Its comfort height design makes sitting down and getting up easier, another “aging in place” benefit of smart toilets, along with the hands-free cleaning. Our consumer tester was full of praise for the unit too. “I really appreciate the bidet features — the auto-flush is amazing, it’s nice to look at and it’s much easier to clean than a regular toilet.” The power-saving mode adjusts the heated seat settings to save energy.Spa-like ShowerheadPurist 2-in-1 ShowerheadShower combo kits with multiple showerheads bring a spa-like experience to the bathroom. Kohler’s Purist 2-in-1 Showerhead is a gorgeous example that combines form and function as well as any system on the market. The design features a rotating rail that allows you to arrange the showerheads in myriad positions, including horizontal, for a penetrating back massage. The showerhead and handheld spray offer three spray settings (full coverage, pulsating, and rinsing) for even more customization. There’s also a pause feature to save water while you shave or shampoo. LAB RESULTS: Kohler’s Purist Collection, which includes fixtures for both the bathroom and the kitchen, has earned consistently high marks with our engineers and testers. The 2-in-1 showerhead does it again with its quality construction and durable finishes. The user experience, meanwhile, lives up to the spa comparison. “The two showerheads are a dream come true!” one gushed. “The magnetic detachable showerhead is so easy to handle and I appreciate the strong water pressure these showerheads provide.”Top-Value Bidet SeatClassic 3.0The one drawback to automated bidet seats is that they need to be plugged into an outlet, which not all bathrooms have conveniently located next to the toilet. Manual bidet seats, like the Tushy, spare the trouble and expense, while still delivering a pleasant and effective cleansing experience. The nozzle even rinses itself before and after each use for maximum hygiene. If you’re bidet-curious, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the upgrade (not counting the potential added cost of adding an outlet), the non-electric Tushy is one to consider.LAB RESULTS: Our experts liked the whole laid-back vibe of Tushy — the title of the product user manual, for example, is “How to Put This Sh*t Together.” Installation was as easy as advertised, taking testers less than 10 minutes. The bidet was very easy to operate, and while the overall experience was not the same as with an electric bidet (no warm water settings and customizable controls), Tushy’s knobs make it easy to go from a gentle spritz to a powerful wash that ultimately gets the job done.Waterproof Wood-Look FloorsArmstrong Lutea Flooring Wood flooring is a no-no in bathrooms, since moisture and humidity can cause the boards to warp and crack. Rigid core flooring is a wood-alternative material that resembles the real thing but without any of the performance issues, thanks to its multilayer construction, including a solid core that adds durability and a thick wear layer that resists scratching and staining. The Armstrong Flooring Lutea comes in 20 colors, including pale Scandinavian-inspired patterns and dark, rich shades.LAB RESULTS: The Armstrong Flooring Lutea flooring proved extra durable in our performance tests, withstanding staining, scratching, fading, and denting. We also sent a batch of the flooring out to a consumer tester. “The product was easy to assemble even for someone with little to no experience,” he said, though he added that, as with most flooring projects, some specialty tools were required, which added to the project cost. He also had trouble sourcing a threshold that matched the material exactly. First-time DIYers might want to consider professional installation, if it’s in the budget.Exquisite Vanity FaucetOccasion Bathroom Faucet CollectionYou start and end every day at the bathroom faucet. Despite its diminutive size, the fixture is also a focal point in most bathrooms, part of the jewelry of the space. Throw in the fact that there are so many options to choose from, and this is one tough remodeling decision. Kohler’s Occasion Bathroom Faucet Collection streamlines the process with its elegant selection of styles and configurations that are timeless enough to suit just about any bathroom. The ability to mix and match the spout, handles, and finishes leaves room for personalization without the sense of paralysis that often strikes on a bathroom remodel. LAB RESULTS: Testers loved everything about the faucet collection. “The shape and height make washing my face an enjoyable experience,” one reported. “No leaning over excessively, and water is not splashing everywhere.” As for aesthetics, she added, “It elevates the look of the bathroom with its substantial, quality design.” The one quibble is that the vibrant “brushed moderne” brass finish she chose shows fingerprints. If that’s a concern, our experts suggest going with the smudge-resistant matte black.Durable Interior PaintMarquee Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer Interior SatinApplying a fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to transform the look and feel of a space, which is why painting is the most common DIY project. Some paints deliver better results than others, especially in high-touch areas like the bathroom. Behr has been a top brand in our tests for many years now, combining value and performance as well as any name in the paint aisle. Boasting more than 1,000 colors, its Marquee line is the best of the best, and the Home Depot-exclusive is also easy to get your hands on.LAB RESULTS: We put the Marquee paint in a satin finish through a battery of tough tests and it aced them all. Our testers were particularly impressed by its smooth, even finish and fast drying time. It’s also highly stain resistant and can handle abrasions — whether from scuffs or a scouring pad — with the best of them. It fended off a litany of stains, including oil, tomato sauce and crayon. And the built-in primer reduces the need for a second coat. Start with it in the kitchen and bathroom, we say, then carry on with the rest of the house! Perfect ShowerheadSignature Icon Anystream ShowerheadIf you’ve been living with a wimpy showerhead, this simple bathroom upgrade can really improve your life. Who wants to start every day trying to rinse down with a weak sprinkle? Speakman has long been a favorite brand in the category with our experts, and its latest refinements to the Icon Anystream showerhead give them even more to sing (in the shower) about. New and improved spray plungers inside the showerhead deliver impressive spray, the solid brass construction adds durability to the design, and the expanded line of finishes helps the fixture coordinate with its surroundings.LAB RESULTS: For all its simplicity, the Icon showerhead has always elicited strong responses from our testers — and this time was no different. “This may be the best showerhead I have ever used, and I have sampled/used over a dozen top-quality ones in the last three years alone,” reported one tester. “The showerhead is amazing,” wrote another, adding that “the pressure is perfect.” While the invigorating spray earned the most praise, our experts also liked the ease of installation, plus the fact that it’s very easy to adjust between different spray patterns.Versatile CountertopSakura Quartz CountertopVadara’s Sakura countertop, from its 2023 Natural Innovation Collection, brings together two key trends in kitchen design: the emergence of more blues and grays throughout the space and an enduring preference for low-maintenance materials. Inspired by Ijen Blue quartzite, a rare, pricey natural stone from Brazil, Sakura features a warm, off-white background with dominant blue-gray veining and subtle rust-colored accents. The polished, nonporous surface is impervious to staining and it never needs to be sealed; a soft cloth and plain soap and water are all you’ll need to maintain the countertop’s beauty and shine over decades of service. LAB RESULTS: Through the last couple of decades of countertop testing at the Institute, quartz has emerged as the no-fuss leader, since it never needs to be sealed (unlike the natural stones whose design it often imitates). The Sakura countertop continues that tradition, showing exceptional resistance to stains, scratches, and dents in our tests. Home Design Director Monique Valeris praises the unique grain patterns. “The quality feels quite elevated,” she adds, calling Sakura “a fitting material for those who aren’t afraid to make a statement in their kitchen.”Hard-Wearing Kitchen FloorsKarastan BelleLuxe Waterproof WoodEngineered wood flooring has many advantages over real wood flooring, including durability and water resistance. When it comes to aesthetics, though, natural wood usually comes out on top. This BelleLuxe Waterproof Wood seriously closes the beauty gap, with an authenticity achieved through 64 layers of textured detail and over 1,000 color variations. Whether you’re going for the look of a light and airy oak or a deep, dark hardwood, BelleLuxe delivers with flooring that’s indistinguishable from the real thing without any of the maintenance.LAB RESULTS: Let’s start with the aesthetics. “Both wood grain pattern and color look very beautiful and exude a timeless aesthetic,” says Gautieri. “The material feels incredibly smooth.” Despite that smoothness, it was also impervious to scratches, dents and stains in our performance tests. The Waterproof Wood lived up to its name in our tough water resistance tests, in which we pour two cups of water on an assembled floor and let the puddle sit there for one hour, then check for signs of seepage. Mike GartenAll-Weather SidingJames Hardie Architectural CollectionFor more than four decades, Hardie’s fiber cement siding products have offered a durable, attractive and low-maintenance solution for homes of all types and locales. Given the uptick in extreme weather, with its wind, hail, wildfires and blazing heat, the product is more valuable than ever. The brand’s expanded Hardie Architectural Collection continues to diversify its range of contemporary and traditional siding styles, all using the same ingredients list of top-quality, sustainable materials. LAB RESULTS: As a Good Housekeeping Seal holder, products by James Hardie are subject to rigorous review by our engineers and experts. “All those from the Hardie Architectural Collection meet tough industry standards for protection against freezing temperatures, strong winds, fire, moisture, pests and more,” says Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman. Our style pros love the growing range of styles, from traditional lap siding to the more recent Hardie Architectural Panels, which feature panels in myriad textures that offer a more contemporary look and feel. Reliable RoofingGAF Timberline UHDZ ShinglesWhen it comes to providing shelter from the elements, there’s nothing more important than the roof over your head — and shingles are the first line of defense. GAF’s Timberline UHDZ asphalt shingles deliver top-level protection against Mother Nature’s harshest assaults — hard-driven rain, snow, sleet and hail, as well as the record-busting heat that has become increasingly common in many parts of the country. The premium shingles are also fortified with a time-release algae-fighting technology that will help extend their life in damp, humid climates. LAB RESULTS: Our engineers verified Timberline UHDZ’s claims around resistance to weather, heat and algae as part of the GH Seal approval process. Lab tests reaffirmed durability and ease of installation, including the extra-wide strike zone for fast, efficient nailing. Outside judge Fernando Pages then went the distance and installed the shingles on a project in Houston. “Timberline’s UHDZ shingles represent a missing middle between common-variety composition shingles that protect from rain and the more durable, yet ultra-high-cost roofing selections, such as concrete tile and metal,” he says. Watch Pages’s YouTube video for his full review. Simple Cable Rail SystemBarrette Outdoor Living RDI Elevation RailOnce exclusive to decks on minimalist oceanfront homes, cable rail systems are now popular in all regions. Not only have they migrated inland, but also indoors, where they’re a common feature on staircases and upper-floor balconies, providing the uninterrupted sight lines that are their main selling point. The only downside: They’re a pain to install. Enter the RDI Elevation Rail from Barrette Outdoor Living, a preassembled DIY-friendly kit that saves time on installation and maintenance by eliminating the tedious task of tensioning each cable individually. LAB RESULTS: Our experts got hands-on with a six-foot section of the cable rail system in our Labs. The powder-coated aluminum posts and stainless steel cables were top-quality design and construction. “Not having to thread each cable is a massive time saver,” says GH Test Engineer Alec Scherma, who handled the assembly. “And when any tightening is needed, it’s as simple as popping off the top rail and turning a few bolts.” The top rail and side posts are available only in matte black, but RDI says more colors are on the way as the rollout continues. Sleek Siding Azek Exteriors TimberTech CladdingLast year’s Home Reno Awards winners included TimberTech’s Advanced PVC decking, a wood-look material that does a masterful job of combining beauty and durability. Now the brand has added Advanced PVC Cladding to its product line, and it boasts all the same attributes, including minimal maintenance (no sealing required), backed by a 50-year fade and stain warranty. The siding also scores points for sustainability, since it’s made in the USA from approximately 60% recycled materials, including plastic bottles and construction scrap like old vinyl siding and PVC pipe. LAB RESULTS: The same high performance our experts found with the Advanced PVC decking was evident with the cladding. “Excellent dent and scratch resistance, so you won’t have to worry about hail, tree branches, or other hard objects marring the surface,” says Scherma. Our style experts like the curated color palette, which is transitional enough to work with all kinds of architecture. “It’s nice with siding not to be overwhelmed with too many choices,” says GH Home Design Director Monique Valeris. “There are just enough color options to find the right one to blend with your home style.”Excellent Exterior PaintBenjamin Moore Element Guard Exterior PaintChoosing a cheap paint on an interior project won’t get you the best-looking, most durable finish, but it also won’t ruin your home. The stakes are higher with exterior paint, since it provides a layer of protection against the elements. Benjamin Moore routinely lands at or near the top of our rankings of top-quality paints, and its Element Guard Exterior Paint is another winner, thanks to its superb adhesion and resistance to stains and scratches, plus the fact that it can be applied in temperatures down to 35°F, extending the exterior painting season.LAB RESULTS: The paint fared extremely well in our tough performance tests. It shrugged off stains, including oil and dirt, and proved exceptionally hard-wearing in our durability test, in which an abrasion machine applies 750 passes with fine-grit sandpaper to simulate years of scrubbing and scratching. As for color selection, Benjamin Moore gets top marks with our design pros. “I’ve long been impressed with Benjamin Moore’s range of exterior paint colors, including their warm whites and earthy naturals, which have an enduring appeal,” says Valeris. “The brand is a designer favorite for good reason.”DIY-Friendly DeckingDeckorators Voyage Mineral-Based Composite DeckingOne of the knocks against wood-look composite decking is that its heft and hardness makes it tough to install, especially for less-experienced DIYers who don’t have a workshop full of specialized power tools. The Deckorators Mineral-Based Composite Decking uses a fiber-like structure to maintain exceptional strength while being about a third lighter than the competition. Available in multiple colors and widths for custom designs, the decking also boasts exceptional stain and slip resistance, important qualities for any high-traffic outdoor living area.LAB RESULTS: Pages, our outside judge, used Voyage at a 1,000-square-foot deck in Houston, documenting the project on his YouTube channel. He confirmed that the Deckorators decking is “lighter than most PVC and composite materials.” He also reported virtually no expansion and contraction, which makes for an easier, more forgiving installation. And he liked that the material can be installed directly on the ground or in water without voiding the warranty — good for coastal applications, or even for building directly on a lawn. Superior Composite DeckingTrex Transcend Lineage Composite DeckingAnyone who still doubts that composite decking can resemble real wood needs to hold a few samples of Trex’s Transcend Lineage Decking in their hands —or better yet, walk across a new deck made with it. Subtle graining gives the boards a remarkable authenticity, while heat-mitigating technology keeps them cooler than other like-colored composite options. Made from 95% recycled content, Transcend Lineage is engineered to resist fading, staining, scratching and mold. An occasional soap-and-water cleaning is the extent of the upkeep.LAB RESULTS: Let’s start with the looks: “Love it!” enthuses Valeris. “The color options feel sophisticated, especially the brown shades, which are so rich. The pattern of the grain seems natural as well.” Results from our performance tests were no less positive, with the capped composite decking proving extremely scratch and stain resistant. Trex backs its promise that the material won’t rot, warp, crack, or splinter with a 50-year limited warranty. Top-Quality Vinyl SidingCertainteed CERTAplank Single 7′ Reinforced SidingVinyl has been the most common siding material used on newly built homes in the U.S. for the last 25 years, thanks to its relatively low cost and minimal upkeep. It’s not always the best-looking siding on the block, though, and it can be prone to cracking, rattling, and melting. That’s what makes the CERTAplank such a game changer. Its wide, flat face and convincing grain pattern gives the look of real wood, while its extra-thick panel and reinforced foam backer provides exceptional durability for a product that’s still lightweight and easy to install.LAB RESULTS: The reinforced siding stood up to our tough impact tests, which simulate hail and other hard-driven objects. The material also fended off stains and scratches in our tests, so it should live up to its low-maintenance claims. As for its appearance, GH Associate Lifestyle Editor Alyssa Gautieri likes the “beautiful and timeless color options,” adding that “even the blue and green shades feel neutral and versatile, so you won’t tire of seeing these shades every day.” A nifty visualizer tool on the Certainteed website helps you figure out which of the 10 available colors will look best on your home. Convincing Plastic DeckingZuri Decking Premium DeckingPVC decking is a fast-growing category in the market, and with good reason. The synthetic material is extremely durable, resisting stains, scratches and rot, without the need for annual sealing or staining. Zuri Premium Decking has all those attributes, plus it’s one of the most attractive decking products to pass through our Labs in recent years. The rock-hard PVC base is capped with a supremely photo-realistic wood-grain print in a range of colors, including chestnut, pecan and weathered gray.LAB RESULTS: The decking fended off stains and scratches in our tests, and it also excelled in our impact-resistant tests, which simulate hail and other hard, falling objects. Pages, who has installed countless decks over the decades, raves about the appearance. “Zuri offers some of the best-looking design features,” he says, “including tasteful and interesting border patterns, dramatic inlays, and an end cap yielding a true two-inch edge for steps and rims.” He, along with our experts, also likes that the brand stands behind the product with a 25-year Color Fastness Warranty.Mike GartenTop-Notch Chain Saw More

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    Latest Amazon Finds for the Home (Fall Decor and More in The Inspired Room Amazon Storefront!)

    This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

    Decorating and organizing a home takes time, but today I’m here to help simplify the process and save you money with tips for using The Inspired Room Amazon Storefront!
    We find many lovely and practical finds for the home on Amazon in each season. Scroll below to see many of our most recent finds, with beautiful fall mood boards and decorating ideas for your home.
    But first, let me share three handy but simple tips for finding what you need using The Inspired Room Amazon storefront!

    You can check out ALL of my Amazon finds here in my storefront with categorized folders that are updated often. By checking out my personally curated Amazon storefront, you will not only know where to begin shopping but I can help you simplify the process of decorating and organizing your home.
    You can also type in this URL OR just come to the blog and scroll down a bit until you see my Amazon Storefront banner. Click the banner and you’ll be there!

    This folder of my storefront features things I personally own (or are very similar) from Amazon. I know it can be helpful to see things in real life, so I also try to add photos and videos of these pieces in our home here.

    Searching through thousands of products feels overwhelming. In addition to using my shop folders to find my favorites, you can use the search bar within my storefront to search for anything specific you’re looking for. The search bar within my shop will automatically pull up my related recommendations (for example: type “basket” and it will give you folders of my ideas, my mood boards, and photos from my home that feature baskets available).
    Searching within my storefront is like having me right there to guide you! See the screenshot of my shop page above, simply type in your search term in the box where it says Search all posts. Using my storefront search bar will save you so much time wandering around, or wondering which item to choose, or trying to find what you need! I hope this tip helps! 🙂
    FOLLOW MY STOREFRONT!Click the blue follow button on my storefront to stay in the loop of what I share in the future!
    Scroll down to enjoy these mood boards featuring some of my latest finds below, I hope these give you inspiration today for your own home!
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    See ALL my latest Amazon finds here in my storefront!
    …or head to my Shop page here to find sources from my home and more decor from a variety of online sites!

    Subscribe to my newsletter to receive home inspiration and encouragement right to your inbox! More

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    My New Rattan Serving Cart (how I’ll use it in my kitchen + why I’m so excited about it!)

    Rattan Serving Cart (on sale!) // Brass Ceiling Light // (see more sources at end of post)
    A few weeks ago I had an epiphany that led me to (unexpectedly but excitedly) buy a rattan serving cart! I am SO thrilled with it! The truth is I didn’t plan to add ANY furniture (except our dining table and chairs) when we designed our kitchen and dining room.
    Sometimes you don’t really know how a room will come together until:
    1) you start trying various arrangements, or2) you’re in it (not just looking at it on paper)
    That is how this rattan serving cart ended up in this special spot in our home! It was meant to be. Today I’ll share more about this serendipitous addition to our kitchen and dining area, why it works well for us, how we’ll use it and what this added piece brings to design-wise our space!
    Rattan Serving Cart (on sale!)
    While I love free standing furniture for storage and adding character to a room, as we were designing our kitchen and dining room we realized it really wouldn’t make sense to incorporate furniture (other than the table and chairs). We didn’t have many walls to work with (all of the three main rooms are smallish and open/connected to each other, plus two of the walls are filled with French doors), so we chose to use the available wall space in the dining room and kitchen for built-ins.
    This decisions and arrangement really helped us to maximize floor space, as well as improve storage and function in an “open” layout, and I can’t wait to share more of the details and the whole renovation in the reveal!
    Sources: Blue and White Ginger Jar // Rattan Serving Cart (on sale!)
    As I mentioned, the rattan cart wasn’t in the original design plan. Yet it serendipitously turned out to be the perfect piece for our room and looks so charming with the island, too! I love when a room comes together organically. I always expect a space evolve as we live in it, but that means you don’t always get to know in advance exactly how that will happen. You have to TRUST it will come together in time! And often if I’m patient, slowly but surely room will reveal to me what it wants :).
    A few months ago I did an inspiration blog post on rattan bar carts, never imagining at the time that we would ever have room for one ourselves!
    I knew I loved the look and had seen so many ways to use rattan carts (plus my mom had a rattan cart in her home for YEARS!), so there was no question I would love one in my home. Yet it wasn’t until I was finally standing in my new dining room one day, observing the space we had available that I could imagine how a small cart would be perfect. It would not only work space-wise with the table and chairs in place, but feels like a “meant-to-be” design decision!
    Rattan Serving Cart (on sale!)
    To be certain we would like it there, we brought in a similar cart (the one we got this summer for the porch). It wasn’t the right size (just a wee bit too big, but every inch counts), but it confirmed that we would love a similar piece in that spot. Now if we could find just the right size, color and shape we’d be set!
    I was so excited because I immediately found a rattan serving cart that checked all of the boxes, so I ordered it on the spot (and bonus I had a $50 credit and it was on sale!). MEANT TO BE!
    It is really is a wonderful addition to our kitchen/dining area in so many ways. Not too big, not too small. I love how it brings a subtle shift and connection in the function from the “kitchen side” to the “dining area.” It also brings together and adds to all of our warm toned textures, from the cutting boards and the wood flooring to the metal fixtures over the island. I also love the way it contrasts with the natural stones and soft creamy cabinets. It feels just right, so warm, homey and inviting, like I planned for it to be there all along.
    I think many times, that’s the best way to design a room. It can turn out even BETTER when you don’t plan every detail to begin with! It is fun when you find that unexpected piece, or there is an element of surprise with how it came together, or when you simply have the joy of watching it evolve and become your own over time.
    Similar Wood Handle Flatware
    This is what I hoped for in our kitchen. I wanted the overall design to feel welcoming, classic and timeless, as if it always been here in our family. Yet in order to feel like it’s truly always been with us and will be for years to come, it would naturally evolve because we would enjoy it and live in it.
    While it’s a new kitchen and a new serving cart, every day it’s feeling more and more like a family home we’ve always loved and always will.
    So how will we use the rattan cart and what is on it now?
    Blue Rug // Rattan Serving Cart (on sale!)
    I can’t wait to use this rattan cart in different ways and of course, share it with you each season. Besides looking really cute, it is so handy to hold things we may need day to day, like a stack of cloth napkins, our favorite little trays and various trivets, some coasters, a small wood cutting board, a vase for flowers and wood flatware that not only looks so pretty on display but it handy to grab from the table. Plus it is fun to be able to lean art (which we did on the lower shelf!) or set potted plants, display seasonal decor or foliage, or even to set up with dishes or desserts to serve at family gathering! We can also move the cart around to other places as needed.
    Happy start to the fall nesting season, friends! We’re enjoying getting more settled and comfortable in our home every day. It’s the ideal season for all things cozy, so stay tuned as I’ll have so much to share with you! Thank you for being here!

    Rattan serving cart (on sale!)
    Striped blue and white cloth napkins
    Round rattan trays
    Blue and white ginger jar (see more of my blue and white favorites on Amazon here)
    Similar wood handle flatware
    Woven charger placemats (see more woven chargers and other entertaining supplies in this folder of my Amazon shop)
    Blue rug
    Brass ceiling light (see our kitchen design mood board here for more sources)
    Black and white pattern crock is an old kitchen canister, out of stock but find similar in this Kitchen Jars & Canisters folder
    Cabinet color: Classic Light Buff Sherwin Williams
    Flooring: real European White Oak hardwood, engineered. I unfortunately don’t have a link to them — they were purchased through a local store and have no brand name I can find online.
    See our most recent renovation update here.

    Rattan Bar Carts inspiration rooms
    My flea market find rattan shelf (still have this, now in our guest room!)
    My rattan daybed (this is now in our Snug which has been recently rearranged after getting new floors, I’ll share that soon!)
    Inspiration: Rattan and Bamboo Accent Furniture
    My “Rattan Love” Pinterest board with inspiration photos
    My outdoor serving cart (+ simple gathering inspiration)

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    How to Hang Curtains the Right Way, According to an Interior Designer

    When properly hung, the right drapery will make an interior feel complete — not only do they provide privacy and regulate sunlight, but they create the illusion of a larger space and add a dose of texture. Finding the proper size curtains and hanging your curtain rod at the appropriate height is crucial for both aesthetics and function. “If the height of drapes is not maximized, it can make a room look shorter than it actually is — creating a feeling of compression in a room,” says Ashley Macuga, principal designer of Collected Interiors. We understand there’s a lot that goes into hanging curtains, from measuring your window to installing curtain rod brackets into drywall. That’s why we’ve written this easy-to-follow guide, broken up into two parts: How to measure for curtains and how to hang curtains. We tapped into designer Ashley Macuga for her expert advice, so you can hang curtains just like a pro. What You’ll NeedHow to Measure for Curtains✔️ Calculate the width of your window. Your curtain rod should extend past the window on both sides by at least 8 to 10 inches. To create the appearance of a larger window, your rod should be a total of 16 to 20 inches longer than your window.✔️ Consider the size of your drapery stack, which refers to the amount of space the curtains take up when they are fully opened and pushed to the sides, says Macuga. “Personally, I like to have a curtain stack on each side that is at least half the size of the window for a more elegant and full look when the curtains are drawn.”Annika Erickson//Getty Images✔️ Calculate the height of your window. To make a room feel taller and more grand, hang your curtain rod a few inches (about 4 to 6) above your window. “The most common mistake is hanging curtains too low,” says Macuga.✔️ Measure from the top of your window frame to the floor. This measurement will determine how long your curtains should be — and don’t forget to add a few inches, since your curtain rod will be hung above the window. Curtains should just about reach the floor. “We aim for 1/4″ if there are no pets in the home, and 1/2″ if there is a risk that pet hair might accumulate and adhere to the bottom,” says Macuga.Designer advice: When in doubt, size up. If you’re worried about puddling on the ground, hem the curtains or bring them to your local seamstress. Nicole Dianne PhotographyHow to Hang Curtains Once you’ve purchased the right size curtain rod and drapery, it’s time to break out the drill. While some people may prefer to hire a handyman or a TaskRabbit, it’s simple enough to do it yourself. Follow these step-by-step instructions to hang curtains with ease. Use a pencil to mark drill holes for your bracket. Once you’ve determined how high and wide to hang the curtain rod bracket, mark the wall with a pencil. Use a level to ensure your markings on each side are even.Screw in the brackets for the curtain rod. Drapery is heavy, which means you’ll probably need wall anchors unless you’re able to locate studs on the wall. (Tip: Use a stud finder to determine if you’ll need wall anchors.) First, drill guide holes then fasten the brackets to the wall using a drill or screwdriver. Hang the curtains. After you thread the curtains onto the rod, hang the rod in the brackets. Use a level to ensure the curtains are hung evenly. Then, open and close the curtains to ensure they’re working properly.RELATED: 7 Best Cordless Drills of 2023, Tested by EngineersQuick tip: Before putting your drapes onto the curtain rod, test that your brackets are sturdy enough to support the rod alone and that it appears even. Associate Lifestyle EditorAlyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish,, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries. More

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    Behr Keeps It Classic With a Soft Black as Its 2024 Color of the Year

    Behr’s 2024 Color of the Year, Cracked Pepper (PPU18-1), has arrived! Staying on theme with last year’s pick — a versatile off-white shade called Blank Canvas — the popular paint brand has chosen a soft black that is intended to lend character and a modern flair to just about any space, indoors and out. Behr, which is sold exclusively at The Home Depot, brought its Color of the Year to life outdoors at an intimate media preview at Napa Valley’s Stanly Ranch, a luxury hotel set on 712 picturesque acres. With the property’s ranch land and vineyards as the backdrop, design editors and content creators had the opportunity to explore kitchen, dining room and living room vignettes, all showcasing the beauty of the classic hue. From the kitchen island and cabinets to the walls that framed the outdoor space crafted especially for the event, the beauty of Cracked Pepper was on full display. Behr celebrated its 2024 Color of the Year, Cracked Pepper, by designing a selection of outdoor vignettes, including this kitchen setup, at Napa Valley’s Stanly Ranch. Monique Valeris”People have been working with light, warm neutrals for the last few years, and Cracked Pepper is a color that can create a comfortable atmosphere,” Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr Paint Company, told Good Housekeeping. “It’s a bold, strong color that is very adaptable and easy to bring into any decor style.” More From Good Housekeeping play iconThe triangle icon that indicates to playThe evolution of consumers’ personal tastes has a lot to do with this year’s Color of the Year choice, too, according to Sarah Fishburne, The Home Depot’s director of trend and design. “Our research shows that homeowners are more open to darker colors,” Fishburne told Gold Housekeeping. The company’s recent survey revealed that more than half of Americans (57%) believe a darker wall color is design-forward. What’s more, two-thirds of Americans (65%) note that a dark color makes a room feel bold.But what if you’re more comfortable with lighter paint colors and feel reluctant to take a design risk with Cracked Pepper? Woelfel recommends starting small rather than wrapping all four walls with it. “Paint a piece of furniture, a ceiling, update an island in a white kitchen or use it for interior doors,” she says. Don’t forget its potential outdoors as well, Fishburne noted. From the exterior of a charming bungalow to a modern setting or coastal property, Cracked Pepper’s warm, organic nature has no bounds. Fishburne even used it for the gutters of her red brick home. “Sometimes white gutters can be very daunting, but this color is very forgiving,” she says. In other words, the choice is yours! Senior Home EditorMonique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand’s home decorating coverage across print and digital. Prior to joining GH in 2020, she was the digital editor at Elle Decor. In her current role, she explores everything from design trends and home tours to lifestyle product recommendations, including writing her monthly column, “What’s in My Cart.” More

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    How to Make a Fleece Tie Blanket

    A fleece tie blanket is one of the easiest no-sew crafts for kids, teens and adults. It’s a simple, inexpensive project made by cutting, tying and knotting together two pieces of fleece. So, if you’re looking to exercise your creativity, add this tie blanket to your list of projects, especially once it’s time for winter crafts. Whether you purchase a kit or start with your own fabric, the end result is a soft, cute and warm blanket. Materials Needed: Mike GartenFabric Requirements For this project, we used two yards of the Rainbow Blizzard Fleece and the Mint Blizzard Solid Fleece from Joann. The fabric is soft, warm and manageable for cutting and tying. Heavy fleece, like anti-pill polar fleece, may be too thick for this project. Two yards is ideal for adults and one yard works for children. How to Make a Fleece Tie Blanket: Step 1: Measure and cut 5 x 5-inch squares. Start by layering the fleece on a desk or craft surface. Make sure both coordinating pieces are correctly aligned on top of each other. Cut a 5 x 5-inch square out of each corner of the blanket. These cut-out squares help make the corners neat once the ties are finished. Plus, they’ll help you create the lengths of fringes around the blanket. More From Good Housekeeping play iconThe triangle icon that indicates to playNote: Make sure you cut through both layers of fleece. Mike GartenStep 2: Cut five-inch slits, every one inch.You want to make a 1 x 5-inch fringe around the entire edge of the fleece blanket. This means that each strip should be the same length as the starter square (5 inches). Use a yardstick to space out the cuts every inch. The yardstick will also help to keep the cuts straight. You want to cut five-inch slits on all four sides of the blanket. Mike GartenStep 3: Tie the fringes. Here’s how to tie the fringes. Repeat this process for every cut. Pull the fringe over your finger. Mike GartenPush the fringe through the loop.Mike GartenPull the end through to create a knot. Continue pulling until fully tightened. Optional: Tie a double knot if you think your basic knots won’t hold.Mike GartenStep 4: Continue tying the fringe.Keep tying the pieces of fleece together until you finish all four sides. Then, your new tie blanket is done! Mike GartenAnd if you want even more DIYs for beginner and expert crafters alike, check out the GH Stitch Club, where we show you how to crochet, knit and more!Assistant EditorMariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community, a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work.  More

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    The Rules of Throw Pillows, According to Experts

    If you’re home-upgrade curious, your social media feed is likely filled with carefully curated, ultra-stylized living room setups prime for afternoon naps, movies and game nights. “What makes those couches look so cozy and inviting?” you wonder. The answer is simple: throw pillows. There aren’t too many. The patterns don’t clash. They look like you can melt right into them. But how did they get so perfect?There might not be a science to throw pillows, but there is an art. To help make your couch more alluring, we asked Cathleen Gruver, lead interior designer for Gruver Cooley Interiors, and Margaret Cashman, interior designer and co-founder of Cashman Interiors, to share their best throw pillow practices. Check out their tips, then stock up on affordable options from Consider the space (and how it’s used) Not all pillows are created equal, so the throw pillows you keep on your bed should differ from the ones on your living room couch. “When you’re choosing pillows for a living room, you have to factor in comfort,” Gruver explains. “Sure, a beaded pillow may look beautiful, but it will not feel great to sit against or lay on.” Instead, she suggests saving the fancier embellished or tasseled styles for spots that won’t be used for lounging, such as the entryway.Brielle Home, Teagan Multi-Color Textured Boho Geometric57 Grand by Nicole Curtis, Yellow GeometricTriangle Home Fashions, Hygge Row White Pillow CoverUse a variety of sizes Different silhouettes add interest to a room — and that goes for pillows, too. “The goal would be to have a staggered look, where the pillows all feel like they are close enough in size to connect, says Gruver. “The only reason I would add a bunch of pillows in the same size would be if the sofa or seat was super deep and needed more support.”Cashman agrees. “Try using 22-inch pillows on either side of the couch and something fun in the middle to keep the space feeling unique.”David TsayMix things upUltimately, Cashman just wants people to have fun — and be a little daring — with their pillow choices. “Adding accent pillows that aren’t matchy-matchy will help the space feel more unique and organic and less overstyled,” she says.“The first approach is to keep it simple and let textures and neutral patterns be your friend, and have art be the real focus,” Gruver adds. “The second approach is to tie in [your pillows] with any art you may have by pulling colors from it.” Each method provides an opportunity to reinvigorate the space. LR Home, Striped Teal Over Tufted SolidMina Victory, Lifestyles Yellow Striped Artistic Weavers, Brunehill Navy Graphic PolyesterWork in threesYou don’t want to risk overwhelming anyone with too many throw pillows, which is why both Cashman and Gruver recommend sets of threes (two pillows on one side of the couch plus one on the other). People don’t typically feel overwhelmed at the thought of sitting down with three pillows, explains Gruver. “I’ve noticed most people like to curl up with a pillow, so it also gives the opportunity for that to happen naturally.” David TsayKeep your throw pillows fresh Cashman and Gruver suggest ordering inserts that are one to two inches bigger than the covers so the pillows look taught and tailored. Flat pillows look — and feel — uncomfortable. “Rotating your pillows helps if you know you use one side [of the couch] more than the other, or if one side is more exposed to sunlight,” Gruver explains.In addition to washing them, Gruver notes the importance of proper storage and suggests having an organized box or bin, as well as a vacuum-sealed bag for pillows you’re not using. Prioritize quality and durabilityHigh-traffic areas, like your family’s living room, call for furniture and accessories that can survive pet hair, food spills and lots of lounging. Cashman prefers pillow covers made with durable fabrics. “Using performance fabrics like nylon or polyester ensures that pillows will hold up longer and can be cleaned from the everyday messes of life,” she says.Similarly, Gruver is a fan of down alternative inserts. “They’re super comfortable, easy to shape, and you don’t get poked with feathers popping out,” she explains. “They can also easily be thrown into the wash for care, which I recommend doing at least once a year.”Photographer: David Tsay; Art Direction and Production: Armine Altiparmakian and Sabrina Contratti; Prop Stylist: Olga Grigorenko; Merch Team: Two Coast Productions; Local Production: Right Arm Productions More

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    How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets Until They Shine

    Accidental spills, splatters and greasy fingerprints are bound to happen, especially if you cook every day — yet, most people don’t clean their kitchen cabinets regularly. No matter if your kitchen cabinets are glass, wood, laminate or painted, they lose their visual appeal when they’re covered in grime, stains or dust. Not only will your kitchen aesthetic suffer, but dirty kitchen cabinets might harbor bacteria or viruses that can cause harmful side effects. To help clean and refresh your kitchen, Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, shares everything you need to know about cleaning kitchen cabinets. Follow these easy instructions, whether you’re looking for a quick or a deep clean — and keep scrolling for our recommendations for the best multi-purpose cleaners and cabinet cleaners.How to regularly clean cabinetsWhether your cabinets are finished wood, laminate or painted wood, consider these simple instructions to keep your kitchen looking clean and bright. Apply a safe, but grease-cutting all-purpose cleaner or a mixture of dish soap and water to a cloth. Ensure the cloth is damp, but not overly wet.Wipe both sides of the cabinet door, paying special attention to knobs and drawer pulls where you’ll likely find greasy fingerprints.For stuck-on grime (likely for cabinets above the stove), wrap a delicate scrub pad in a cloth and wipe clean.Use a damp cloth to rinse the cabinet doors until there’s no soap or cleaner residue. Buff dry with a microfiber cloth. If you’re using a cabinet cream for finished wood cabinets, buff afterward but also, read label directions. RELATED: 8 Best All-Purpose Cleaners, According to Cleaning Experts How to deep clean cabinetsFor a quick touch-up, you should regularly wipe your cabinet doors and knobs — but don’t neglect the inside of your kitchen cabinets and drawers forever, as they can accumulate crumbs, dust and stains. Every few months, a deep clean is in order.Starting from the upper cabinets and working your way down, begin emptying each cabinet and drawer. Tip: You can go one-by-one or empty a few at a time, but avoid emptying all at once. Using a damp microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner, wipe down the inside of the cabinet, including any shelving and the back of the cabinet door. Don’t forget to clean any hardware, grooves or trim where dust and grease can build-up. If your cloth can’t reach small crevices, use a small brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the area.Buff dry.Grace Cary//Getty ImagesHow often to clean kitchen cabinetsDaily: If you splatter or spill food as you cook, it’s best to wipe up the mess with a damp cloth as soon as possible. Cleaning as you cook will make the need for a deeper clean less frequent. Monthly: For a quick touch-up, you can wipe the outside of your cabinets once per week using your cabinet cleaner of choice.One to two times per year: Every once in a while, kitchen cabinets benefit from a deeper clean, which means taking everything out and cleaning both the inside and outside of every cabinet. Our advice? Plan a deep cleaning in the fall and spring.Associate Lifestyle EditorAlyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish,, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries. More