The top interior design looks this year

Interior design trends this year are all about texture, style and surprises. It’s hardwood floors celebrating knots and imperfections or variations in plank sizes and color. It’s wood on your walls and faux stone tile backsplashes. It’s mixing unexpected materials to create an entirely new look. Sara Babinski, a designer for Armstrong Flooring, offers her view of the top design trends of 2018.

Earth tones. They’re big this year in everything from accent pieces to linens and walls, to flooring.

Faux wood. Looks can deceive, and what may appear to be a hardwood floor is actually luxury vinyl.

Natural hardwood. Floors celebrate the natural beauty of the wood, highlighting knots and naturally occurring imperfections, including varying plank sizes, colors, and widths.

Global influences. Cultural influences in accent pieces continue to trend.

Victorian and antique decor. This can translate easily to flooring trends.


Poison safety tips to keep your family safe

Follow these poisoning prevention tips to stay healthy and safe:

1) Know which items are poisonous. Many household items may pose a specific poison risk, including antifreeze and snow salt, so store them safely.

2) Keep your home warm — and safe. Many fuel-burning devices can be sources of poisonous carbon monoxide gas. To prevent CO poisoning, have at least one CO detector in your home and follow safety precautions for all fuel-burning devices.

3) Don’t let winter cold and flu season become more serious. Keep all medication, including over-the-counter cold medicine, in locked cabinets, away from children and pets.

4) Save the number, save a life. The Poison Help line is your first line of defense against poisoning deaths and injuries. Dial 1-800-222-1222 to be connected with experts who can help you right away. For more information, visit


What to do before home offer

Use this checklist from Coleman to vet the structure and systems of your potential new house.

Roof: Look for broken, curled and missing shingles, dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging.

Foundation: Say no to widening cracks, water stains and bulges.

Plumbing: Check pipes for leaks, scan ceilings for water stains and open faucets to check the water pressure.

HVAC system: Older heating and cooling systems can spell costly repairs and a replacement, as well as higher energy costs.


Add fire safety to your family’s routine

Many people assume that because they have smoke alarms in their homes, they are automatically protected in the event of a fire. But alarms need to be installed, maintained and tested to ensure they are working properly, according to First Alert.

Count the alarms — Include one on every level and in every bedroom.

Install them properly — Follow your alarm’s user manual.

Get complete coverage — Install dual-sensor alarms to cover all types of issues.

Install and maintain — Test once a month, keep clean of dust and debris and change batteries each spring and fall.

Plan your escape — Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year and plan a meeting spot.

For more fire safety tips, visit