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Would direct sales work for you?

(BPT) – The Federal Reserve Board discovered in a survey of working Americans that nearly half of U.S. adults don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a $400 emergency. If that’s a concern for you, you might be thinking about joining the 44 million Americans who have found ways to make money in addition to their main source of income. Common options include waiting tables, working retail, becoming a rideshare driver and direct selling.

Direct selling, also called direct-to-consumer sales, has been around for over 160 years, and companies like Avon, Tupperware, WorldVentures and Amway have been offering new business opportunities to independent sales representatives since they opened. The direct-sales business is still booming, with a record 20.5 million people involved in the U.S. alone in 2016. The estimated direct retail sales of $35.54 billion in 2016 was the second-highest in direct-selling history.

Is working in direct sales right for you? Benefits of working in the industry can include:

* Flexibility — You determine your schedule, and you choose to work as many — or as few — hours as you want. If you have a knack for direct selling, you could ultimately make it your main source of income.

* Personal growth and development — Take advantage of the tools and training offered by your direct selling company to help you build your business.

* Companionship — Connect with fellow sales representatives and prospective customers, which can lead to lasting relationships.

Passion for travel and financial freedom prompted Wayne Nugent, founder of WorldVentures, to launch his direct sales business in 2005. “We’ve been changing the way people take vacations for more than a decade, all while helping our independent representatives discover their potential and experience more in life,” says Nugent.

The direct seller of travel and leisure club memberships, is just one of many opportunities waiting for you. Whether you decide to go into direct sales, housesitting or part-time bartending, the possibilities for supplemental income are limited only by your imagination.

5 savvy strategies to calm your travel worries

(BPT) – Traveling can make for some of the best moments of your life, but it is not without its challenges. After all, there are rooms to book, activities to plan and, of course, luggage to worry about. Without the right strategies, these challenges can seem pretty daunting.

How daunting? A survey from Honeywell shows that thinking about luggage and whether it’s been successfully loaded onto the plane is one of the top worries travelers have when embarking on a new trip. Fortunately, there’s a solution to that and many other challenges employed by savvy travelers. How savvy are you? Read on to see how many of these strategies you already use and find some new tactics to round out your portfolio.

* Downsize your wallet. Your billfold is a wealth of personal and financial information, but you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in the same basket. Clear your wallet of everything except a credit card, a backup and your insurance information and leave the rest at home. Pack some cash in your carry-on and you’ll ensure a missing wallet won’t be a total loss.

* Travel during the off-season. Travel can be expensive, especially if you’re flying during peak season. This makes winter travel to many locations significantly cheaper. However, many people refuse to fly during this time because they believe the weather will hinder their flight. Fortunately, many delays can be avoided thanks to modern technology. Honeywell’s GoDirect Weather allows pilots to safely navigate through snowstorms, hurricanes and other adverse weather conditions to provide you a safe, smooth and affordable flight to your destination.

* Pack a one-day survival kit. Lost luggage can happen to anyone, and that’s why it’s important to have a backup plan. Enter your carry-on. Instead of using it only for the items you want with you on the plane, pack it full of everything you’ll need to survive for 24 hours in your destination. That way, if your luggage should be misplaced at arrival, you won’t be stuck scrambling for everything once you land.

* Breathe easy while flying. Forty-four percent of survey respondents said they felt the air quality inside the aircraft cabin was so poor it could make people sick. This is a myth, and modern environmental control systems, designed by Honeywell, not only keep the cabin pressure comfortable, they scrub the air regularly of toxins, microbes, molds, viruses and even smells. This means you can breathe deep and focus on your destination without sacrificing your comfort.

* Do your research. Getting the lay of the land is one of the most exciting parts of traveling to a new location, and a little preparation allows you to enjoy the journey without getting lost. Make the most of your time while you’re traveling by planning some activities in advance and mapping them out. You’ll save time when you land if you know how far the airport is from your hotel and that hot restaurant you want to try. 

Never stop traveling

Travelers today are savvier than ever, but old myths die hard. In planning your next adventure, focus on the tips above and ignore the myths. It’s a surefire strategy to enjoy every moment of your travels and create memories that last a lifetime.

Read more about Honeywell Aerospace on the Follow the Aero blog.

4 Traits to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

BPT) – Planning a wedding is no small task. In order to enjoy the process (and stay sane), it’s important to recognize early on which details can be decided quickly, and which ones deserve more time and care.

When it comes to wedding photos, you can’t go wrong with a little extra time and thought, because there’s no such thing as a do-over. Choosing the right person for the job makes all the difference in getting that collection of photos you’ll treasure forever.

When your special day rolls around, a professional photographer will have the skill and artistry in capturing those beautiful candid moments as well as the more formal portraits. Here are some traits to look for during your search that signal you’re in good hands.

1. A portfolio you love. Your venue may have a list of “preferred professionals” to choose from, but don’t feel obligated to stick with their list. Feel free to explore your options, and browse local guides and websites for the ones that have strong portfolios that speak to you. As you look, pay attention to mood, style and facial expressions. Skilled and experienced photographers should have a strong and varied wedding day collection.

2. They help you think through the day. A good listener who takes a genuine interest in your plans — and makes sure you feel elated with their work — is always a good sign. Things like venue, lighting, time of day, the number of people you want to capture, number of settings and the itinerary are just a few factors they need to consider to plan and organize the shoot. If you’re not sure about something, ask their opinion. A professional will give you an honest assessment along with lots of suggestions so you enjoy your special day and capture those priceless images.

3. Something just clicks. And it’s not just the shutter. Bad puns aside, keep in mind you’re going to be spending the day with your photographer. In fact, you could very well be spending more time with the photographer than anyone else — even with your beloved. Don’t skip the in-person, face-to-face meeting when planning your special day. You want to be sure this is someone who makes you both feel open and relaxed, so trust your gut feeling.

4. They’re the complete package. A professional will complete the time-consuming (and sometimes overwhelming) task of sorting through hundreds of shots for you and put their skills to work in editing the images. What you should get is a collection of hand-picked images, all perfectly edited, cropped and toned, so they capture the best moments and emotions of the day.

The one bearing the camera has a great responsibility: They are recording the first pages of history for your new family. To make sure you find the one that has the experience and the flair the day calls for, a professional photographer is always the right call. Start your search with the Professional Photographers of America by visiting FindAPhotographer.com/WeddingPhotos.

How you can improve your FICO Score

(BPT) – Anyone who has tried to borrow money to purchase a car, buy a home or open a revolving line of credit may be familiar with the term FICO Score. Most lenders use this scoring model, which essentially determines a person’s creditworthiness.

“The FICO Score may seem like a big, daunting mystery, especially since your score can have a huge impact on your ability to borrow money at a competitive rate,” said Jim Johnston, of Colorado-based Bellco Credit Union. “The truth is, however, you do have power over your credit score, and there are things you can do to improve it over time.”

How FICO Score is calculated

FICO was named for the data analytics company Fair Isaac Co., which created the first credit-scoring system. In general, a credit score breaks down as follows:

* 35 percent is your payment history — Do you pay bills on time?

* 30 percent is the amounts you owe (on loans, credit cards, etc.) — Owing money on different credit accounts is not necessarily bad, especially if you’re paying your bills on time every month. FICO considers how many of your accounts have balances, if you’re using your entire credit line, and how much of any installment loan you still owe.

* 15 percent is the length of your credit history — Having a long credit history is good, but even if you’re young and barely have any credit history (such as credit cards and a car loan), you can still have a high FICO score.

* 10 percent is your credit mix — What is your mix of credit, meaning credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage loans, etc.? A good mix of credit, especially with a history of on-time payments, is helpful to your score.

* 10 percent is any new credit — If you’ve opened numerous credit accounts in a short period, this can have a negative impact. Although closing a credit account still shows up on your credit history, it has no impact on your score.

Tips to improve your score

Repairing your credit takes time, so it’s important to be patient. Below are three things you can do.

1. Check your credit report — The first thing you should do is get a free copy of your credit report and make sure there are no errors. If you find an error, you have the right to dispute it with the credit bureau.

2. Get organized — Don’t make any more late payments on your credit cards. The best way to do this is to get organized. Set up auto payments through your bank or credit union, or set reminders to make payments before they are due.

3. Pay down your debt — While this is no easy task, it will make a difference. Use your credit report to make a list of all your credit cards and the balances you owe. Pick the credit cards with the highest interest rates, and tackle those balances first. Most importantly, don’t add to your debt by continuing to use your credit cards.

Your FICO Score does not take into account annual income, length of employment, or other sources of financial support such as alimony or child support. However, these are things that your bank or credit union can consider when you’re borrowing money, so it’s not all about the FICO Score.

Knowledge is power. Understand what your FICO Score is, how a good or bad score can impact your life, and if a low FICO Score is holding you back. There’s no better time than now to begin to make positive changes to improve your score.

Rent vs. own: Which is right for you?

(BPT) – If you’re thinking of buying your first home, you’ve probably wrestled with the decision to rent or own your home — and for good reason.

Owning a home is a big commitment. With it comes a lot of responsibility and a long-term financial relationship.

But which is right for you? To answer that, let’s lean into the facts.

The improving housing market

Good news! Since the depths of the recession, the housing market has made a heroic comeback. That can be attributed to a number of factors, including a drop in unemployment and a stronger economy.

But as the housing market has recovered, it has experienced some growing pains. With a sharp increase in demand, housing supplies are being strained. This means, among other things, that prices are going up.

For families and individuals still recovering financially, finding affordable housing options can be difficult. This applies to home sales and rentals.

Making the decision

With rental and sales markets heading toward record highs, the decision falls back to what is best for you. Specifically, what is financially feasible.

Let’s look at the basic numbers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median gross rent paid from 2012 to 2016 was $949 monthly. Compare that with the median selected monthly owner costs with a mortgage, which was $1,491 over the same time period.

Then there are utilities. The median monthly electricity cost for renters in 2015 was $82, with owners paying $117. For piped gas, the median amount renters pay monthly is $42, while owners pay $58.

For renters, it is wise to carry renter’s insurance. Some landlords will also charge maintenance and other fees. Utility costs will also vary depending on the quality of the structure and materials used as well as size of the rental space.

Homeowners will pay property taxes, insurance and an estimated $500 annually for routine maintenance, according to the Census Bureau.

The benefits of homeownership

At a glance, it may seem that renting is the lower cost option. But there are certain benefits to homeownership that may offset the additional regular costs. According to the Tax Policy Center, the primary benefit to owning a home is imputed rental income. Simply put, making a monthly payment on a home that you own is like paying rent to yourself.

While that money is not taxed, it comes with another benefit — potential tax deductions. When you file your federal taxes, you may be able to deduct a portion of the mortgage interest you pay. Talk to a tax professional for more information on the expenses you can deduct and the limits for those deductions.

Beyond the numbers

Homeownership provides a variety of benefits beyond the numbers. For many people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make. The upgrades, work and care put into the home that you own can add value to your investment. It also adds a sense of pride knowing that it is yours.

“Having a place to call your own, a place to return to at the end of the day, makes life better,” said Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. President Eric Hamilton. “You can see it from the moment they make the decision — that sense of pride. It’s a life-changing event and a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, (http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.

Debunking home ownership myths for millennials

(BPT) – We’ve all been told, that owning a home is part of the American dream. It’s the biggest and most rewarding investment many people will make in their lives. Instead of paying rent every month and having nothing to show for it, paying a monthly mortgage builds equity and wealth.

While most know the benefits of owning a home, for many millennials and young people, it can seem like a distant prospect. In fact, while 52 percent of millennials say they no longer want to pay rent, only 18 percent think they can afford a new home, according to a recent survey conducted by loanDepot.

What is the source of this disparity? There are many reasons, but part of the problem is a vast majority of young people think there is only one way to buy a home, or that certain strict criteria has to be met to qualify for a loan.

There are many myths surrounding home ownership. Let’s break some of them down.

Misconceptions about the down payment

Many believe a down payment is the biggest obstacle that stands between them and home ownership. The accepted wisdom is that 20 percent of the home’s value is needed to make the down payment. This can be a rather substantial sum. Of those surveyed, 63 percent of people think they can’t afford a down payment; 43 percent believe poor credit history would prevent them from entering the housing market and 38 percent worry that too much existing debt would prevent them from doing so.

The truth is, a down payment can be as little as 10, 5, or even 3 percent. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to access these loan options. Rather than simply doing an online search, you should take a few minutes to explore your options and talk to a loan expert at loanDepot to fully explore what kinds of mortgages are available.

Student loans don’t have to be a barrier

One of the biggest sources of financial stress for millennials is the amount of student debt they carry. The effects of this debt can be paralyzing, and many believe they first need to pay off their loans before they can even think about owning a home.

The good news is that Fannie Mae recently announced several policy changes designed to help those with student debt qualify for home loans. Other lenders, like loanDepot, have special programs designed to help those with specific types of student loans, or even 40-year mortgage loan programs that have a 10-year interest-only initial repayment period, which can help borrowers tackle their student loan debt while they make lower mortgage payments.

Streamline the process with technology

So where do you start? How can home seekers find the loan that’s right for them?

Many millennials think getting a mortgage is a complicated maze. But with loanDepot’s proprietary digital lending platform, future homeowners have access to a web-based consumer portal that provides a fully digital mortgage loan application experience. With these features, as well as access to licensed loan consultants in 180+ retail locations, homebuyers have the ability to explore options they may have never thought existed, and to find the home loan that fits their budget to buy the home of their dreams.

Dermatologist debunks top 5 skincare misconceptions

(BPT) – Figuring out what’s best for your skin can feel like solving a difficult mystery — everyone’s condition is unique, there are countless treatment options and people will do almost anything for a clear complexion.

“When it comes to your skin, there are many elements to consider,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist, CEO and founder of Curology. “Clogged pores, acne and other common issues can be a result of age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. I often hear about common misconceptions that cause otherwise well-meaning people to make mistakes that trigger larger skincare problems.”

To help people better understand skincare and take control of their daily regimen, Dr. Lortscher shares the top misconceptions about skincare and acne.

Misconception: Exercise and sweat can cause acne.

Fact: Sweating while exercising doesn’t cause acne. The eccrine glands produce sweat and the sebaceous glands produce oil — so revving up the sweat glands doesn’t actually turn on the oil glands involved in acne breakouts. The truth is sweating and humidity can aggravate breakouts by giving the bacteria on the skin a better environment to grow.

Cleansing is key post-workout, but keep in mind vigorously cleansing your skin can also be a source of friction that aggravates acne. The best strategy is to splash comfortable-temperature water on your face and neck, then pat dry gently.

Misconception: Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne.

Fact: Many people have heard that chocolate and junk food are the worst foods for your skin, but modern science hasn’t found a direct link between acne and oily foods.

Diets are like acne treatments: highly individual. That’s not to say your eating habits can’t affect your skin. Eating simple carbs and sugar raises your blood sugar levels, causing your body to produce excess insulin, in turn stimulating oil production and leading to more inflammation and increased acne severity.

Misconception: DIY skincare and home remedies are good for your skin.

Fact: The DIY craze has extended to skincare routines, giving people ample ways to create their own remedies at home. However, it’s wise to be careful about the ingredients applied to your skin.

Some people try baking soda as a cost-effective scrub or mask. Baking soda is pH 9 and the pH of the skin is 4.5-5 or so. Therefore, scrubbing your face with a baking soda paste can be harsh and disturb your skin’s natural barrier, leading to red, raw and sensitive skin and leaving it susceptible to breakout.

Others suggest lemon juice as a home remedy for acne but it can cause significant dryness, redness and irritation. Lemon juice may have an exfoliating effect on the most superficial dead skin cells, but there are better ways to treat your acne.

If you’re fed up with DIY remedies and over-the-counter products just haven’t worked for you, you have options. Try custom prescription skincare like Curology, a service that gets you expert dermatology care from the comfort of your home. Just take a few photos and a skin quiz to get a prescription formula customized to your individual needs.

Misconception: You can make your pores smaller.

Fact: Most people want smaller pores, but in reality, you can’t change the size or force them “open” or “closed.”

Pore size is genetic; you can’t shrink them or make pores go away. To keep large pores from worsening, treat acne breakouts, don’t pick and use sun protection. Sun exposure breaks down collagen, which is the support structure surrounding the pores, so pores do appear larger as you age.

Misconception: You only need to wear sunscreen on sunny days.

Fact: It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy; if you plan to spend time outdoors, wear sunscreen daily. It is estimated that damage caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun is responsible for up to 80 percent of skin aging.

SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Senior guest? How to prepare your home for older visitors

How to host a senior guest in your home with success

(BPT) – Whether it’s for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home can be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.

“Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations,” says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living’s senior vice president of resident and family engagement. “Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults’ varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs.”

Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.

Outdoors

The walkways to many homes are cracked or uneven, which is a risk factor for falls. Make sure the pathway is cleared and easy to see, shovel show in the winter and sweep leaves in the fall. Stairs can be tricky to maneuver as well. If possible, add a ramp that leads to your door. If there are stairs, install handrails on each side. Entryways divided by a threshold can be tricky for someone with mobility issues. Eliminate this common tripping hazard when seniors visit.

Clutter

The easiest thing you can do is remove clutter (especially on the floor) to allow sufficient space for senior guests who may be in a wheelchair to maneuver around rooms. Remove or tape down all cords. Rugs may look nice but they are a leading tripping hazard. Remove all accent rugs from your home, and in areas like the entryway where you must have mats, make sure they are secured with non-slip material.

Light

Seniors need more light than you do in your home, particularly in notoriously dim areas such as entryways, hallways and staircases. Replace existing soft light bulbs with brighter or higher wattage ones and add motion-sensor lights to bathrooms. Adding night lights throughout your home is an easy addition that helps seniors see better, especially at night or on darker winter days.

Stairs

Ideally, a senior won’t have to navigate stairs, but if you have some in your home, you can make the space safer by having railings on both sides. Railings should be at least 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate seniors with limited dexterity and aging grips. What’s more, help each stair be more visible by using contrast strips (available at your local hardware store).

Bathrooms

Make bathrooms safer by adding well-placed grab bars next to the toilet and in bathing spaces. In the shower or tub, add non-slip strips and a shower seat for comfort and ease of use. For guests who are staying awhile, consider adding a handheld, adjustable-height showerhead. Finally, set the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees as to avoid unintended burns.

Room selection

Whether your loved one is staying one night, one month or more, selecting the right room will increase their comfort and safety. One-level living is key, so if possible use a room on the main floor with easy access to the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Furniture, including the bed and chairs, should be at a good height (neither too low nor too high) to be easily used. Knobs can be difficult, so consider replacing round door handles with lever handles.

“In addition to these tips, I recommend having a conversation with your loved one before their stay,” says Terry. “Talk to them about what will make them feel at home in your home. What’s most important is enjoying your visit to the fullest and spending valuable time together.”

Resolve to get more shut-eye? here are 4 sleep hacks to help

(BPT) – As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, millions of people vow to eat better, work out more and lead a healthier life.

But something is missing from this equation. While eating well and getting exercise are extremely important, too often people neglect the keystone of good health: sleep.

While few people like daily workout routines or kale salad, most everyone loves sleep. And a good night’s sleep loves you, too: It boosts mental and physical well-being.

With today’s stressful, highly caffeinated, screen-addicted lifestyles, millions of Americans do not get enough sleep. There are many reasons for this. A look at the 2017 Sleep in Review study by Sleep Number suggests that sleeping habits are highly individualized and need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

A look at the numbers

This year, more than 30 percent of Americans reported they slept worse than in 2016.

A big culprit here is television. Nearly half of all respondents said that television often cuts into their sleep. In fact, 24 percent of millennials and 14 percent of all Americans report that binge watching before bed prevents them from getting enough rest.

Nearly 70 percent say worry and responsibility are preventing them from getting the sleep they need. A racing mind keeps many Americans from getting rest, particularly among Gen Xers. Worries about taking care of others — aging parents or young children — can often lead to neglecting yourself.

However, putting your own self-care first is often the best way to care for others. Those who sleep well say they have a healthy balance of taking time for themselves and helping others that need them (39 percent versus 26 percent). Of course, if you’re having difficulty sleeping, this might sound easier said than done.

How do you get there? How do you achieve that wonderful, restorative eight hours of sleep?

There’s not one right way to do this, but according to the survey, there are several habits good sleepers have:

* Ditch the device: Forty-six percent of self-described “good sleepers” never or rarely bring a device to bed.

* Have a laugh: Those who sleep well are more likely to watch a comedy before going to sleep.

* Keep it cool: Forty-five percent say that cooling down the bedroom temperature is the No. 1 thing they do to improve sleep.

* Stay tidy: Those who make their bed every morning are less likely to struggle with sleep.

A good night’s sleep can mean the difference between having a wonderful or a horrible day. More and more Americans are realizing this. Over half (54 percent) of those surveyed are making “improving the quality of their sleep” one of their New Year’s resolutions, which is up 30 percentage points from 2014.

An individualized path to better sleep

In the past five years, millions of people have embraced software and technology that tracks their eating and exercise habits. These small devices give an individualized report that allows people to monitor their activity and adjust in a way that promotes good habits and health. Similarly, Sleep Number’s SleepIQ technology(R) tracks your sleeping habits, and in the morning, it gives you a personalized report on how you slept, offering insights on how you might improve your sleeping habits.

Sleep is so individualized, and there’s no one right way to do it. The more you know about how you’re sleeping, the more you can learn what adjustments you should make to sleep better. Learn more about the latest in sleep tracking and adjustable comfort at sleepnumber.com.

Escape with 2018’s top trending color

Escape with 2018’s most in-demand color

(BPT) – Whether you’ve been a loyalist to the same shade of green for the last decade or if you’re an evolving follower of trends whose color choices have shifted over the years, the trending color of 2018 is sure to surprise and intrigue you. Indeed, black is back. But how was this classic shade named the trending color of the year? While many assume the choice is random, trending colors are based on many influencers, but where do they really begin? Trending colors arise from consumer preferences, which are formed by societal influences, such as politics, economics, lifestyle and overall sentiment. We as a society hold the power of prompting new color trends based on our ever-changing attitudes, ideas and actions.

Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager for PPG, a leader in paint and color, understands the path to determining each year’s top trending color. Schlotter and more than 20 PPG color stylists from around the world meet annually at the company’s Global Color Trends Workshop. “Our team of global color experts assess societal and cultural influences to forecast what colors will be popular in home decor, consumer goods, automotive and even airplanes for the upcoming year,” Schlotter says. “We also look at what’s happening in society, and the state of people’s emotions because of current events. All of this information helps us predict what colors will truly resonate with people in the coming year, especially when it comes to the paint in their homes.”

2018 finds its color of the year in a reflection of people’s daily lives and their need to find an escape.

‘Black’ to basics

“The PPG Paints brand’s 2018 Color of the Year is Black Flame (PPG1043-7). It offers the silencing impact of black with the possibility and hopefulness of indigo seen in the color’s undertone,” says Schlotter.

Schlotter adds that black will be very popular in 2018 because it offers a break from an often chaotic and over-worked world. “With society facing overstimulation and a need to take refuge, the color black offers a comforting retreat, and a chance to start new and get back to the basics,” she says. “Black Flame represents that necessary void and the need for nothingness that helps us recharge, making it a timeless and classic color in home decor.”

A palette of options

While going darker can seem intimidating at first, incorporating black into your existing decor is a lot easier than you think.

Many people mistakenly believe that all blacks are the same. However, black, like any other color, is available in a wide array of shades. For example, Glidden paint’s 2018 Color of the Year, Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), is a deep and rich black that encourages a less-is-more attitude when applying to home decor, while Black Magic (OL116), the 2018 Color of the Year for Olympic paints, is more glamorous and looks great as a statement color for walls. And, if you’re looking for some darker inspiration outdoors, Olympic stain’s Maximum product in a Cinder semi-transparent stain color (905) is a great complement to Black Magic when applied to exterior surfaces like doors, window trims and shutters.

Any of these black hues can be a defining piece in your decor while providing you with the mental escape you need. Schlotter adds that capitalizing on this year’s color trend isn’t solely about the color itself, but what you pair it with. Consider some of her other tips and tricks, including:

* Pairing the PPG Paints brand’s Black Flame with Millennial orange-pinks, teals and warm gray or mocha browns for an enveloping, rich look and feel.

* Feeling a bit more daring? Make an impactful statement with black by applying it from floor to ceiling on an accent wall or in an entire room. Completing the look with lighter elements and furnishings will make the decor stand out, because the dark walls will highlight artwork and accessories while providing depth and character, creating a perfect space for respite and conversation.

* To keep a space more fresh and modern, consider pairing a black hue with whites, matte finishes or light-grain wood finishes.

“Outside of paint, reinvented versions of the classic black hue are showing up in key design elements — from faucets, to matte black appliances, to black veined granite countertops, black windows and marble floors,” says Schlotter. “The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to adding this misunderstood neutral in the home.”

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