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Begin 2017 with plans to spruce up your living space

It’s a brand new year — a blank canvas for those hoping to make the upcoming 365 days a year of self-improvement. Instead of the usual resolutions, make plans to spruce up your home to start the new year with a more energy-efficient and pleasant foundation.

While many people set goals for their health, they often don’t consider the health of their home, said Mike Fogg, owner of Skilled Services LLC.

“A good New Year’s resolution is to check all your fire alarms,” the longtime local handyman said. “Often the battery is weak or goes dead, and the homeowner doesn’t know.”

But don’t stop there.

“Check the weather stripping around windows and entry doors to keep the heat in your home. This keeps costs down by being energy efficient,” he said.

The value of homes across the U.S. increased $1.1 trillion in 2015, a growth of 4.1 percent and a good reason to keep up on maintenance for your future investment value.

“Your home also needs new air filters to reduce dust and allergens,” Fogg said. “That should be done more often, but most people don’t, so including this in yearly goals is also important. A handyman can do these tasks for you and also help with other home repairs.”

Once the business of home maintenance is out of the way, transform your space with a vibrant array of colors, textures and patterned fabrics, said Daniel Matus, principal designer for Desired Space LLC.

“Color affects everyone’s mood,” Matus said. “It can instill calm and peace. We design around color. In homes I create space and calm with light colors, giving the client a feeling of freedom and serenity.”

Nothing perks up a drab slab of furniture like a pillow, a tiny package of pop, he said. Throws tossed across sofas or the backs of chairs create an opportunity for temporary color that can be changed out over the seasons. Paint can have a lot of power in a room or you can deck the walls with wallpaper.

“To improve a space quickly and inexpensively I highly recommend doing an accent wall,” Matus said. “Depending on the other color in the room, a light color will make the room feel more spacious and calming. Or try a rich dark color to create an intimate and romantic space. It’s easy and quick.”

Creating a balance between home, work and personal goals all year long can be tricky. Feng shui — the Chinese art of placing furniture, art and natural elements around the home to increase the flow of good energy — is a way to bring all you hope for in and out of your home to life.

“Feng shui can absolutely improve one’s life and environment as I have witnessed in my own life and my clients,” said Rochiel Wallers, CEO and founder of Feng Shui Las Vegas.

Placing symbols that evoke positive feelings in your environment will ultimately help you to have more positive thoughts and experiences, she said.

“That, in turn, has a positive cumulative effect on your self-esteem, well-being and health,” Wallers said.

The holistic interior design specialist and feng shui expert has worked with clients to make their homes a reflection of their hopes and aspirations.

“Your home is an outward reflection of your life,” said Wallers, a preferred services member of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. “Our environments have a huge impact on our health, what we feel and self-actualize.”

One of the typical problems she sees at client’s homes and businesses are dead or dying plants.

“Their businesses are not thriving, and the client’s health is not the best typically in these spaces,” said Wallers, who has been a feng shui expert for more than two decades. “There is a correlation to what we progress toward and self-actualize in our life in relationship to what we surround ourselves with.”

Feng shui can help with relationship success as well.

“Over the years I have been called in to help a client attract a romantic partner or help them heal or recover from an affair,” she said. “Your body’s biochemistry is heavily influenced by what you see in your environment, which in turn affects what you think, feel and believe. I often find there is a huge correlation to the chosen artwork one hangs in key areas of their homes in relationship to what is happening in their romantic life.”

They have unknowingly adorned their walls with too many solitary images or artwork in key defining areas of their space.

“I help to empower my clients to choose more appropriate artwork in a key defining area in relationship to their goals for the future,” Wallers said.

Hoping for a clear path to a promotion or new career? Cluttered spaces can lead to cluttered thoughts.

“The biggest problem I see over and over again is many desks placed in the wrong position blocking flow and prosperity,” Wallers said. “If you are working at a desk, it should be placed in the command position. The command position is where you sit facing the door with a solid wall behind your back.

“When you see the door from your working desk, you are energetically able to welcome in new opportunities. When you face the front threshold of energy of any space, you feel more empowered, which affects how you work throughout the day. Opportunities you can grab are not happening behind you but rather are in front of you.”

Colors affect our lives and can be used to calm an overly stressed or hyper person or inspire a person to be more active.

“For prosperity, green is often used in key areas to stimulate more cash flow,” she said. “In bedrooms, I often suggest darker hues in accordance with the feng shui bagua. Darker colors help to slow down the circadian system allowing people to rest and sleep longer.”

Feng shui bagua is one of the main tools used in feng shui to analyze the energy of any given space.

There have many scientific studies done showing that light blue and light pinks tend to be calming colors to many people; however, the person’s association with the color in the actual space is the most important aspect to consider.

“This is why having expert advice in choosing the correct color choice in line with the client’s overall goals is so essential,” Wallers said. “We all are unique and have different associations to colors and their meanings depending on how we were raised.”

Start at your front door, Wallers suggests, and make it bloom with color and a fresh welcome mat.

“The word ‘welcome’ sets the tone for your home to welcome in new opportunities,” she said.

To attract energy into your home, use your front door regularly or once a day to get your mail at the very least.

“People that have a tendency to enter or leave only through a garage or back door are not welcoming in energy into the home’s front door, which is the main mouth of chi (life force or energy), intended and built by the architect,” Wallers said.

Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our dwellings; thereafter our dwellings shape us.”

“This is a profound architectural truth that applies to all buildings, public and private,” Wallers said “In the beginning, buildings reflect the qualities of the people who design and construct them. Once built, the people who live and work in them take on the qualities of the buildings they inhabit.”

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