The Home & Garden Quiz

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Rita Vitolo

7 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

You bought a house. Congrats! You've moved past the years of renting an apartment and being limited on what you can do with design. Your new place is a bit of a fixer-upper, and you need Joanna Gaines' expertise but don't have the budget for a consultation with her. After binge-watching HGTV, you're ready to make your house into your forever home. 

Take a big deep breath, and learn how to relax in construction zones because home ownership can be a wild ride. Just keep breathing; you've got this. You can start small with just painting a wall. Head to your local hardware store and stock up on paint swatches. Please don't use a sledgehammer to create an open floorplan—it's not as easy as the "Property Brothers" make it seem. Perhaps, you can start in the garden and do some landscaping. Curb appeal is everything. Plus, you can start growing food to create amazing dishes in your soon-to-be remodeled kitchen. 

Are you ready to get your hands in the dirt and plant some flowers? Channel your inner David Bromstad as you answer these questions. See how much you might already know about brightening the corner where you live. Take this quiz!



You just bought a place on a little quarter-acre of heaven. What is the best placement for a vegetable garden?

Unless you want to grow ferns, you'll need your garden to be in full sun. Tomatoes thrive in the sunny spots in your yard. While a garden on a hill sounds fun, it won't be when you have heavy rains or you have to weed.

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Entire philosophies are devoted to helping you live an unburdened, de-cluttered life. Which of these sum up Marie Kondo's Kon-Mari method?

Joy is the only goal. In her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," author Marie Kondo (Kon-Mari) presented her de-cluttering philosophy. The goal is not to throw away or donate as much as possible, but to make sure that those things you do hold onto make you happy. Pick up each object, asking, "Does this bring me joy? Do I love it?" The process, by respecting the object, upholds your self-respect.

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What factors affect how your garden will grow?

Growing a beautiful garden depends on the actual amount of sunlight and water the soil and property receive. The wind also matters as it can change the temperature and create stress on plants.

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What does curb appeal mean?

The act of gardening, enhancing the natural beauty of the outside areas of your home, should add to the total of good karma out there, not take away from it. It will make your entire neighborhood more beautiful. Curb appeal is a selling point should you decide to sell your house.

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You probably already know to check with your local utility company before you dig, and double-check your compliance with local zoning, building codes and regulations. But what does that mean, exactly?

Building codes can be complicated and specific. They are literally about knowing your property's boundaries: how high a fence, deck, or structure can be, and how close to your neighbors you can build an improvement to your property.

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Designers call it a 'landscape analysis.' What does a strong landscape analysis provide?

While a diagram, map, or a 3D rendering of your entire property in miniature would be really cool visuals to have, what you need to know is what areas of your property are full sun or partial shade, which way the winds blow, how the water drains or where it puddles, the nature and quality of your soil, and what you want to do about paths, plantings and structures.

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Which color on your front door could spike your home's resale value by more than $5,000?

Black or dark charcoal and other dark grays performed very well in the resale of houses. Color data from Zillow's widely-reported 2018 Paint Color Analysis showed which colors performed the best.

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What's the best way to choose the plants for your garden?

Even in regions and climates where the winters are harsh, the garden lives year round. Look for plantings with elements that provide seasonal, especially winter, interest. You don't want to end up with a beautiful summer garden and nothing in the winter.

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What is it about a plant that creates seasonal interest?

Foliage changes with the seasons in some plants, budding out in flowers in the springtime or leaves changing colors dramatically in the fall. Fruit is a summertime bonus from some plants and trees. The river birch, for instance, makes a stunning impact year-round because of its loose layers of curling, paper-thin scales that darken as the tree matures.

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You've narrowed down some planting options, and you're ready to get started. What should you be thinking about next?

Elements in the garden need to work in harmony and unity with each other. Before that happens, you'll need to create a budget. Plants can get expensive and having a plan will help you begin and stay within your budget.

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Oh, my. You're coming home with a wisteria. Which answer below indicates the garden hardscape structure where it might be happy?

American and Kentucky wisteria are native North American species with a vigorous vining habit, growing fast, aggressively, and potentially quite heavily. Wisteria hangs in cascades of intensely fragrant blue or lilac flowers, blooming in spring and early summer. Wisteria will grow into any available crack it can reach, so it is advisable not to plant too close to your house. Wisteria looks fantastic hanging from a strong structure in the garden, like an archway, arbor, or pergola dedicated to supporting it.

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Which of these major renovations delivers the highest return on investment?

Garage door replacement brings in 97.5% of return on investment, according to the 2019 Cost vs. Value report. The garage door is a huge part of the curb appeal of your home, and a plus if it functions well.

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This color used on your home's exterior could cost you at resale. What is it?

The neighbors will call your house the banana mobile if you choose to paint it yellow. It may appear cheery at first, but the majority of people will turn the other way or reach for their shades.

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HGTV design superstar Genevieve Gorder has said which one of these is her top recommendation for the best 'bang for your buck'?

Hardwood floors are an investment, according to Gorder. They always appreciate. And many laminates and engineered hardwoods, processed with toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, give off harmful fumes and gases in the home or business, once installed.

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According to master builder Bob Vila, which of the following is one of the top three renovations most likely to be a waste of remodeling dollars?

Any renovation that eliminates a bedroom is a bad idea, as homes sell on the number of bedrooms. Other wastes of remodeling dollars, in terms of return on investment, are over-improving the basement and over-improving any outdoor space, including the landscaping. A good rule of thumb for outdoor renovations is to invest no more than 10 percent of the home's value. When it comes to swimming pools, hot tubs, spas and luxury showers, you should invest those home-upgrade dollars because you want those things for your own use.

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Do you know the best color for your bathroom?

Blue can be very calming. It is also a very popular and favorite color. Think about it. Do you don't want to wake up and brush your teeth with a bright red wall in the background? No one looks good in that light.

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Which of the following should you paint in your kitchen to get the best return on investment?

Tuxedo cabinets, or white cabinets with navy blue or black lower cabinets, are a great investment. Painting cabinets will modernize the look of your kitchen. Switch out the hardware, and you won't even recognize your kitchen.

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What colors in the kitchen and dining room are more likely to cost you in the resale marketplace?

The kitchen and dining room are the center of the home. Stick with white or venture out to the land of greens to make buyers happy in these rooms.

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What is 'Scandi style'?

Scandi-style is a Nordic interpretation of the western European design movements of the 20th century. What emerged was a minimalist, functional, design aesthetic emphasizing lightness, open spaces and open air, a neutral palette, and pale woods. The aesthetic embraced the Danish culture of hygge and literally marketed it via Sweden.

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What in the world is hygge?

Hygge is a Danish way of life emphasizing cozy simplicity and togetherness. A key element of Danish culture since the 1800s, it took off in the U.K. in 2016 before being introduced in the U.S. Outwardly manifested in things that are cozy, simple, and soft, hygge is more of a way of life valuing simplicity and making room for self-care and togetherness than a type of design. The actual accumulation of hygge things is not hygge.

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In the American South, it is a tradition to paint the porch ceiling what color to protect the house from ghosts and dark spirits?

The practice originated with the Gullah in Georgia and South Carolina, and the color was derived from crushed indigo. The painted ceiling was intended to mimic the color of the sky, tricking ghosts (haints) to pass through, or the color of water, which ghosts could not cross.

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One organizing philosophy is the Chinese art and practice of placement and positioning of objects so that maximum harmony is achieved between the flow of chi in the environment and the chi in the user. What is the practice called?

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement of objects inside the home, or various structures inside the environment, to maximize the flow of chi and enhance the balance of yin and yang.

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The design and home renovation trend inspired by baby boomer reaction to institutionalized health care and organized retirement living is called what?

To age in place is a lifestyle choice increasingly popular among baby boomers who are now at retirement age. Aging in place means you will remain in your own home for the later years of your life, not moving into a smaller house, assisted living, or a retirement community.

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What are the big hardwood flooring trends for 2019?

In design terms, the color of flooring is a "commitment color." This is the foundational color palette on which other design choices are made, and expected to last five to seven years minimum in flooring. In flooring, the palette is color-related but also has visuals and textures taken from nature. Hand-scraped, wire-brushed, and distressed flooring, including in hardwood, is trending. The trend is wider planks placed in mixed widths for a unique feel. Alternative, organic, and eco-friendly materials are strong. Gray isn't going anywhere in flooring design. But light, airy blonde woods on the floor are popular for going with any decor as an alternative to gray.

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What are the top three furniture retailers in the United States?

Ashley Furniture and IKEA go one-and-two on the top lists. The Williams-Sonoma on this list is far more than the cooking-tools store at the mall but includes Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, Rejuvenation, and the newcomer lifestyle outlet, Marks and Graham.

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Design forecasting is one of the best games in the business. What's in for 2019?

The 2019 Elle Decor experts identified these additional hot interior design trends for 2019: floral fabrics and wallpapers; rich but edgy jewel tones; boldly patterned backsplashes; sustainable, handmade home furnishings; acrylic and Lucite furniture and accessories; bold black bathrooms; light wood floors; fringe; bold colors on every wall; a color palette as much as ninety percent white, and then pops of color; and ultimately overall going all-in on creating comfort in your home.

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In interior design, what's out in 2019?

The Elle Decor experts identified these interior design trends as pretty well over in the upcoming year: ikat and trellis patterns (chevrons are already done). Cool grays and rooms without color or texture are out in favor of plain, stark white, or warmer neutrals. Shibori, mud cloth, and indigo are out. Copper furniture, too much brass, lacquered furniture and cherry cabinets are out. In this forecasting, quartz countertops may finally be done as well.

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To become a feng shui master requires a disciplined and diligent practice. Which of the following are good feng shui practice?

All of these are good, quick feng shui cures and easy to adopt into your regular feng shui practice. You want the chi to circulate energetically in your space, but you don't want to lose it.

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Where on the wall should you hang photographs or art?

For unknown reasons, people hang art too high on their walls. Artwork, photographs, even a metal sculpture jutting out from the drywall, is meant to be observed. 'Eye level' is the short rule of thumb response. Some design experts (including Martha Stewart) use the heuristic "57 inches on center," meaning that the center of the piece should be hung 57 inches from the floor. Using this rule has the added benefit that now all the art in your home will be hanging at the same level, and thus appear uniform, as it does in museums, where this particular hot tip originated.

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What is a focal point?

Because your eyes will focus on this object, you want the object to actually say something about your creativity and impeccable taste. The focal point is your introduction to the expression of the rest of you.

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Before boho, there was shabby chic. Which of the following is styled in the shabby-chic way?

Each one of the vignettes could describe the shabby chic aesthetic. The Shabby Chic style, put out in a series of hot-selling decorating books in the mid-1990s that cemented the art cred of designer Rachel Ashwell, took the existing aesthetics of French, English, and even to an extent American country style as a whole up a strong notch. Right as the recycling movement was emerging in world culture, Shabby Chic celebrated vintage and re-purposed materials and objects, taking the recycling of old furniture into the 'upcycling' stratosphere, sometimes creating an entirely new object out of the mash-up of one or more old ones.

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What is the design rule for choosing artwork?

The advice is oft-repeated: buy what you love. Some sources say to purchase anything you love, as long as you can afford it. Don't buy a work of art expecting it to appreciate, especially art produced by an unknown artist, as it most likely will not. Should your purchased art appreciate, consider yourself lucky. Don't buy art, or anything, because somebody who knows or claims to know tells you to like it.

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What are currently the most reliable (least serviced) kitchen and laundry appliance brands?

LG ranked highest in seven of the eleven kitchen and laundry appliance segments in the 2017 J.D.Power Kitchen and Laundry Satisfaction Studies. This list reports the top 12 most reliable appliance brands reported in 2018 by Yale Appliance and Lighting, a Boston-area appliance delivery, installation and service outfit, based on their own service-call statistics.

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You want to renovate the older home you bought by knocking out a few walls, the classic 'demo day' from the television shows. All you know is to look for the load-bearing walls. What are they?

Knowing which are the load-bearing walls is essential to having a pleasant experience on demo day. Given the substantial risks involved, before you completely DIY, consult a contractor. A load-bearing wall supports the weight of a floor above or trusses for the roof. Any exterior wall that rests on the foundation sill is considered load-bearing.

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What is the most low-maintenance landscaping plants?

Shrubs are the easiest plants to maintain, and they look great year round. Try adding a flowering shrub, such as Hydrangeas, or a green shrub, such as juniper.

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