It’s not just you…who ever said “I just love to mow the lawn and pull weeds”! Here are some fab ideas for a grass free, easy maintenance yard!
While we can all agree that a lush, green backyard looks gorgeous, grass just doesn’t work for everyone. And grass is definitely not a requirement for a chic and stylish outdoor space. Whether you skip the grass because of your climate, the care and upkeep reasons or simply because of your personal style, there are lots of great options for creating a fabulous grass-free outdoor space.
Outdoor Living Room
Coreen Schmidt Photography
Chang Kyun Kim
Source: HGTV.com Blog
Paint can make or break a room…here are some handy tips before you pick up the old paint brush!
Paint colors play a crucial role in successfully selling a home, having the power to influence a homebuyer’s decision to make an offer or move on and the best colors, according to a new Zillow analysis, are blues and grays.
Homes with bathrooms that have soft blue walls (e.g., periwinkle, powder blue), specifically, sold for $5,440 more than expected in the analysis, as well as homes with a “greige” (beige/gray) exterior, which sold for $3,496 more than homes with brown or tan stucco exteriors. Homes with dark navy blue and/or slate gray front doors also sold for more: $1,514.
Certain colors, though, have the opposite effect, lowering sale prices by a few thousand dollars or more. In fact, homes with bathrooms that have white walls sold for $4,035 less than expected, while homes with darker walls (e.g., brick red, terracotta) sold for $2,031 less than expected.
“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray, not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well, as the color complements white countertops and cabinets a growing trend in both rooms.”
The analysis considered over 32,000 photos of sold homes across the U.S.
I don’t like watching a blurry movie, do you? Then why would you like to view a potential purchase with blurry pictures?
Makes perfect sense to us!
When it comes to listing your home, posting high-quality photos online is probably the most powerful marketing tool at your disposal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyers consider online listing photos to be more valuable the the home’s written description. Due to the fact that nearly half of all prospective home buyers first step in the home shopping process is searching online, posting high-quality pictures of your home is an absolute must.
You wouldn’t buy a car online without knowing what it looks like, why should a home be any different? Read on to learn some of the most important reasons why hiring a professional to take online listing photos can make or break a sale.
Giving the Right Impression
When potential home buyers look at listings online, any photographs give a powerful first impression. If listing pictures are out of focus, off-center or blurry, it can create a false impression of the home. For example, dark dingy photos of a home’s bathroom can make it appear dirty, old and undesirable. Sometimes out of focus photos of the exterior of a home can make it look creepy and decrepit. If photos are of poor quality, they can often be more damaging than posting no pictures at all.
When taking pictures of your home, a bright, sunny day and a steady hand go a long way that’s why professional photographers are a worthy investment when trying to sell your property. Make sure to have your home’s photos taken on a day that is bright and dry to minimize haziness and shadows. Professional grade lighting used in the interior of your home help to brighten up your room and make them appear more clean and spacious.
Painting a Picture for Buyers
One of the most important parts of showing your home to potential buyers is creating an environment that helps them imagine how great their life would be if they lived there. That’s why it’s crucial to stage your home in a way that’s simple, inviting and pleasing to the eye.
Many sellers hire professional home stagers to arrange their home’s furniture before taking listing pictures. Staging your home is a great way to accentuate certain aspects of your home and show off its best assets. Even small touches like changing out old light fixtures for newer ones and updating kitchen and bathroom hardware can add value to your home resulting in a higher selling price.
Giving Buyers the Full Experience
Just as pictures are an integral part of creating a home’s overall appeal, online video tours can really make an impression on potential buyers. Watching a virtual tour of a home from the comfort of their own couch is an extremely enticing aspect of online home-shopping. Seeing a tour online before attending an actual showing can really give buyers an idea what to expect and helps them prepare any questions they may have about the property; making the showing a more productive experience.
Source: Dream Casa
The Jury is IN! You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Curl Appeal is one of the single most important details you need to address when putting your home on the market! If your home looks amazing on the outside, Buyers will naturally assume that it looks equally as awesome on the inside. Here’s how:
How attractive your property looks when viewed by passer-byers can make all the difference in today’s market. To make sure potential homebuyers get a great first impression, consider improving your place by doing the following:
1. Revamp the front door.
Never underestimate the impact the main entrance of your house has on its curb appeal. Make sure it looks great by giving it a new coat of paint that stands out but still fits in with the rest of the home’s color scheme. Unless it’s worth replacing, in which case we recommend a custom wood door, be sure to give the door a good cleaning and polish before painting it.
2. Include nice porch furniture
If you have a porch that’s visible from the street, you can make your place look more inviting and homelike by adding some furniture. Things like nice wooden benches and a wicker patio set can make your curb appeal skyrocket. If you have the money, swap out your ruined rockers and other old porch furniture in favor of something new gliders with matching ottomans, for example.
3. Redo the house numbers
There’s just something about neat, eye-catching house numbers that leaves a good impression, especially to people on the hunt for a new house. If you don’t believe us, walk around your current neighborhood and you’ll see the difference big, bold house numbers make. It also helps to make them stand out by using aged copper, hand-painted tiles, or something unique when compared to other nearby houses.
4. Light up the place
Making sure the front of your place has great landscape lighting can improve your home’s curb appeal while making it a safer place. Switch out old lamps, pendant lights, and wall sconces with new ones that look better and offer more lighting. Pathway lights, especially solar-powered, that illuminate the walking path in your home will make the property appear better and more secure.
5. Spruce up the verdure
While there are exceptions, most people find a house with no plants outside boring-looking. If your front yard is lacking in the foliage department, invest in some new plants to give your home some vibrancy. Plant flowers, add potted plants, replace ugly weeds with a fresh lawn whatever it takes to make the area look lively and attractive.
6. Tap into your artistic side
Add a touch of style and class to your front yard by including outdoor artwork. We’re talking about things like birdbaths, fountains, and sculptures that leave a lasting impression on passer-byers. If you’re on a budget, even a few wind chimes or home-made wheel planter can do their part to improve your house’s curb appeal.
7. Doll up your windows
Unless your windows are already gorgeous and just need a good cleaning, consider investing in attractive shutters made of materials that complement the rest of your house These days exterior shutters can be made of anything from vinyl and wood to aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. You’d be surprised by how much your home’s curb appeal goes up thanks to beautiful windows.
8. Replace (or touch up) anything else that looks old
At the end of the day, it may just be an old gutter system or exterior walls in serious need of repainting that’s dragging down your property’s curb appeal. Cracked walkways, time-worn fences, and even a rusty door knocker are all things you should look out for. Instead of adding to the front of your porch, sometimes all it takes is revamping the old to significantly improve your home’s look.
Source: Dream Casa
With Spring upon us and spring cleaning is done, its soooo tempting to purchase new items because, of course, everything feels so fresh and new. Here is a good guide on the best (and worse) purchases to make at this time of year!
The month of May brings traditionally heavy shopping periods for spring clothing, cosmetics, and a wide variety of spring and summer outdoor goods.
While some retailers will tempt us with early summer sales, spring apparel will see the deepest discounts closer to Memorial Day weekend, according to consumer watchdog DealNews.com. Look for coupons in print and online to get the best prices on your favorite stores and brands.
The best deals any time in May will be on certain home goods, with a few surprises thrown in:
Buy a Mattress – Memorial Day historically offers a chance to buy mattresses at 40 to 50 percent off regular prices. Check local sales and coupons.
Buy Patio Furniture – Sales on backyard furnishings, as well as camping gear, begin in time for Memorial Day and may not be good again until after July 4.
Check Out Big-Screen TVs … but not too big. While spring is not the best time to buy a TV, you should find really good prices on 42- and 55-inch screen models.
What About Jewelry? Wait until just after Mother’s Day, when many retailers are anxious to unload unsold inventory.
Hold Off on Laptops – The best deals on Apple and PC laptops are found just before graduation in June or in time for back-to-school sales in September.
Stay out of the Water – Swimsuits are just hitting the stores in May, and sales are not the norm. Hold off until July 4, if you can. That’s when the sales kick in.
Breaking out the paintbrushes, fabric samples and hitting Home Goods and Pinterest for some good ideas? Here are some 8 steps you need to know before you get started!
Here’s how to prioritize your game plan for your room makeover.
If you have a DIY decorating project on your horizon but don’t know where to start, here’s a practical guide to help you navigate the process.
1. Commit to a Budget and Timeline
First, figure out your total project budget. If you skip this step, you’ll likely spend much more than you anticipated and make poor purchasing decisions you’ll later regret.
Also pick a date to complete your project by, even if you don’t have a looming reason to do so. Creating a complete-by date will fuel your project so it can take flight. Completing one stage of a project informs the next and the next. Otherwise, approaching your project piecemeal will delay completion, if you even complete it at all.
Set up a good system to keep track of your expenditures. I use an Excel spreadsheet, but even a spiral notebook can work for smaller projects. The key is to keep it updated.
Here’s an example of how I keep a running log of project expenses. While the main goal is tracking the total amount spent, I also indicate the store (which I left off here because stores will vary based on your location and preference), method of payment, general description and any notes, such as delivery fees — useful information that may come in handy later.
Keep all of your receipts together in one location. You can refer to them easily for warranty information and returns, if needed. I use a small zip pouch made for holding pens and pencils while I’m out shopping. After I return and enter them into the spreadsheet, I stapled each receipt to a piece of paper and store that neatly in a project folder.
2. Evaluate Your Needs and Lifestyle
Separating wants and needs is a hard one. Prioritize your needs by first creating a list of the furniture and accessories you envision going into your space. List any work you want to do, like painting or wallpapering, too. Then rate each item 1 through 5, with 1 indicating an absolute must and 5 reflecting a nonnecessity. Reorder the items on the list with the necessities at the top and the more wishful items at the bottom. Involve other family members in this process. They may identify overlooked items.
Also, be honest about your family’s lifestyle requirements today instead of at some far-off idyllic future date. For example, if the kiddos use your family room as a playspace, include toy storage on your list. You may have some child safety needs too. Also note any special concerns about pets, such as shed fur or the potential for furniture to get clawed.
3. Decide What Stays and What Goes
Based on your list, identify any pieces of furniture or accessories that you absolutely want to keep in the space. Remove the pieces you don’t plan to reuse; consider donating them if they’re in good shape or selling them online or through a local consignment store.
4. Draw a Preliminary Furniture Plan
If your project is small, this step may not be necessary. However, if you’re buying new furniture or just considering a new configuration, it’s extremely helpful to try out pieces in different locations to see what fits and what doesn’t. The last thing you want is to end up with a too-big piece of furniture. You’ll need a tape measure or laser measuring tool to measure your space and a scale ruler to draw it to scale. A simple sketch illustrating only the outside dimensions is all that’s necessary.
If you don’t have these items or don’t feel comfortable with drawing to scale, an alternative is to “draw” the outlines of furniture with masking tape on your floor or cut furniture-size shapes out of butcher paper to maneuver around on the floor.
Don’t forget about circulation space. Ideally, you’ll want to keep 18 inches between the edge of the sofa and the coffee table. Maintain 36 inches for comfortable general circulation. Since you may not have found specific furniture pieces yet and don’t have detailed furniture dimensions, you may need to revise the size of some furniture pieces as your project progresses. Nonetheless, this exercise is a good starting point.
Also measure your entrance door and the pathway to the room, including building elevators if you live in a high-rise. Bring these notes with you when shopping. If there are any delivery dimension concerns, you can address them then and there.
5. Concentrate on Big Items First
Focus first on the big-impact items, then concentrate on smaller accessories. Too often people get hung up on a small detail that can derail the flow of the bigger items. The idea is to work from large to small.
Find furniture. Unless you’re lucky to find the furniture you want in stock, most furniture takes eight to 12 weeks for fabrication. However, even in-stock furniture may not be delivered right away. If available, get a swatch of the upholstery or finish sample to help with other room selections.
Unless you’re comfortable working with a complex color palette, minimizing your scheme to two colors, as in the space here, will make shopping easier — and your space will look sharp and put-together.
Work the walls. Compared with any other design material, wall paint gives a room the most bang for your buck. I find it easiest to select a wall paint color or wallpaper after the furniture is selected. You have much more leeway with paint color choices than furniture upholstery. Plan to get your space prepped and painted prior to the furniture delivery.
Hit the ceiling. Color instead of conventional white on the ceiling is another cost-effective attention-grabber, especially if you have crown molding to separate it from the walls, like in this living room.
6. Move Toward the Mediums
After you’ve figured out your furniture layout and color scheme, focus on finding the midscale items that will pull your space together, such as an area rug. Your scaled drawing will also come in handy to see how prospective rugs will work with your furniture layout.
Window treatments like Roman shades and drapery can offer lots of style compared to run-of-the-mill Venetian blinds. They can minimize less-than-perfect windows and help save on energy bills, too. New window treatments don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Ribbon-trimmed cordless shades like the ones shown here here can be ordered online for $100 to $125.
A feature light fixture, like the one in this dining room, can become a stunning design focus.
7. Save the Small Stuff for Last
Fill in your scheme with decorative accessories toward the end of your project. You’ll be able to see what areas need attention and have a better sense of scale, especially with artwork. With the furniture in place, you’ll also have easy access to key dimensions, like the clearance between shelves.
I also like to shop for table lamps, particularly lamps that will sit behind a sofa, after the furniture is delivered so I can see how all the heights work or don’t work together. Cord lengths and switch locations are also easier to evaluate when the furniture is in place.
8. Leave Room for the Unexpected
You may come across something surprising in your decorating journey that has special meaning or even adds a bit of humor, like these Hulk hand bedpost toppers. Don’t discount originality or quirkiness; it’s what makes your home truly yours.
Source: CB Blue Matter / RisMedia
Light and airy rooms but still worried about people sharing your indoor privacy? Then this is the read for you!
Want to let light in while keeping your nosy neighbors out? Special types of light-filtering window treatments enable you to illuminate your home with natural light while preventing others from viewing your personal space. Ultimately, these window shades may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for homeowners who are searching for high-quality window treatments that are both stylish and practical.
In addition to offering maximum privacy from passersby and neighbors, light-filtering window shades provide many benefits, including:
Energy Savings: The U.S. Department of Energy points out properly installed window shades offer some of the “simplest, most effective window treatments for saving energy.”
Improved Insulation: Some light-filtering window shades have been shown to act as both insulation and air barriers, and control air infiltration more effectively than other types of window treatments.
Exceptional Value: Homeowners can enjoy light-filtering window shades that consist of UV-resistant and antimicrobial materials for superb quality, maintaining their value over time.
Eco-Friendly Styles: Some light-filtering window shade options are partly constructed from biodegradable materials.
Unparalleled Convenience: Light-filtering window treatments can be motorized or manual, allowing for ease of use both day and night.
Types of Light-Filtering Window Shades
Light-filtering window shades provide varying degrees of light infiltration. The most popular options include:
Cellular shades deliver year-round insulation and privacy. Meanwhile, they are constructed to allow small amounts of light to enter a room. Typically, cellular shades are sold in single or double thickness. They are available in multiple vibrant colors, along with various cell sizes and fabric styles to match your home decor.
Cellular shades also boast immense durability. They include an aluminum headrail and bottomrail and take only minutes to set up in any living space.
Roller shades are easy to use and come in a wide range of lifts to complement any home’s decor. Light-filtering roller shades are top choices for many homeowners, as these shades block visibility into your personal space. In addition, blackout roller shades are great choices for those who prefer extra privacy and will help you maximize light control consistently.
For those who want to add a hint of luxury to th eir decor, there may be no better option than Roman shades. Top-down/bottom-up Roman shades allow you to control whether light will enter from the bottom or from above. The versatile options in fabric range from every color of the rainbow, as well as prints.
If you require additional privacy, select Roman shades that feature a thermal liner. Or, if you need total or near-total darkness (like in a bathroom or media room), Roman shades with a blackout liner may prove to be ideal.
Pleated shades are available with light-filtering and room-darkening liners, maximizing light control and privacy needs. With a light-filtering liner, pleated shades can deliver daytime light transmission indoors. To maximize privacy, use pleated shades with a privacy liner, so that only minimal shadows are visible from the outdoors.
On the other hand, a blackout liner offers maximum light obstruction. This liner may serve as a great selection in a child’s bedroom or other settings where complete darkness is needed.
Vertical Cellular Shades
Ready to take your vertical window treatments to the next level? Thanks to vertical cellular shades, you can block harsh sunlight from entering large windows and patio doors.
Vertical cellular shades have been shown to deliver year-round insulation, sound absorption and ultraviolet protection. Moreover, they can include blackout fabric to provide you with the total privacy you need to get a great night’s sleep. Keep in mind that the blackout fabric of vertical cellular shades features an opacity that prevents light from filtering through at all times.
Vertical cellular shades are ideal in climates with extreme hot and cold temperatures and can be specified to stack on either side, split down the middle or stack in the center for added convenience.
Examine your window treatment options closely, and you’re sure to find window shades that match your personal style and budget perfectly, while offering privacy from prying eyes.
A Flock of Seagulls??? Nope! Just flamingos, peacocks and swans my friends! Check out this latest decor trend.
From water-fowl finds to flirty-flamingo fancies, bird-inspired decor is flying off the shelves and perching in the most style-savvy homes for summer. I’ve taken up a bit of a bird-watching (shopping) hobby for spring, and we’ve spotted all of the most on-trend, feather-friend items to incorporate into your home right now.
Dish Towel Sets
Trendy + Tropical
More wall art!
And more pillows!
Smart Phone Cases
Source: HGTV Blog
With summer swiftly approaching, it could be time for sprucing up the ole backyard a bit! Here are some great DIY projects that are sure to add some summertime family fun and enjoyment!
Remember backyards? Those things we’ve been ignoring for the past four months? They’re back! They might not be looking as sharp as they did before winter, but we’ve got some rad DIY backyard projects to bring it back to life.
1. Ground-Level Trampoline
Photo Credit: Little Green Fingers
Do you live in constant fear of your kids falling off the trampoline? Honestly—parenting fears aside—trampolines might be fun, but they’re pretty ugly structures. Well, with these sunken trampolines, you’ll never have to worry about either of those things. Just dig a hole, place your trampoline, and voila! (Ground-Level Trampoline Instructions)
2. The Only Thing Better Than a Tree House
Photo Credit: LazySundayCooking.com
Marta Potoczek was looking for a treehouse alternative, something that looked nice but offered a little distance from the main house. Her solution was this adorable garden house, originally for her daughter to play in and now a perfect woman cave. Moral of the story: Your treehouse need not be on a tree.
3. Tin Can Lanterns
Photo Credit: GrowCreativeBlog.com
This project is both DIY and eco-friendly (because recycling is good). They are easy to make, and will elevate your backyard to the next level. It’s a win-win! (Tin Can Lantern Instructions)
4. How About Some Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe?
Photo Credit: DesignDiningandDiapers.com
I don’t have a backyard, but I’m considering making one of these anyways. Not only is Tic-Tac-Toe the best (especially when you’re super good at it), but it also scores high in decorative value. With little effort, you’ll come across as cool and tasteful. (Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe Instructions/Supply List)
5. Vertical Garden
Photo Credit: 99Pallets.com
Since we’ve already installed a sunken trampoline, a play house/woman cave, and have a Tic-Tac-Toe board lying around, how about we go for space efficiency with this one? A vertical garden can cover any and all walls. It looks good, it smells nice, and you can eat it! That is the best of all the worlds, if you ask me. (Vertical Garden Instructions)
6. Last, but Not Least: I Promised a Fire Pit
Photo Credit: KeepingItSimpleCrafts.com
If you can’t roast s’mores in your backyard, is it even a backyard? I’m going to go with no. This DIY project costs only $60 to make, but look how fancy. This fire pit will make the perfect centerpiece for the intense fantasy backyard we just built together. (Also: s’mores.)
An awesome backyard is just one DIY away.
Sometimes that bigger house is just not in your budget this time around. Here are some nifty tips for maximizing space in smaller homes! Include these elements to make your compact space comfortable, functional and stylish.
Advice for decorating a small home is often about eliminating and deciding what to compromise on. But there are some things every home should have. Here are seven essentials that are always worth making room for.
1. A landing pad. You may not have a grand foyer, but you deserve somewhere to decompress for a moment when you arrive home.
Take a little bit of space by the front door to include somewhere to drop your coat and keys, as well as a seat for quick moments such as when tying a shoe. A mirror and a glass table will open up the look of the space, and a bouquet of flowers will provide a welcoming touch.
2. Color and pattern. Sure, using lots of white and neutrals will make a small space look as big and breezy as possible. That doesn’t mean that all color and pattern should be strictly forbidden. Embracing some drama will make the look personal and inviting.
To get the best of both worlds, fit color into high and low places and keep the walls neutral so the main sightlines are still clear.
Try using a fun paint color on your ceiling, or go for a low-slung sofa or other piece of furniture, so it pops without overtaking the natural field of vision.
Ceiling paint (similar): Your Majesty, Benjamin Moore
3. A real dining surface. In a small home, you rarely find a dedicated dining room. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate somewhere for a proper sit-down meal that isn’t at your desk or in your lap. Try pushing a small dining table up against a wall or window to seat just two diners.
If you don’t have room even for a small fixed table, try using a fold-down table with stackable seats that can be pulled out when needed, or a convertible coffee table that can be raised to dining height so you can eat at the sofa in proper comfort.
4. A truly comfortable place to sit. While it’s often tempting to try to stuff many compact pieces of furniture into a small home, you shouldn’t skimp on a full-sized place to sit.
Including a truly comfortable sofa or lounge chair, rather than many tight modern seats, will make the whole home much more satisfying. To fit in occasional extra guests, have compact side chairs on hand that are only meant for sitting in for a few hours while someone visits, or you can even use a plush ottoman.
5. Great lighting. In a small space, the lighting is often inadequate, as it tends to be assumed that a single fixture can properly light each area. In reality, good lighting can never come from just one source, so it’s always important to include a diverse palette of fixtures.
To save room while adding a lot of light, choose a plug-in sconce with multiple bulbs, like the one here. It will brighten the walls in a rich way without taking up any square footage from your floor plan or table surfaces.
6. A living plant. Speaking of your floor plan, now that you’ve saved a little space with a great sconce, why not use that square footage for a healthy living plant?
Including an element of living greenery will make the space feel more human and welcoming, bringing a sense of the outdoors in.
7. Space to breathe. Lastly, when decorating your small home, don’t forget to leave room for one very important thing: empty space.
Filling every square inch of your walls and flooring with decorative baubles and unneeded furniture leaves the space feeling cluttered and cramped. Let some walls remain empty, and keep lots of circulation space open so you can move about freely and really enjoy the great pieces you have.
Source: CB Blue Matter / houzz
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