Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.

2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.

3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.

4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.

5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.

6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.

7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.

8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.

Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.

9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.

10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 9:04 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: lighting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on January 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, mazimizing space, organization, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Home Tech That Makes Holiday Hosting Easy

Save time, energy and frustration by using smart home tech the next time you host family and friends for a holiday meal!

Guest post by June Lawrence

Whether your holiday entertaining features casual cocktail parties, full-fare, sit-down meals, or an open house for friends and neighbors – you can save time, energy and frustration with the latest home tech solutions that make holiday hosting easy. Smart home automation trends have made steady inroads in domestic consumer goods, home automation, and wireless entertainment market sectors, with expectations to surge beyond $3 billion in 2017.

Basic smart home tech starts with voice-controlled devices, wireless sensors, and semi-artificial intelligence platforms changing the way we entertain, work, and interact. These can reduce and help with chores that eat up your time and energy when hosting during the holidays. Whether you are menu planning, grocery shopping, stocking the bar, notifying attendees, or cleaning, there’s an app – or smart gadget to the rescue.

Holiday Shopping Helpers

Holiday menu shopping has never been simpler with The Shopping Button. As you scrutinize the pantry, use the voice recognition and recording features to create your holiday grocery list on-the-go. If this year’s holiday feast and lavish delicacies are a budget-buster, use this gadget to save money by scanning barcodes at your local, premium marketplace. Then connect and download your selections online for price comparisons and fast order placement.

New low-profile robotic vacuum cleaners include many updated features. Precise control directly from your smartphone takes care of last-minute clean-up or tidying between guest functions. Not only can you clean low-pile carpet or hardwood floors with a preprogrammed, recurring schedule, these labor-saving vacuums also dock and clean themselves.

Preparing the Kitchen

Smart home and kitchen automation systems are possibly the greatest application of smart technology for worry-free holiday hosting. Kitchen appliances that mate with a wide array of on-demand applications monitor and provide continuous feedback while preparing holiday dishes and desserts.

Smart kitchen appliances equipped with on-board intelligence, high-powered thermometers, and digital sensors tell you when to stir, flip, or add ingredients – like the pantelligent. Cook fast or slow, but cook smart with pressure cookers and crock pots monitored and controlled via smartphone.

For those with a bigger budget, consider swapping outdated kitchen appliances for new, connected cooking versions. A smart home hub provides seamless connectivity for multiple appliances; such as refrigerators that automatically send restock messages and smart ovens for perfect holiday pies. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for a home automation system is about $1,200.

Cooking the Main Dish

Presenting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or a succulent Christmas ham can be worrisome. Consider a smart thermometer with presets for all types of meats and weights to take the anxiety out of over or undercooking the holiday bird. You’ll always know the temperature of your food and exactly when it’s done. The key is a Bluetooth connection to your phone and easy-to-use, icon-based apps.

Party Planning

Large parties, especially those held at an off-site venue, often require the same planning and coordination as small corporate events. Consider party planning appsthat feature automated email invitations; interactive, step-by-step mixology videos, and helpful reminders at every stage of your event planning timeline.

Serving Spirits

And not to worry, you can always keep the holiday cheer pouring with an Internet-connected wine cooler. Within 30 seconds, internal cameras will scan wine labels to correctly identify and chill each bottle independently and at the perfect temperature.

Even sensor-driven kitchen fixtures lend a helping hand with liquid refreshments. Taps that deliver steaming hot water on command or touchless faucets that turn off and on with hand gestures are quick plumbing installations that cost between $90 – $500.

Lighting Design

For the perfect finishing touch to a great holiday party complete the holiday ambiance with lighting. Consider installing the Phillips Smart Hue line of wireless and smart lightbulbs. Go from warm white exposure for casual conversation to a holiday-inspired scene for singing, dancing, and drinks. Smart lighting is also a great way to establish different moods throughout the home for an array of holiday entertaining or age groups.

Why spend the holidays frantically keeping up with all there is to do when smart home tech can lend an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands for trouble-free holiday hosting!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

 

 

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cooking, grill, real estate, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Ways to Extend Your Patio Season Year-Round

 

Outdoor living can be constrained due to seasonality, but it doesn’t have to be– especially if it means you’ll utilize your patio area longer! As the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, it becomes harder to create a space outdoors that is comfortable and inviting. Here are some tips on how to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space indefinitely.

1. Outdoor Heater

Perhaps the more obvious of cool weather accommodations, adding heat to your outdoor space will allow you and your guests to relax in fresh air with warmth. Whatever your budget may be, there’s a heater that will work for your space. Ranging from less than $100 to well over $1,000, they come in many varieties and power sources such as a table-top gas heater or a standing solar-powered heater.

Standing heaters are great for heating up a patio space, typically running off of propane or natural gas. Using natural gas is the more efficient of the two and you’ll never run out of fuel. You also have the option of an electric heater, that has a lower upfront cost and costs less to run than a gas-powered heater. If you’re looking for a cost effective and eco-friendly option, a solar-powered heater is just right for you–providing all the warmth from the sun’s energy.

2. Fire Pit

Creating a space with warmth is key, but adding that element with an extra emphasis on aesthetic appeal is a bonus. You can easily create your own using bricks or large rocks to create the pit or purchase one installed by professionals, depending on your budget. Similar to outdoors heaters, there are a variety of fuel source options. If open wood burning isn’t allowed, you can install a fire pit that is fueled by gas. One advantage is that you can fire up your pit in an instant.

Not only can fire pits add warmth and depth to your patio’s hardscaping, but it also creates a collaborative social atmosphere– there’s nothing more nostalgic than roasting marshmellows or telling scary stories around the flickering blaze of a real fire.

3. Coverage

There’s nothing that really outlines a space like adding coverage by way of roof or walls, such as a pergola. As LawnStarter says, “pergolas give that “room” feeling to an open space.” Adding in a pergola or retractable awning can definitely help curate a more suitable ambiance in the winter months. If you already have a covered patio, you can hang outdoor curtains to contain heat and to help keep out wind or rain. Hanging up curtains will also add a whimsical, potentially romantic look to your patio space, softening the corners and rigidness of hardscaping. With the selection of colors, patterns and styles, you won’t have to sacrifice your fashion sense to keep the patio warm!

4. Cozy Fabrics

Creating an extra comfortable outdoor space means adding textiles that will repel warmth from their materials. These textiles include getting cozy outdoor couches, warm blankets, and throw pillows—all items that you or guests can curl up on and into. A couch with cushy cushions and throw pillows sure beats your run-of-the-mill patio furniture. Have a stack of low-cost, but decorative, blankets on hand when additional warmth is needed.

5. Hot Tub or Spa

Relaxing in a steamy hot tub or in-ground spa feels great all year long, but in cold weather, the temperature difference can make it feel even better. Although, using it during the cool months may require a little preparation before stepping out into cold weather in a swimsuit. Keep snow and ice off the path to the tub and the top of your tub or the spa cover to make it accessible whenever you want to use it–plus, it will help keep heating costs down.

To experience ultimate luxury post jacuzzi bathing, keep a towel warmer next to the spa. It’s actually more practical than it sounds—a warm towel will keep your body temperature from dropping too quickly when you step from the tub.

6. Hot Beverages

Hot chocolate will always be the quintessential winter warm-up, why not be a bit more exciting? Take the time to create a personalized hot beverage that you, your family or guests can enjoy to help withstand the cool weather.

  • Warm Mulled Cider – Simmer apple cider with mulling spices, orange zest, and ginger. It smells as good as it tastes.
  • Mulled Wine With Cranberries – Simmer cranberry juice cocktail, cinnamon sticks and star anise for 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer before serving.
  • Warm Hazelnut Toddy – Stir hot water into Frangelico and spoon that dollop of whipped cream onto the top.

7. Winter Grilling

Grilled meats and kabobs don’t only have to be a summer food item, enjoy summertime barbeque inspired flavors in the winter months by utilizing your grill. For that matter, grilling can be done year-round, all you have to do is keep a pathway cleared if you’re in a location that experiences snowfall. You might want to move the grill closer to the house for the winter to save yourself some steps when it’s really bitter out.

If and when the temperatures are below freezing, it can take twice as long to preheat the grill and cook your food. Keep the lid closed as much as possible when cooking, the more often you open it the longer it will take due to the release of heat.

When preparing your home for winter, whether it be indoor or outdoor maintenance – save the storage time and carry summertime outdoor living over into the cooler months using these tips!

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on October 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 8:27 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: color, curb appeal, real estate, Spring, staging | Tagged , , , ,