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
The start of a new year brings the same old resolutions: get organized, get in shape and eat healthier. What if we all look beyond ourselves and add find new ways to be kinder to Mother Earth to our list? The impact would be pretty fantastic, a re-energized movement to preserve our one and only beautiful earth.
One simple way to fulfill that resolution is to be eco-conscious on moving day. Moving is one of the most wasteful times in a household. We finally get around to cleaning out those over stuffed closets, basements and garages. It’s the time we toss out those old clothes, electronics, magazines, bikes, etc. On top of the major weeding out of our belongings, we use tons of boxes and packing materials; and create piles and piles of waste that contribute to our landfills. Let’s just face the fact: moving time equals major trash time.
The great green news is there are simple steps you can take during a move to reduce your waste. Being eco-conscious on moving day will save you some green in your wallet too!
Follow these 5 steps to make Mother Nature & your wallet proud:
Use Eco-Friendly Moving Supplies
From boxes, packing paper to bubble, there are now green 100% recyclable materials to keep our neighborhoods cleaner and greener. Yep, there is even biodegradable eco-bubble, pop away guilt free.
ECO-BONUS: Save money by asking your moving company for used boxes made of recyclable materials. You can get used boxes at a discount and some moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your used boxes at the end of your move. Pop! Pop! Cha-ching!
It’s Not Just for the Movies
Instead of the foam popcorn and peanuts, use real popcorn to pack fragile items! Just pop and fill the gaps in your boxes to secure and pad fragile items. Cheap and earth friendly!
Finally, the garage and closets actually are getting cleaned out. Hurray! Now is the time to get rid of what you don’t really need: the growing collection of tuna and soup cans in the pantry; the many, many sport teams t-shirts; go-go boots; your 10 year old’s toddler clothing, etc. But, don’t just toss them out. Donate unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy.
ECO-BONUS: Reuse your moving boxes to donate your items. Simply visit GiveBackBox.com to learn how to use your used boxes to ship your donations off to a charity. Lastly, if you have any unopened leftover food on moving day, donate it to Move For Hunger. Don’t forget to keep your moving and donation receipts to save green on your taxes next year!
Be Kind to Your Electronics
You may no longer want your lemon-yellow microwave, but don’t just put it on the curb or throw it in a dump. If you do, it will likely be shipped off to unregulated third world environmental disaster dumping grounds instead of being recycled in facilities that follow U.S. environmental regulations. Contact a domestic e-waste recycler so your old computers, microwaves and other electronics are recycled domestically, under environmental laws, rather than being shipped off to be processed by highly toxic and polluting techniques.
Hire an Eco-Conscious Moving Company
Use your “green” to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmental-friendly practices. Make sure your moving company is bright green by asking: Does the staff recycle? Are the offices and warehouse designed to be energy efficient? Do they use biodiesel to run their trucks? Do they use 100 % recyclable materials? Do they sell used boxes? Do they buy them back at the end of the move? Chances are if they care about the earth, they care about their customers too! It’s a great big green win – win!
Pat yourself on the back; you’re making Mother Earth smile and future generations will thank you!
Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.
Source: CB Blue Matter
Whether you’re buying, selling or staging a home, popular architectural styles and buzz-words can help you get the most out of your investment. Current and upcoming homebuyers have an “instant” mindset, are debt-savvy, and want all the luxuries of rural living in growing cities. Trending architectural styles, like shipping container and tiny homes, reflect the budget-friendliness and fast construction new homeowners want. Contemporary glass structures, modern farmhouse, and a Spanish-colonial revival make way for bigger homes and budgets.
These days, building your own home is as easy as clicking around on a website or flipping through a catalog, mixing materials and adding desired features. The architecture that results is a Lego-like, innovative blend of textures and shapes that is “unique” to the homeowner’s preferences and taste. These styles are known as shipping container style homes. Some simulate the appearance of or incorporate actual shipping container material in their textures. By selecting from pre-fab, mix and match elements, homeowners can be sure that these features are ready-to-go. They can get exactly what they want without wasting time or resources.
Floor plans for both homes and apartments are getting smaller and smaller as the demand for land goes up and urban populations boom. Architects and builders are getting creative with their designs, finding new ways to make the most out of spaces as small as 300 square feet. This is “tiny home” size. These homes often sell at a lower price point than traditional-size homes, which makes the investment easier for modern homebuyers who are grappling with significant loan debt. These designs make the most out of every square inch with hidden storage, multi-use rooms and concepts like open space and indoor-outdoor living.
One of the most desired builds, right now, is the Santa Barbara style of architecture. This involves white stucco walls, wood beam ceilings and red tile roofs. It gets its name from the Spanish Colonial style that boomed in Santa Barbara in the early 1900s. The city set the trend for the rest of the country and homeowners are finding that the aesthetics of this style are a top choice for their dream homes.
Homeowners are knocking out walls and replacing them with glass doors and walls to see through to their back yards or patios. Incorporating the outdoors into indoor spaces is a top trend, right now. With the glass features, homeowners tend to blend sleek materials like concrete or wood. Modern glass style homes allow the outdoors to flow into the indoors and vice versa. This is a great trick to make the most of your property.
The farmhouse style has been a long-standing architectural icon. However, these days, the style is changing to incorporate more modern elements. The result is known as the modern farmhouse. In many builds, the design begins as a modern home outfitted with rural accents like barn doors and farmhouse siding. For builds that begin in the farmhouse style, modern colors and mixed industrial textures bring the old into the new.
If you are considering a new construction, an architect can help you to stay on top of the trends so that your home will be a success on the market well into the future. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to hire an architect is $5,000. They can guide you through the process to help maximize on your time and resources.
Lauren White is a freelance writer who enjoys reading, hiking and traveling. She can usually be found on an outdoor adventure with her boyfriend and little sister on the weekends.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
When deciding on what to focus on at CES, I drew the “wildest smart home tech” straw among our home office team. True to my entrepreneurial/short attention span nature, I took a meandering path before I found anything that I considered “wild.” Here’s what distracted me along the way to the “wild” payoff at the end.
What’s old is new again?
One of my hobbies is finding old vinyl records at garage and estate sales. My sons are developing an affinity for this medium as well, and my middle son Jared has started his own collection of albums of his favorite movie soundtracks, such as Guardians of the Galaxy and La La Land (he has diverse tastes). It’s fun to hear him gush about the “warmth” of vinyl vs digital recordings, so while at CES, I was looking for tech that bridges the warmth of the old and the ease of the new.
There were plenty to be found, with Crosley and Victrola both displaying retro turntables, including systems that played analog off the needle and broadcast to Bluetooth speakers. Not all of them were retro either- for example, this Lexan-mounted set caught my eye.
I was interested to check out Sony’s PS-HX500 turntable which not only plays your vinyl, but also allows you to make a digital recording of it for easy access, portability, and archiving. Unfortunately, just as I put the headphones on the power went out to a large chunk of the show floor, so I didn’t get to hear the end product.
Regardless of the source of your audio, combine it with the Bang and Olufsen BeoSound Shape, where each “tile” is a wireless speaker, amplifier, or acoustic dampener, and you’ve got a sexy installation that sounds amazing.
One device that I saw in the Eureka Park startup marketplace at CES that made a bunch of sense for homeowners was the Iotobox Music Gateway. This device allows you to integrate existing home audio systems with Sonos or similar wireless speaker systems. This means that those speakers and wires that were carefully built in when that older home was constructed have new life, and new value as part of a smart home. I’m guessing there are other solutions that fill this need, as the one I found is a startup, and it’s not clear how viable the company or its products will be.
Giving new life to battery life
Setting aside my audiophile interests, one of the most impressive, brilliant pieces of smart home technology was truly minimalist and essentially invisible. Any parent who has dealt with the whining (or occasional meltdown) when all the batteries for the Wii remotes are dead will instantly see the beauty of this innovation. The Ossia Cota Forever Battery is a standard size AA battery which functions with wireless charging. This means if you put the charging unit within a couple of meters of the where the remotes are stored, they will charge wirelessly. No plugs, wires or charging pads or finding that one little screwdriver to get the battery door off. Not only will the battery issue go away, but it’s a powerful motivator for kids to PUT THEIR STUFF AWAY!
Wearing your smart home?
So that’s what I found cool for my own uses and interests, but what’s next in smart homes? Moving beyond the technology and the functions or services it provides, one of the next steps in the progression is for the home to anticipate the resident’s needs, desires, or requests and accommodate them without that person having to ask or take action. In other words, can our house know we’re cold and adjust automatically? Or sense your mood and shift the lighting and music accordingly? In order to do this, the home needs biometric data, but how can it get that? Enter smart textiles, and specifically…smart underwear.
That’s right. Smart skivvies. By actually wearing a base layer made of smart textiles on a daily basis, your body can communicate directly with your home, allowing it to adjust to suit you. Additional applications here include collecting physiologic data around activities like exercise or athletic training. When I brought up smart underwear like what was showcased by Skiin, the prevailing response was somewhere between “eww” and “no thanks”. Really though, in the progression of privacy tradeoffs we’ve already made, just how far out is it?
If you’re already affiliated with Coldwell Banker and want to learn more about our Smart Home initiative, visit CB Exchange and search “Smart Home.”
If you would like to know what Coldwell Banker agents have access to, head to coldwellbanker.com/join and explore the possibilities of moving your business to Coldwell Banker.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show was one for the books. This was my fourth year going and my biggest takeaway was that smart home tech is evolving at break neck speeds. The smart home show floor was massive and each category from security to entertainment is getting saturated with truly amazing concepts and products. Here were some of our absolute favorites in case you missed them…
In addition to all of the awesome items mentioned above, here were even more of our favorite smart home improvements…
Improving Your Smart Home’s “Brain”
What is the biggest downfall of smart home tech? To me, it is often the lack of one streamlined operating flow. With a ton of different apps and operating systems sometimes smart home tech can actually feel a little dumb.
The good news? At this year’s show it seemed like almost every single product integrated with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home product. So the first smart home improvement you should make is picking one of these systems and finding products that sync with them. Which one is better? According to Forbes, Amazon is winning the race.
Improving Your Garage (and mental health)
Did you shut it?
I can’t remember.
I’m pretty sure you did.
I am turning around…I have to check.
Have you had this conversation with their significant other or perhaps even yourself about your garage door? We have it at a few times a month at my house. That is why the Roost Smart Garage Door Sensor made my list. With a combination of home protection and peace of mind, this WiFi connected door sensor sends you a notification telling you if your door in open or closed. The biggest drawback though? If you did leave it open there is nothing it can do for you. Still a great product for those who get open door anxiety like me! Roost also has some other cool smart home devices you can learn about here.
This will be available sometime in the spring and will be priced at $40.
Improving The Safety In An Elderly Person’s Home
I believe there is no price you can place on the safety of a loved one. Especially when it comes to the safety of an elderly parent. If you
Improving Your Home’s Cleanliness
Over the past few year’s robo vacuum cleaners have gained popularity with products like the Roomba. If you enjoy having one (or have one on your wishlist) I have a feeling you’re also going to love the Cop Rose Window Cleaning Robot. Window cleaning is a tedious task and if you have pets or small children, it can feel like a never ending chore with little hand and nose prints everywhere you turn. This smart window cleaner will keep windows, as well as other vertical surfaces, in tip top shape with a touch of a button from your smart phone. It can also be used floors and walls.
At $150, this product is a great way to avoid one of most dreaded household chores. More information here.
Improving Your Home Gym
Peloton has already built a cult like following around their bike product and and now they’re hoping to do the same around their new treadmill called the Peloton Tread. The fancy treadmill is equipped with a 32 inch touchscreen display that allows the runner to stream classes in a studio like setting from NYC’s best instructors.
The Peloton Tread comes with a hefty price tag at $4,000 PLUS an additional $39 monthly fee for live classes. It will start shipping this fall but you can reserve one now.
Bonus Product: Improving Your Kitchen Gadget Collection
While this isn’t technically a smart home improvement I couldn’t help but share one of my personal favorites from the show which was the Coravin Model 11. Have you ever wanted to drink just one glass of wine but passed because you didn’t want to ruin the bottle? The model 11 allows you to enjoy a glass without ever removing the cork or damaging the wine itself. This “first ever” fully connected automatic wine preservation opener works by placing a super thing needle through the cork. Check it out:
Like the Peloton Treadmill, this item comes with a large price tag at $1,000 but if you are serious about your wine then this is totally worth it splurge.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
When you have your own home and are responsible for your lawn care, should you do it yourself? There are two sides to DIY, good and bad. On the bad side first, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there can be consequences. But you could consider it as a learning experience too, and it will save you money.
What pros and cons would a homeowner face in this consideration?
- You’ll save money with DIY lawn care, sometimes the extra cost of a professional can be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, it might not be possible to hire one anyway. In fact, the average price for a single lawn mowing service is $43 per service, according to LawnStarter Lawn Care.
- Mowing grass is excellent exercise, and you’ll work up a sweat in no time; especially if you’re using a walk behind mower. Yes, the mower does do a lot of the work, but you still have to hold on to it and guide it. Plus, you have the troublesome spots on the unlevel areas. But it gives you a great workout!
- Many homeowners take pride in caring for their lawn themselves. They know where each patch of crabgrass is and where the last dandelion is hiding. They take pride in the beauty of their green yards and interesting gardens that add so much beauty.
- It encourages interaction with your neighbors as you discuss the best fertilizer and lawn care products. Plus, saying can you help with my brown spot and do you have moles too?
- You will notice more easily things that need your attention. You will find that hole behind a bush that the dog dug trying to escape. Or, whether it’s time to dethatch the lawn or can it wait another week.
- If your lawn is thick, it will need dethatching to permit the grass to breathe. Instead of racking your back though you can rent or buy a power dethatcher. This you can do yourself with very little help except for the raking up of the debris.
- You have more control over how high you want your to be grass mowed. When the temperature starts to rise, the height of your lawn should too. When you mow too low, then you’re opening up the possibility of weeds because weeds need light to sprout. If you have a kid from down the street mow your lawn, you can’t always control the grass height if it’s their lawn mower.
- There can be some drawbacks with DIY lawn care such as finding the correct lawn products. Since homeowners don’t usually have the skilled expertise that lawn care companies do or access to commercial grade products, they have to keep on buying different products until they figure out what works the best.
- The results of all your hard work may be mediocre as you struggle with crabgrass and dandelions. Or worse, you could have grubs, and without professional help, you may not be able to control them.
- There are hidden costs of taking care of the lawn yourself which you may not have factored into it. Without professional input, there are some things you could be missing or doing incorrectly. You could be using incorrect ratios when spreading or spraying your lawn. Or, perhaps misusing a pest control product which could harm the environment, your landscape, hardscape; or even your lawn.
- When you do your lawn care, you could have problems storing the containers of product you need for your lawn. You will have to secure weed, lawn, and disease treatments in a place which will be moisture proof and cold weather proof. Plus, if you have children, storing products safely and out of reach can be a big concern.
- You might not have the experience to know if the big brown spot if from Fred, your dog, or because you have some type of fungus growing which is slowing killing your grass. You may not be able to treat this without some kind of professional opinion given.
- If you really gouge your lawn, the professional that you hire to repair it is going to cost real money.
Whether you do your own lawn care or hire a professional, a great lawn is something everyone wants to have.
Jackie Greene is a blogger, gardener, and nutrition enthusiast. She enjoys creating organic meals for family and friends using the fresh ingredients she produces from her backyard homestead.
Which DIY projects have the biggest return on investment? Find out here.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Source: CAR/One cool thing