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How to Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal

According to the National Association of Realtors, sixty-three percent of home buyers will visit a house that they first saw online. Make their first impression of your house great by maximizing your curb appeal.

  • Clean your windows and the outside of your house
  • Freshen the paint on your house
  • Get rid of any rotted wood
  • Make sure your front door looks great. Paint it, clean it, put a doorknocker or wreath on it; whatever will make it look even better.
  • Spray-paint or change out your hardware on your front door and garage doors, such as doorknobs and locks
  • Frame your front door with molding
  • Add big, bold house numbers
  • Add or change porch lighting
  • Refinish the porch floor
  • Buy a new front door mat
  • If you have a porch, add furniture
  • Paint or stain the garage door
  • Repair or replace the roof. That’s one of the first things buyers notice about a house.
  • Fix the driveway, patios, and pathways. Power-wash, repair cracks, bricks or stones, etc.
  • Plant flowers and plants, both in your yard and in hanging planters or planter boxes by your front door, if there’s room.
  • Weed your yard and flowerbeds
  • Feed your grass so that it looks healthy and attractive, and mow it regularly
  • Replace mulch, if you have any
  • Add a picket fence
  • Install a new mailbox
  • Straighten shutters
  • Re-fasten and clean out gutters   curb Appeal  Curb Appeal  Curb Appeal  
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Things You Might Forget About in Your Kitchen

You see it every day, but does that mean it’s something you’ll critically think about? There are probably a few elements in your kitchen you’re forgetting about.

  • The distance between the stove, sink, and the refrigerator should be the smallest possible, especially if you cook a lot.
  • Spend more money in one spot. Splurge on a thing or an element that will complement the surrounding area while also beautifully standing out.
  • Details matter. Changing something as simple as your hardware can  make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your kitchen.
  • Lighting: The lighting itself is important, and so is how the light fixture looks. Hanging light fixtures above kitchen islands and sinks can make a big (positive) impact on the room as a whole. Luckily, pendant lights are trendy lately.
  • Different floor options: Don’t be scared to venture away from simple hardwoods towards tile, etc.
  • Long-term: Think about important, big-ticket items in terms of how long they’ll last and how they’ll show wear. Sinks, faucets, etc. are included in this decision.
  • The ceiling: There’s more you can do with it than you may realize at first. Paint it a different color, add some texture, etc.
  • A place for everything: You can put your appliances in cabinets that have outlets on the inside, so that you won’t have to take the appliances out every time you want to use them.
  • Organize: Don’t forget you can hang cooking utensils right where you need them, and same goes for pots and pans. You can strap cutting boards to the insides of cabinet doors. There are also plenty of options for storing cereal and snacks in pull-out cabinets.
  • Shelves: You can put them on the side of cabinets. You can also choose an island with built-in shelving.
  • Dish racks: Put them over the sink to save room and to better allow a full dry.
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Steps of Remodeling Your Bathroom

Remodeling a room can be exciting- it’s a chance to take something and make it new. However, there is a systematic process for remodeling your bathroom. Here’s what you need to know about the process:

  1. What are you wanting to change and accomplish? What purpose will the bathroom serve; a bathroom for your child, or you and your spouse? A powder room? Make sure you have a clear answer to this before you start remodeling. Also, be sure to ask yourself how many people will be using it, how much time you spend in the bathroom, how much space you need, how long you’ll live in the house, and the effort you’ll truly want to put into cleaning it. Why are you remodeling? If it’s for a better resale value, then be sure to do a little bit of research beforehand on what buyers look for in your area and in general. If it’s for updating the appearance, then be sure and pay attention to materials, fixtures, cabinetry, paint, etc. to freshen up your bathroom. If you’re remodeling for better storage and functionality, then check out some organizational vanities, shelving, and cabinetry you could use, and also be prepared to possibly spend a bit of money.
  2. Plan, do your research, and set a budget. There are varying levels of upgrades and remodels in terms of their extensiveness and price. Remember that sometimes even if you spend a lot of money on a renovation, this doesn’t always mean you’ll earn as much back when you sell your house. Also remember to keep in mind any unforeseen costs that may appear. Research the materials you plan on using: their pros and cons, price points, varieties, and aesthetics. Plan out all of the features you want to change, and how they would all look together.
  3. Find a good contractor if it’s a more intensive renovation. If you’re planning on renovating something yourself but have any doubt in your mind about it, don’t do it! You may have to sink in extra money just to fix your mistakes. Before you hire a contractor, research and listen to word of mouth. The contractor that you hire may see things that you don’t as well- a better way to fit everything in your layout design, etc. For major structural changes, you might need to hire an architect.
  4. Approve the design for layouts, floorplans, etc. You don’t have to have every detail planned out yet, like decorations. However, you do need to have the measurements planned out for the bathroom components such as the vanity and shower. From there, you’ll know exactly how much material you need to order.
  5. Choose your colors, materials, hardware, etc.
  6. Get three separate estimates from contractors. Sometimes they vary greatly, but be weary of both the seemingly too cheap and seemingly too expensive ones.
  7. Plan the details out. Where are you going to store the materials until you install them? When would you feel most comfortable for the contractor/s to be working? How will this affect you? Will you still be able to use that bathroom, or use a different one?
  8. Once it’s completed, look for mistakes. Keep your receipts. Go through and check for malfunctioning cabinetry, dents, etc. and contact your contractor if you find this.
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How to Arrange Furniture In a Small Space

No matter how much space you have for furniture, you can probably agree that occasionally you feel like there’s just not enough room for everything. Here are some steps to arrange furniture in a way that will eliminate that feeling for good.

  1. Plan the layout according to the function of the room. What do you want your room to “be”? What purpose will it provide you and your family, and how important is that going to stay to you? How many people will be in that room at any given time? Once you’ve decided these things, think about where your furniture will go. Decide this before you start trying to actually move it around, and it will save you precious energy and time.
  • Plan a focal point according to the room’s function. A TV, fireplace, table, etc. all will do.
  • Think about traffic. What is the general flow of people? Where in the room is it most natural for them to walk? Keep furniture out of foot traffic’s way, and keep a path moving around furniture.
  • Plan around large pieces, like couches and beds. Think about where these will be located in the room, and space everything else around these.
  • Accommodate space for comfort items like lamps and tables.
  • Remember that symmetrical layouts give a room more of a formal vibe, while asymmetrical does the opposite.

2. Using visual tricks can make your room appear like it has more space, even if it really doesn’t have much.

  • “Float” your furniture away form the wall. 3-4 inches of space between it and the wall will make the room seem a little less compressed.
  • Decorate with mirrors to give the appearance of a more expanded space.
  • Prevent furniture from covering any part of windows or doorways in a room.
  • Decorate with glass and lucite tables, etc. to keep the visual flow going.
  • Experiment with angling your furniture in different ways to make the room look bigger.
  • Use different lighting sources to give more depth to the room.
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Ideas to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger

A small bathroom can seem difficult to work with when you and your partner are fighting over the sink in the morning. However, there are ways to make your small bathroom work for you, and seem bigger.

  • Oval Sink in a Vanity: Gives you more counter space.
  • Long Sink: If you want two sinks but don’t have room for both in your small bathroom, then install one long sink vanity. This lets you compromise between the two by having more counter space than you originally would have.
  • Space-Saving Washstand: There a multitude of varieties that don’t take up as much room as boxy ones, including versions with curved edge/s, and ones with open shelving at the base. Varieties with towel bars also let you save wall space that you would have used for hanging up towels
  • Table: If you have one in your small bathroom, then choose one that is more “leggy” than boxy to save space.
  • Mirrors: They can really create the illusion of more space. Hang one on a wall over the tub to create the illusion of having a bigger bathroom. Oval mirrors are a good choice as well because they’re elegant, and allow more visual continuity.
  • Towel Racks: Hanging your towel racks above the tub will save valuable wall space elsewhere, and will look luxurious and unique.
  • Shelves: If you have a big tub, you can save some space by putting shelves in the wall behind it.
  • Shower: If you can, create a better flow of natural light and space by having glass shower doors instead of shower curtains. However, if you do need a shower curtain, pick one that is airy and light. Also, allow your tile floor (if you have it) to continue into the shower to create visual continuity. 
  • Illusion of Space: If you have a pattern somewhere in your bathroom, then don’t pair it with more pattern/s. For instance, if you have intricate tile floors, then don’t have a busy shower curtain or rug. Just pick an accent color that will accentuate, but not overwhelm.
  • Storage: Beef up your small bathroom by choosing fixtures and furniture with storage included. If you don’t have enough vanity space, build a ledge above your sink to store your essentials.
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How to Liven Up Your Home’s Interior

Are you feeling like you want a change in your home‘s interior, but you just don’t know what that change should be? 

  • Use a fun quilt as a table cloth
  • Shorten the legs of a taller table
  • Replace the legs of tables and chairs
  • Glue marble wallpaper on the tops of coffee tables, in trays, etc.; anywhere that would be appealing to you
  • Buy fresh flowers and/or tuck small plants into corners and other places
  • Use teapots or other interesting containers instead of vases
  • Fill your fireplace with candles if you don’t plan on burning wood
  • Add a rug or a few
  • Change your window treatments
  • Install wall hooks, or a key & wallet cabinet if you would only need hooks for keys.
  • Group small mirrors on a section of wall 
  • Write on your mirror with chalk markers or erasable window markers
  • Wallpaper a half-bathroom
  • Change your stairs; paint them, add a runner, etc.
  • Change the kitchen/bathroom faucet, hardware, and towel racks
  • Paint lamp shades/fixtures with patterns and designs
  • Paint lamps, vases, or any other accessory
  • Change or add a light fixture
  • Lower a pendant light or chandelier 
  • Drape blankets over the backs of chairs
  • Put groups of varying types of containers on your shelves, including kitchenware, vases, glasses, etc.
  • Cover headboards with textiles, or place one on the wall where a headboard would be if you don’t have one
  • Paint a section of wall with colored chalkboard paint
  • Paint just one or two walls a different color
  • Hang a rug as art on your walls
  • Or hang a large piece of art (you can use cables!)
  • Add something fun outside, whether it be a table to serve drinks on, a fire pit, a hammock, or whatever else. Interior interior interior
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Pros and Cons of Different Floor Types

There is an abundance of floor types that are available to become a part of your home. However, they are not all created equally.

  • Hardwoods: Yes, the coveted hardwood floors. These are an ever-popular, timeless classic. There are so many varieties of hardwood floor types; between solid and engineered, each available in various types of wood, there’s a choice for everyone. Hardwoods also can be refinished, allowing them to last for centuries. Because of all of these great things, their resale value is great. However, as with anything, there are a few negatives. They aren’t always great for homeowners with a tighter budget. Hardwoods can scratch more easily, can be harder to clean, and can be damaged when exposed to moisture too often.
  • Tile: Tile has popped in and out of home decor trends throughout the years, but lately the popular tile has been in varieties that look like stone, concrete, and wood. There are a multitude of variations of styles, colors, sizes, and textures of tile now, along with prices. It does not get scratched easily, and it can be easily cleaned. It also can last for years to come. The only cons of having tile are that it can be chipped or cracked if something is dropped on it, and it can be slippery to walk on if it gets wet.
  • Travertine: Traverine is a very durable, timeless flooring material. It is available in many different forms, colors, and textures. Because of this, the pricing varies greatly. Travertine is harder to chip or scratch than hardwood or tile. It also is less slippery than tile because it has more texture. The cons of travertine are that it can easily stain, it requires a more specific kind of floor cleaning, and also requires sealing.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is one of the more relatively versatile floor types. It can look like stone or wood, and it can have one of several methods of installation. It is almost always cheaper than any other kind of floor. Vinyl does not chip, scuff, or scratch, and it can hold up to moisture, unlike other flooring types. It’s also easy and comfortable to walk on. The only possible downside to having vinyl is that furniture can leave marks, and so can foot traffic patterns.
  • Laminate: You can get a lot for your money with laminate floors; they look like hardwoods, yet are cheaper and scratch less easily. They are also easy to DIY, since they are made to easily fit and stay together. The downsides are that they can become damaged if exposed to water, unlike tile or vinyl. You need to give them a moisture barrier, and also use a specific cleaner. Last, they generally last less time than other kinds of floors.
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Home Renovation Mistakes

There are some things that can, and need to be, avoided during your home’s renovation.

  • Rushing into it: Before you get too excited, look at all your options. Deliberately weigh your options based on the right fit for your home and price. Consider your budget, the quality of the materials, the aesthetics, and the amount of work it will take to put it in your house. Don’t regret your home renovations; be semi-cautious about the whole thing.
  • Set a budget: Don’t go into the home renovation process without a semi-strict budget. Along the same lines as the point above, you need to understand just how much it will cost to do what you want to do. It might be awkward to have to stop your renovation right in the middle of it, and then hold off until you save up more money.
  • Hire the right contractor: You need to find a local contractor who is properly insured (just in case anything goes wrong), and who can also show you examples of his or her work (like a showroom). Avoid the contractors who are suspiciously too cheap- when business gets slow, some will under-charge homeowners just to survive, but then have to go out of business, and leave them high and dry. Do your research!
  • Lay out a clear vision: Don’t get too side-tracked by all those extra pretty, shiny things that you would just love to get your hands on. Keep a clear-cut plan and vision for what you are doing so that your budget won’t be blown to bits. Make lists, sketches, etc. to lay everything out. Also, be sure to keep a very clear line of communication with your contractor so they know exactly what you want. Have them confirm what you said you wanted, before they start planning and carrying it out.
  • Secrets: Sometimes renovations will unearth water damage, etc. which is more necessary to fix than your renovation is to complete for now.
  • Remember: not to accumulate too much clutter in your renovation area; this will create more stress, and make it harder to move around. However, plan out your ventilation, lighting, and how you will collect and dispose of trash. Don’t overlook dripping paint and damage to furniture! Also, remember to plan around your home renovations, accounting for areas of your home you won’t have access to, and when.
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How to Create a Great Home Office

Working from home is pretty awesome, but sometimes it’s so awesome that it’s a distraction. Here are some tips to create a home office conducive to working.

  • Try and find a space to set up in that doesn’t make you think of other, non-related things; if your bedroom only makes you think about sleeping, then you might want a more neutral space to work from. If you have a TV in your space that you know is going to distract you, then take the initiative and either move the TV, or move to a different location. Take into account the direction you’ll be facing, and what will be in your line of vision from where you sit. Keep that psychological boundary between where you work and where you live otherwise.
  • Be comfortable. Find a chair with good support and that’s a good size for you. You don’t want to feel the urge to get up and walk around ten times an hour simply because of discomfort.
  • Make sure your lighting is good. Whatever light you work best in, whether it be natural, yellow, fluorescent, etc., invest in the appropriate lamp/s based on your preference.
  • Stay organized. Studies have shown that a cleaner, more organized work space allows you to be more productive. Do whatever you need to do to work more efficiently: get rid of things, move them to a different location, or organize them in containers. Keep an effective filing system, and a place for each thing you’ll need and use (don’t forget about your desk drawers!) Don’t hesitate to buy some more shelves, cabinets, dividers, etc.
  • Keep a calendar, planner, stick notes around, etc. Anything to help you organize your schedule, your work, and your life.
  • Wrangle and organize your electronics. Chances are, you’ll be using at least one at all times. Charging stations are great for keeping them all in their designated places. If you are the type to get distracted by technology, then be sure and keep the station out of your range of eyesight.
  • Keep positive vibes. Whatever drags you out of the work doldrums: pictures, quote plaques, decorations, plants, etc.  home office home office 
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Better Ways to Organize Your House

Keeping everything you own in order can be hard work. Luckily, there are some tricks out there that can help you organize better.

  • Charging station: Keep and charge all your small electronics in one place, so you won’t have to keep running to different outlets.
  • Vacuum-seal food: You’ll be surprised at how much extra space plastic bags and containers take up when you store your food. Invest in a vacuum sealer, especially if you keep a lot of things in your freezer.
  • Slim bins: You can store cereals, pastas, pet food, etc. and it saves more space than having lots of clunky boxes laying around.
  • Hangers: You can buy those descending chip hooks they have in stores, as well as hanging chips with the clothes hangers that clip.
  • Labeling food: Label your spice tops, and put them in a spice rack that holds them horizontally so that you can find them much easier. Also label your food containers like flour and sugar to make them look good, and to better tell them apart from others. Also label baskets and containers holding food as well.
  • Bake ware organizers: The vertical wire file dividers used in offices can benefit your kitchen as well. Find ones that are wide enough to organize your pans and other bake ware.
  • Towel bars: Install these if you need extra room to hang your pots and pans, using shower curtain hooks.
  • Peg boards: Put one in your pantry for even more storage for pots.
  • Lazy susan: These are great in cabinets and pantries that have a limited amount of space. Never dig through the many layers of your pantry again.
  • Magazine holders: Keep your cans stacked horizontally in these to save space and to keep them all in one location. you can attach them to the insides of cabinet doors as well to store aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc.
  • Magazine/cookbook holder: You can install these easily in your kitchen or living room to keep your reading material corralled in one place. Attach them the sides of counters, tables, or kitchen islands.
  • Makeup/Cosmetics/Craft organizer: You probably have a lot of makeup and bathroom/body products you’ve acquired over the years. There’s a better way to keep them than by having them just sitting around, taking up space. You can find many varieties of boxes with drawers to keep all of these in. Read below.
  • Clear containers: For anything you have a lot of, and for food like flour and sugar. These let you see what’s in them so you don’t have to open up every organizer you have to find what you need. Plus, the lucite trend is currently underway.
  • Rolling carts: Even if they’re small, these babies definitely are helpful to have. You can use them in the dining room for drinks, the bathroom to hold products, a craft room, etc.
  • Paper towel holder: Reconfigure metal (or really any kind of) paper towel holders to hold bracelets and necklaces. It’s any easy way to organize your jewelry so you won’t have to dig around for it.
  • Push pins: Use these to hang and organize necklaces.
  • Shower caddy: These are versatile for holding things in places besides the shower. Fresh produce, spices, electronics, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  • Shoe caddy/hanging rack: These can come in handy in your kitchen pantry, in your bathroom closet, and your clothes closet.
  • Binder clips: These come in handy for keeping cords coiled and together. You can also hang food in your freezer by clipping bags to the shelves with these.
  • Tables with storage: Your coffee tables, end tables, etc. are all even better when they have storage capabilities included.
  • Key holder: Creating a small cabinet for your keys can work for your best interests. You can even just install a few small hooks by the entry of your house if you don’t want to make a new cabinet.