Sept. 30, 2019

The Right Window Treatments For You

 

Window treatments can often be an afterthought. The stress of finding the right blinds or curtains to cover your naked windows can make you just forget to cover them altogether. There are so many options that the choices can be overwhelming, and the idea of installing them can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Instead of stressing out and leaving your windows open to passing neighbors, follow these guidelines to find the perfect window treatments for you.

CHOOSING BLINDS OR CURTAINS

Deciding what you need can be difficult. Instead of making that decision on a whim, ask yourself a few of these questions and you can get a clear idea of what you need. What is your design vision? If you want to be able to easily control the light coming in with a clean look, go for blinds. Does the room you’re worried about allow for easy peeping from the outside? Consider using both blinds and curtains. Do you want to be able to choose from more colors, textures, and designs? Curtains are probably best for you.

DECIDING ON A STYLE

Both curtains and blinds have different styles, even if curtains have a wider range. Depending on which treatment you choose, you’ll have choices to make. For blinds, your options are fairly limited. Most blinds are neutral and can typically either be plastic or wood. If you want modern contemporary, consider wide wooden slat blinds. If you want something more traditional, you can opt for plantation shutters. For curtains, try to decide what aesthetic your room already has. What color or pattern would tie it together? Also keep in mind how much light you want to let in. If you want a light and airy room, consider sheer curtains. Select colors that won’t stick out but rather, compliment the room, and you will love your new window treatments.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 30, 2019

Tricks For Hard-To-Paint Areas

 

While some DIY projects seem like they should be left for the pros, painting doesn’t have to be one of them. Basic painting seems easy enough, but sometimes we run into those hard-to-paint areas and regret not hiring a professional. Instead of hanging up the towel, try out these tricks for those spots and see if you can finish your project all on your own (and save some money in the process!)

Painting Window Trim

Painting the wood diving panes and sashes on windows can seem daunting at first. Most people think that lining your windows with painters tape will help, but that is usually just a waste of time. Instead, just paint away! This is the one time it is okay to get a little paint outside of your target area. When paint gets on the glass, just allow it to dry and as soon as it does, scrape it off with a razor blade. Try not to let the paint set for longer than a day.

Painting Behind Toilets

Sometimes, the hardest places to paint are the tight spaces where we can’t really do much to make that space bigger. This is where you will need a “hot dog” roller. They’re smaller than regular rollers and when attached to a longer handle, can make painting in tight spaces a breeze. You can use this roller for other small spaces, like behind radiators or other fixtures.

Painting High Ceilings

If you’ve got a high ceiling or a tall wall where a ladder can’t safely reach, like above a staircase, you’ve usually got a challenge on your hands. This is where a paintbrush extension tool comes in. Rather than attaching a roller to a pole and losing stability, an extension tool is more like an extension of your arm. Make sure to avoid dripping paint by loading less paint on the brush that you typically would for a wall right in front of you.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 30, 2019

Deciding To Buy A Fixer-Upper

If you are a fan of HGTV, you have probably seen your fair share of fixer-uppers. TV shows tend to make everything look easy, especially home flipping or updating. So how do you decide if a fixer upper is worth your time? Here are a few scenarios where diving in usually pays off.

1. The upgrades are simple.

First, you need to find out what types of issues are going to need updated and recognize your personal skills. If a home has foundation, electrical, or plumbing issues, chances are those aren’t easy fixes unless you are a contractor yourself. When it comes to cosmetic fixes, there is usually less of a safety risk so if you’re willing to do the work, those are the houses for you.

2. When the numbers pencil out.

You need to ask yourself if all the work you will put in is going to make the property worth as much or more after you’re finished. Sit down and run the numbers, and decide if you are willing and able to stick to a budget. If you’re handy and willing to put in the hours, your budget may be much smaller than what you would spend on a move-in ready home. 

3. You have the time and resources.

Sometimes when investing in a fixer-upper, there will be work that needs done where you may not be able to be in the house. Do you have a friend of family member close by where you can crash while the house is getting rewired, or the insulation is getting installed? If not, is there wiggle room in your budget for a night or two in a hotel when there’s a small emergency with the water pipes? It is important to recognize where you are in life and if you are mentally, physically, and fiscally able to invest in a fixer-upper.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 30, 2019

Choosing The Perfect Area Rug

 

If you’ve ever seen a perfectly styled room, you probably noticed that the area rug was used to tie the room together. Because they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs, it can be overwhelming to decide what area rug is perfect for the room you are trying to decorate. Here is a short guide to help you find the perfect fit.

1. Determine your price range.

In order to shrink your option pool, the best first step is deciding how much you want to spend. Area rugs can get expensive, and they tend to grow in price as they grow in size. Other factors, such as material type and pile (the height of your rug fibers) will impact the price too. If you set a range before you go shopping, you can save yourself the heartbreak over a rug that is way out of your budget.

2. Decide on a size.

Ultimately, the size of the rug is up to you. There are recommendations depending on the room type, but it is YOUR home so the final call is yours. For living rooms, it is recommended that you center the rug and make sure it is large enough to cover all furniture space. Low-pile rugs will last longer if you have a heavily trafficked living room. For your dining room, consider a rug that will hide stains from accidental spills and will have about 2 feet of empty rug space outside of your table - that way, dining chairs won’t scratch your floor. For bedrooms, choose a carpet that has 3 or more feet on each side of your bed. Usually high-pile rugs are best for bedrooms to add a cozy vibe. 

3. Choose a style & color.

You’ve made it to the best part! Now that you’ve slimmed down your choices with price and size, you have options based on your color and style preference. When choosing your color, keep in mind that the rug can either be the dominant color in the room or it can accent colors you already have. Designs are all about personal preference. If you want the rug to have a bright pattern, it can be the center point of your room. Otherwise, you can pick a calming rug that balances out the room if it is otherwise busy. Keep in mind that patterns will hide stains and traffic.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 30, 2019

Brightening Your Space

 

Lightening up your space isn’t just for visual appeal. As the end of summer approaches, that means that the days will begin to shorten. Brightening your space will help maximize the light you get every day, no matter how much daylight you have. Having a bright space not only looks better, but it can help you feel better too. Here are some ways to brighten your space.

Paint it!

You don’t need white walls to have a bright space. If you pick paint colors that are saturated but still light, your walls will still reflect light. Consider using a bright, soft sage  or similar colors that can bring new life and extra light to your space. 

Use Mirrors

If you have a room that gets natural light but just not enough, add mirrors! Strategically placing mirrors to reflect natural light will make that room come alive.

Keep Contrast

Don’t just paint every wall white. If every surface in your kitchen is white, it will get a little dull - and hard to maintain. Add a colorful backsplash or update your kitchen accessories to complement your white cabinets or walls.

Update Window Treatments

Your curtains may be stopping that natural light from entering your home. Consider replacing your window treatments with something sheer or semi-sheer, that will still provide privacy while allowing light in.

Replace Doors

If you house isn’t full of windows and you aren’t ready to install new windows in your home, consider a door replacement. Many doors offer privacy glass that will allow you to let natural light in and keep neighbor eyes out.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 4, 2019

How To Let Your Passions Shine Through Your Home Decor

 

It is easy to get caught up in decorating to fit the current styles in home decor. Instead of focusing on what is ‘in’ right now, consider incorporating your passions and what you love into your decor, so that for you, it will never go out of style. Here are some ways to use your talent, skills, and hobbies to decorate your home.

Use Your Talents

Do you enjoy calligraphy on the side? Maybe you are a hobby photographer who loves taking outdoor photos. Create a canvas using your writing skills or print your photos and frame them to display in your home. There is a way for each creative to apply their talents in the home decorating process. Find out what you love and use it to make your house a home.

Decorate With Your Tools

If you hobby includes tools of any sort, use them as a decor piece. If you’ve got paintbrushes or cameras or needles and yarn, show them off! Use your tools as a statement piece in your decor so whenever you are inspired, they will be within arm’s reach!

Display Conversation Starters

Everyone loves to talk about their hobbies and talents. If you have a favorite book series, find a way to use them as a decor piece. If you are an avid broadway show fan, create a talk piece from your favorite show. Frame your program and place it in the room where you typically have guests. If you are entertaining guests and are able to draw conversation from your decor, you will enjoy it that much more.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 4, 2019

Home Updates To Make After A Decade

 

Have you lived in your current home for at least 10 years and are starting to wonder what needs replaced or updated? Even if you make maintenance a priority, some things in your home are going to need updated or replaced after they’ve been used for 10 years. Here are 8 updates to consider making in your home with each decade.

1. Hot Water Tank

Even if your tank isn’t leaking (or not working) quite yet, it is usually ready for replacement every 10 years. It is important to make note of how old your water heater is to prevent any major issues, so be sure to check the manufacturing date and consider replacement once it has worked for 10 years. 

2. Ceiling Fans

If you are someone who has the fans in your home running often, they will likely need replaced after cooling your home for a decade. If you notice lightbulbs are burning out frequently, it is time to consider replacing your fans. 

3. Carpet

The average carpet on the market today is expected to last 10 years. If you’ve got pets or a heavily trafficked home, you may want to consider replacing your carpets before you hit that 10-year mark. If you’ve got stains, tears, or hard-to-remove odors, it is probably time for an update.

4. Dishwasher

If your dishwasher has been around for 10 years, it is likely in need of replacement. The plus side of replacing your dishwasher now is that many on the market are extremely energy-efficient and will end up saving you money over time, making the initial investment to upgrade worth it. If your dishwasher has buttons that don’t work, cracks inside, or has trouble cleaning dishes as well as it used to, it is probably time to replace.

5. Washer & Dryer

If you have a working set after 10 years, you’re lucky. Many sets have a lifespan of around 8 years, so after a decade, it may be time to upgrade. 

6. Bathroom Caulking

This is the best DIY when it comes to updating your bathroom and protecting against leaks. Re-caulking the shower, tub, and sink is an easy task and gives your bathroom a new breath of life. 

7. Garbage Disposal

All blades dull over time, and with the average lifespan of a disposal at between 10-12 years, it may be a good idea to replace your disposal blade after a decade. 

8. Paint

While repainting after 10 years isn’t necessary, it can help give your home a fresh look. Most people don’t wait that long to repaint heavily trafficked rooms, so if it has been 10 years, it is probably time to add a new coat of paint.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 4, 2019

What You Shouldn’t Sweat When Finding a Home

If you’re on the home-buying journey for the first time, you may have the image of the perfect home in mind. Every wall a color you love, the best flooring, and the perfect backyard. While there’s a chance you may find your dream house, it is more likely that you’ll find that house with a few exceptions. So where should you draw the line? Are there things you should ignore if the price and location are right? The answer is yes! There are some things you can ignore while home shopping if it means checking the rest of your boxes. Here are some of the things you can overlook if you are considering making an offer on a home that has the perfect location or layout.

WEIRD CARPET/WALLPAPER
While it may be tempting to wait for a home with new carpet or freshly painted white walls, overlooking old carpet or vibrant wallpaper can help you get your otherwise dream-home. Replacing the carpet or painting the walls doesn’t have to be an expense for you, and it is something you can negotiate with the seller to get the best deal on your home. 

ROOMS BEING ‘MISUSED’

You may walk into a house and see workout equipment next to a fridge, or a bed in a living room. Don’t let a room being used for something seemingly odd keep you from loving a house. It may be hard to picture your furniture somewhere, but use your imagination and give the room, and house, a chance. An exercise room today can easily be your kitchen next week! 

SELLER PRESENCE

Some sellers choose to not remove personalized items before putting their house up for sale. It can be overwhelming to enter a home covered with photos of someone else’s family. While that may be the case, it is important to keep in mind that all of that personalization will be gone if you buy the home. Ignore what you can change, and just consider whether you can make the home your own.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Sept. 3, 2019

BACK-TO-SCHOOL HOME ORGANIZATION TIPS

After a few months of having your kids at home throughout the day, sometimes organization and order go out the window. On top of the other stresses that come with a new school year, a messy house adds just another kink in the transition from summer break to school time. Instead of trying to manage the chaos while school shopping and preparing for the new year, tackle these home organization steps now so that you can stress a little less when you drop them off on their first day back!


1. Clean out the fridge, clear it off, and restock!

Get your fridge ready for the new year. Instead of scrambling that first week back, clear out any expired foods now and get lunch supplies. Clear off all of the summer projects and invitations for events that have passed, and put any helpful information for the school year up on the fridge.

2. Inventory the kids’ closets.

Back-to-school shopping is often the best part of the process for your children. But before you head out, take an inventory of what they already have. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and see what they may need instead of guessing while you are out shopping. Once you’ve made room for new items, organize what is left so adding new clothes and finding that first day outfit will be a breeze.

3. Create your own mission control center.

Take advantage of that wall you’ve been struggling to decorate and create a mission control center for your family. Add a calendar, a folder for each child, notepads, writing tools, and anything else that will help keep your entire family on the same page.

4. Work on making a menu.

Even when lunches are handled, dinners can be overwhelming during the school year. Between sports, activities, and everything in between, sometimes making sure a well-rounded meal is on the table every night can be a headache. Create a menu and meal prep as much as possible every Sunday to save yourself the stress of meal planning every day.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Aug. 26, 2019

MAKE LAUNDRY DAY EASIER

 

Laundry doesn't exactly make the top of the list when it comes to enjoyable chores. Unfortunately, it is one of the chores that we can't really get rid of. Instead of dreading laundry day, try these tips to help you manage your load and make the most of your time. Before you know it, you may even look forward to laundry - or at least be able to enjoy the extra time you'll save!

1. Schedule Laundry-Type Days

Instead of saving one day to do all of your laundry, break up your laundry by type and assign a day to that type. You can have towels on Monday, bedding on Tuesday, and so on.

2. Learn to Multitask

Laundry can take up a great deal of unnecessary time if not done correctly. Rather than waiting for laundry to finish to do other tasks, use breaks between those other tasks to work on your laundry load. For example, once you’ve put dinner in the oven, start a new load. Once you’ve finished another task and a have a few free minutes, use that time to fold laundry. This way you are multitasking and using your time more efficiently. 

3. Carefully Pre-Sort Your Laundry

Pre-sorting your laundry will save you the time that is often wasted digging through your baskets to find what can be washed together. Be sure to carefully pre-sort, so you can avoid ruining any clothing.

4. Service Your Dryer

Cleaning out your lint trap after each cycle will not only reduce a fire risk, but it will also help your dryer run more efficiently. 

5. Avoid Machine Issues

Being proactive is much easier than dealing with the consequences of a dryer issue. Instead of having to worry about cleaning melted wax or pen stains out of your dryer, make it a routine to check pockets before every load. It is much easier to take an extra minute to double check than scrub out whatever may stain an entire load of laundry. 

6. Get Rid of Wrinkles

Instead of worrying about taking the time to steam your clothing, do so while they’re in the dryer. If you add a few ice cubes into a light load of clothing while your dryer is on the highest heat setting, the ice will melt and produce steam. 

7. Declutter Your Closet

While this may not be the first thing you think of when trying to make laundry day easier, decluttering your closet can make a huge difference in how much laundry you will actually need to do overall. Clothing we don't love tends to end up tossed on the floor and washed again and again without ever being worn out of the front door. Get rid of that extra clutter and make your load smaller!

Posted in Homeowner Tips