General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Picture Perfect Home

Right now, the housing market is a tough competition. People naturally wants to buy houses that meets their needs and budget, and either meets or exceeds their expectation. Buyers have lots of options to choose from, and they want to be able to see a lot of choices from the comfort of their own home. This is where technology comes into play, and if you want to be able to catch people’s attention in your listings, here are some tips that you can do to make your house the desire of everybody.

  1. SHOW THE INTERESTING FEATURES OF YOUR HOME – you think those brick walls are the star, or maybe those exposed beams, or the big decorative pillars, or skylights? Show it. If your space have it, then flaunt it. You’ll never know if this is what someone’s specifically looking for in their new home.
  1. FOCAL POINT – think your room looks boring and too neutral? Create a focal point by adding pops of color, you can do it by adding colors on the accessories like pillows, paintings, or even blinds.
  1. KEEP IT NATURAL – Use the natural light to your advantage. Take pictures when the sun is high and all the lights are flooding into your home. A well lighted room makes it look more open.
  1. USE FURNITURES WISELY – Use the appropriate size according to the space you need to fill. Big furnitures in a small room will make it look even more cramped. With big rooms, you can use furnitures to create new spaces. A fully furnished, well thought of, room can make your home look more cozy and homey.
  1. ACCESSORIES AND DIMENSIONS – Light paint colors make the room look bigger, mirrors give additional dimension and can reflect other areas of the house that are not in the picture, rugs can make the room look smaller because it creates the illusion that breaks the floor area.

You can attract people with pictures but keeping it clean and very welcoming will make them want to live there.

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Touching Back on Navy Blue

We spoke about Navy Blue being the new black last week briefly, but we wanted to touch back a bit more on this happening color. Not only is navy blue popping in up in all the clothing stores around this time of year, but it is starting to show up in home décor and design shops as well! While the initial thought may be that navy is too bold for your home, chances are you are overlooking some fun and easy ways to introduce navy into the home. We’ve put a together a list of ways to introduce this hue into your home as well!

  • Navy curtains. Curtains are a fantastic way to bring color into any space, because you are instantly adding a pop to the windows, and as the light shines through the fabric adding a hint of that color throughout the whole space! Navy curtains are available in a variety of fabrics, some heavier some lighter (chose depending on the space), some plain some patterned (again keep in mind the space – the color alone will make a statement).
  • Switching out your neutral colored bedding can quickly make a statement to your bedroom – and transform it into a nautical retreat!
  • An accent chair or end table. Adding a pop of color to your living room tends to be an easy upgrade, as most of us tend to stay with a neutral color palette in this space. Adding the bold color of navy to either an accent chair or end table will quickly make a statement in the space.
  • Add artwork. Artwork generally dresses up any space it is put into – but this season shy away from the neutral canvases and introduce a bold piece with a navy background or design that will make any mundane room look more modern.
  • Get out your paintbrush. This one is a little more of a stretch, but any wood furniture is instantly brought back to life with a fresh coat of navy paint – from your kitchen cabinets, to your bathroom vanity, even your boring wooden headboard. This tends to be a slightly more permanent statement – so make sure you’ll love it before you get to work!

Keep in mind, navy is bold – for the same reason you may accessorize with a scarf, or patterned shirt – but are unlikely to leave the house in head to toe navy – keep the color to an accent in your home as well!

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Green Living

There is no escaping it; GOING GREEN is all the rage now-a-days – and for good reason too! Everyone wants to have a part in saving the planet, but you don’t think about the easy ways to incorporate that into your home decor as well. We have put together some great ideas from paints, to art work to window coverings that will help you create a “green home” through your decor.

Now, we have touched on window coverings a lot in past blogs but not so much the green aspect of them. There are TONS of options to have green window coverings throughout your home, even if you wanted something different for each room! First we have the natural choice (no pun intended) of Natural Woven Wood shades. These shades are made up of natural grasses, bamboo and fibers to create beautiful window coverings that both bring a bold statement to a room and are a perfect way to create a “green” living space. The best part about these is the options; you can have them plain so they are see through, have a light filtering liner put onto them for a little more privacy, or even a blackout liner for complete darkness incase you wanted to use them in a bedroom.

Another great option for window coverings are Cellular Shades. These shades are also known as “Honeycomb shades” due to the shade itself looking like a honeycomb when you view it from the side. These honeycombs, or “cells”, create air pockets which help to insulate; keeping cold air out and warm air in or vice versa depending on the season. You can typically find them in a variety of colors and a ton of neutral colors as well. Personally, i think they pair very nicely with paneled drapes on either side – in which you can also find “green” fabrics that are made from natural fibers and recycled materials as well!

Let’s move onto paint. “Paint isn’t “green”.” you say? On the contrary, perhaps you’re not looking for the right paint. They now make paints that are Eco-Friendly! These paints are typically made with low VOCs, low biocides and natural pigments. To get a truely “green” paint you need to get paint that has VOC levels between 0-100gm/l. The coolest thing is that they make milk paint and natural paints which use, you guessed it, milk protein, citrus, minerals and lime.

Finally we touch on the part of most rooms that really give the meaning of decor; the artwork. Every home has artwork, whether it’s an old vase your Grandmother passed down to you, your child’s macaroni artwork from school or a $10,000 painting over the mantel piece. Art is a loose term that is covered over many fields, therefore this makes it easy to incorporate “green” art into your home! Many retailers now sell recyclable products such as bins, frames and vases which make it easy for you to decorate your home. You can also check out Pinterest or other online DIY sites to see millions of ideas to create your own artwork from recycled items found in your very own home as well!

The sky is the limit with your green living, now go out there and save your plant one room at a time!

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Home Decor: Repurposing

Home Décor: Repurposing

A lot of the projects and DIY ideas that you come across online can seem overwhelming to the average – not so artistic – person. But, the trending style is restoring the old and making it new – so we’ve compiled a list of a few simple concepts that can make a big statement in your home décor.

  • Repurposing windows. For starters, old windows are easy to find at yard sales if you don’t have any extras lying around in your basement – and they can be repurposed in a ton of ways! Once you have acquired a window, refinish the frame in a paint/stain to match your décor – and then your options are endless. You can use it as a frame for pictures or artwork, add a monogram to welcome guests into your home, add a small shelf to the top and hooks on the sides to create a coat rack, or even hang small plants from the top to create an indoor garden. Once you have the window and have refinished it, it’s usually easy to determine the best use based on the size and shape!
  • Repurposing shutters. Also, extremely easy to acquire, and refinish, shutters are a great option for accenting your décor. Again, decide based on the shape and size, but shutters can be made into shelves (think plants or other trinkets), dressed up with lettering to add an accent to your foyer or kitchen, turned into pantry shelves, or even made into a bench.
  • Repurposing doors. Repurposing old doors opens a wide variety of options. Finished with a fresh coat of paint, and rotated 90 degrees you quickly have new, trendy headboard. Adding a mirror to the front of an old door dresses up an inexpensive mirror to appear high end. Again, adding hooks across and a shelf on the top or bottom can add a feature to your mudroom as well as some great storage space.
  • Repurposing wine bottles. Something that most of us have in supply, wine bottles are a more traditional, and extremely easy project. They can be repainted to match any décor, and used for something as simple as a vase, a decorative olive oil canister, a functional soap dispenser, or even a fun light fixture.

Like any DIY project, know your time frame, construction abilities, and artistic talent. But with enough planning, research, and sweat, any project is within your reach!

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DIY Inspiration Tips and Advice

Updating the Old Wood

A lot of houses were traditionally made with wooden trim and baseboards. While the craftsmanship shows, and the bold colors of the wood certainly make a statement, unfortunately stained trim has become a style that ages your homes appearance. Also, unfortunate, is how difficult it can be to just cover it up with a coat of white paint. Learning from personal experiences, and a lot of trial and error, we have come up with a list of instructions, suggestions, and ideas to help you (and let you learn from our mistakes).

For starters, as previously mentioned, do not just start to paint with white paint and expect high quality results. While it sounds good in theory, the reality is that it just won’t work – there will be streaks, bumps, and a lot of imperfections. Step one must be breaking out the sand paper. Depending on how much trim you have, we suggest the foam sanding cubes, or even a power sander with a light grit paper. At this point, you’ll have to feel out your own situation – how many layers of stain or clear coat were used over the years – and judge how many times you will have to sand. You will probably not get all the color out of the wood, and that’s okay, but try to get down to a surface that will allow the wood to take on new layers of paint.

Once everything is sanded, then it is time for the priming. This is the place you want to invest your money. The higher quality the primer, the better the final project will look – look for primers specifically for hard to cover surfaces. Apply three layers of primer. While it may seem unnecessary, it is important! By the time you get to your final coat of white paint, you want to make sure the surface is covered, clean, and smooth, and the multiple layers of primer will help you to get there.

Finally, time for the white paint. You want to choose a glossy or semi-gloss finish for the trim paint. Not only will it help to hide any imperfections when the paint has a bit of a shine to it, but it is also much easier to maintain trim that has some glossiness – and being that you are going with white – you need easy to clean!

In most cases, if you follow these directions step by step, you will come out with a refreshed, bright, and updated space. This is one case where cutting corners will definitely lead to more work in the long run – but remember it will be worth it when you’re done!!

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Accent Walls

Accent walls are typically defined as a wall whose design differs from the design of other walls in the room. These types of walls can work in many types of spaces; whether small or large! Accent walls can be done in many different ways and can be used to add a little color or even some bold textures. Right now, some of the most popular ways to add texture to a space is by adding it to your walls.

Shiplap is a very trendy and easy to install texture to a wall. Shiplap is reclaimed wood and you can easily mount it to a wall via liquid nail or traditional nails. One of the coolest parts of this unique process is the different lengths of wood you can use. This brings a whole different dimension to the wall and breaks off the uniformity that you normally see in flooring. Tile is another way that you can incorporate texture to a wall. Many people are going back to patterned mosaics or even just decorative tiles to give a space a more organic feel.

Now, while you may think that wallpaper is only a decorating tool you would see in your grandmother’s house, it has actually come a long way and made a huge resurgence.  We aren’t talking about the traditional flora patterns; although manufacturers do make updated patterns of those if that is your thing as well! New wallpaper has bold patterns and colors to really bring notice to a room or wall. These particular bright and bold wallpapers have been showing up in more powder rooms and bedrooms as of late.

Lastly, we’d like to touch on painting a wall. This can be used to tie undertones in the rest of your room together. For instance, say you are using shades of navy in your throw pillows, rug and window treatments; paint a wall that color as well and it will really solidify the theme of the room and make those items pop! Our guess is this year you will walk into at least one room or see it in a magazine with a large Ultra Violet wall that anchors the rest of the décor together!

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Ultra Violet

Every year, Pantone picks a new color of the year and you will see it blended into fashion and décor without ever knowing. This year’s color Ultra Violet is a bold shade of purple described by them as, “Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” This color will be a perfect color to add a bit of drama and flare in different rooms.

Last year’s color Greenery was used in situations such as a bold, solid fabric for a couch or even in dramatic roman shades. We believe that this year’s color will be a great color to add a splash of in any room and can be used in many different ways to bring out its full potential. Let us know if you think of any others that we missed.

Centerpiece: a centerpiece on a table could benefit greatly from have an deep rich color of Ultra Violet, an easy way to add this would be with an Orchid or large bouquet arrangement highlighting this magnificent hue.

Wall:  talk about an accent wall! If you just love the color and want to make a statement in any room whether its a living room or bathroom, Ultra Violet could make an impact statement by painting one full wall and drawing attention to it when you walk in.

Pillows: Furniture lasts a long time so if you want to dial it back a bit you may consider using a mix of throw pillows in order to add Ultra Violet along with other complimentary colors into a rooms décor.

Window Treatments: Ultra Violet is a great color to add originality to a room and what better way to do that then splashing it in a pattern for your shades roman or roller and even drape or curtains. This would add a little accent in order to pull a whole room together and completing a theme.

Flowers: Like we mentioned earlier, most Orchids tend to have a shade of Ultra Violet but plenty of other flowers can be used in your décor to add a splash of color and it’s always nice to add some organic decor into a space.

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DIY General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Updating with Whitewash

Depending on your home, the look of brick could either make or break the décor of a room. Brick is something there is a lot of generally as well since it is often put into a room as an accent piece to begin with. Unfortunately, to remove/replace brick is a huge undertaking. Not only is it messy, its expensive, and very time consuming. Luckily, there is a great solution that is both simple and inexpensive!

White washing brick is actually quite simple. The best part is that this is something you can do yourself too, so you have control over how dark/light you leave the brick. To begin you need white (water based paint), water, a bucket, a paint brush (any old leftover brush will work), and a bunch of rags. Mix together half paint/half water, and start painting. Keep the rags handy because you don’t want to run into having streaks, so make sure you are wiping them up as you go. Some brick is more absorbent than others, so this will help you to determine how many coats to put on. Resist the urge to make the mixture thicker, because then you will lose the effect of the white wash, and just have solid painted brick. The first couple of layers you may not even see much of a difference – so keep going until you have reached a brightness you like. Most brick takes at least four coats to achieve the perfect white wash look, but again your own preference may be more or less.

As décor styles have changed and evolved (as most of us try to get away from red brick), so has the process of white washing. People have begun to use the same technique with more bold colors – grey, black, even blues. Do whatever fits in the room, remember this is a great accent to your room! Happy painting!!

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Exterior Paint Colors

We all know that choosing a color to paint your living room is a hard enough, but when it comes to choosing a new color for the exterior of your house – the decision can be downright overwhelming. If you are looking for a change from what you currently have the options are endless – so where to begin??

First of all, decide what is going to stay a particular color. For example, if you have brick or stone on the exterior of your house, chances are that is going to stay. If your front door is a color you love, plan on keeping it that color. If you have a white porch, and want to keep that white, keep that in your plan. Once you have these colors in your list, you have a starting point. You will want to consider all your paint options with these elements (orange with brick might not be great, for example). Then, it’s time to decide on a trim color. If you are content with the color you have, then perfect! If not, consider what other colors you might like. The trim is an important feature because there will be a lot of it, and it will define the look of the house. Often the gutters, trim, garage doors, and porch are all painted in the same color as the trim, so it’s important to keep in mind there will be a lot of it.

Once you’ve determined those two pieces, then it’s time to narrow it down to some overall house color options. Are you set on keeping it a more neutral tone – beiges, grays, or browns? Or are you looking for more of an attention-grabber; reds, yellows, or blues? If you narrow it down to a general color family, grab some paint swatches and bring them home. Be sure to compare and contrast with your trim colors as well to ensure a nice overall flow. When you narrow it down even more it is highly recommended to buy some small paint samples and paint squares on the side of house itself to compare the colors. It is really important to see them at all times of the day to make sure it’s a color you love around the clock.

Keep in mind that it’s a huge change – it may take getting used to it too. When repainting an exterior, you’re literally changing the entire look of the home, so if your initial reaction isn’t love when you first finish, give it a week, and chances are you will grow to like it. Happy painting!!

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General Tips and Advice

Jumpstart Holiday Decorating

It’s October, and before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. Now is the time to get your home ready; especially if entertaining is in your future. It is best to prepare ahead and not wait to do things last minute. The holidays should be enjoyable, not feel like drudgery. By putting the work in ahead of time, you can savor the beautiful home you have created and enjoy the festive holiday season.

These are the steps I take to jumpstart my holiday decorating:

Clear out and throw out. That means everything from closets to drawers. Pull everything out of each space and get rid of all the clutter. Make designated piles along the way while emptying too to help keep your stuff organized. (i.e. Keep Pile, Donate Pile, Trash Pile, etc)

Assess and Make a List. This is where you go from room to room, check out the condition of each room and its contents. Does paint need to be touched up? Holes need to be spackled?  Pillows restitched? It’s your time to take note of those “small things” that build up over the months or even years that you maybe keep putting off.

Prioritize. It would be great if we could completely redecorate or tackle everything on our “to do” lists, but life gets in the way and sometimes that just isn’t possible. This is where prioritizing and budget becomes key. If your sofa is looking worn but a new one isn’t in the cards right now, buy a decorative throw or maybe some throw pillows to add some new life to it.

Hopefully these tips will help you to prep for the busy holiday season that is quickly approaching! but in the mean time, enjoy the Fall!

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