Category archive - Helpful Solutions

Garage Organized but Still Manly

Garage Organized but Still Manly

organized garage

Organizing a garage is a huge undertaking. Doing so though can help with all the daily and weekend choirs, helping to get them accomplished faster, allowing for more leisure time.

If you are like my household, the only time we somewhat organize the garage is when my husband gets the tractor ready for summer mowing, or in the fall when he gets it ready for winter plowing. This isn’t bad because we do edit a lot that we have been storing but we could be a little more organized through the rest of the year. This one room tends to be a big project, so schedule a weekend to do it.

It would be nice that it did not need to be a major undertaking every time. Here are some ideas (hint, hint hubby) that you can implement. 

Steps to Organizing:

Now is the time to get organized. First, remove everything out of the garage, once you have everything out it gives you a better idea of the available space. As you pull things out question everything that you touch….

Do I need it?

When was it last used?

If I have not used it, and don’t have a need for it, recycle, throw out, or donate.

While narrowing down some of the items, group together like items. All gardening equipment, sports equipment, tools, camping equipment, automotive items, you get the picture. Knowing what you have and are keeping, gives you a better idea as to space needed to store these items.

The items you do not use a frequently can be put higher up on the shelves or towards the back of the garage. storage binsUse as much vertical space as possible when bringing items back into the garage- shelving units or storage cabinets are great for fitting a lot into a garage space. Your goal is to keep as much of the floor space open for parking cars.  Any bins you fill with items label, so you know what goes in them. Get in a habit of putting things back where you originally got them from. Make it a yearly priority to organize the garage to help maintain.

Best of luck, send me pictures of your organized garage…I might have one when we finally decide to move (wink, wink)

Interesting Facts on 2018 Real Estate Trends

Interesting Facts on 2018 Real Estate Trends

Trends in real estate fluctuate due to various factors. Think back to 2009, there were more foreclosures in the USA then there were marriages! Now depending on the market you are in, your property might sell before it even hits the MLS, or it may still take up to 6 months to sell. Where ever you live, and whatever the trends are here are some interesting facts to consider.

Trends from 2017 that will continue into 2018

In 2017 thirty-three percent (33%) of people who purchased a home last year made an offer first without seeing it in person. This is according to Redfin. Home prices appreciated in most markets although mortgage rates rose slightly. The predicted rise varied from Redfin and Zillow but the good word is there was appreciation over the year prior. The supply of houses were tight, which helped reduce the average days on the market; although a buyer is still choosy.

With these current trends in real estate it proves that over 90% of buyers are looking online first before they even venture into a house. With the onset of 3D viewing online, the impact online marketing has on a property has helped selling a property even faster. The first impression made online, insures the property needs to stand out above the competition. If it does not present well, buyers will move on. How do you grasp the attention of today’s buyer with online marketing?

Staging; image is important to today’s buyers. Buyers want to see how they will live in the house. They are not interested in looking at a house that was like their “parents, or decorated like my parents’ house.” They want to see the house laid out as their own. A house that is staged first, will be perceived of value. Value not only based on price, but what creates the value including location, amenities, condition and styling of the house.

From The Next Web, George Beall states “the best agents differentiate themselves by specializing, and paying attention to the small nuances that most others leave out. The little things matter, whether you are selling a multi-million dollar mansion or small condo actually makes a big difference in how you want to present the home.”  According to NAR over 77% of buyers find it “easier to visualize a property as their future home if it is staged”

77% of buyers like staged homes

If you are planning on selling within the near feature due to the upturn in the market, consider paying attention to the small details. A little décor fact to go along with the real estate trends; Inman stated brass doorknobs disinfect themselves. Brass is one metal that is antimicrobial and kills bacteria! So change out your doorknobs to real brass, the details matter. A property needs to be perceived of high value; for a buyer to make a strong offer, whether they have only seen it online, or in person.

Other Good Reads:

The Advantages of Staging

Is Staging Worth the Cost When Selling?

Small Spaces, Tips to Make Them Work

Small Spaces, Tips to Make Them Work

Small spaces are a challenge. A client of mine had a living room space that was not working for them. There was too much furniture, the flow in the room did not work. I noticed that the architectural details of the room were lost. They need some help making the small room work for their life style.

Smaller rooms can work if you know what to do and pay attention to. Here are some suggestions that might help you if you are feeling a little cramped.

6 Suggestions to help improve small spaces

1.Go upward- by that I mean make the small space feel larger by bringing the eye up. Have you ever been in a house that has high ceilings, but you realize the room is very small? The height gives the illusion of a bigger space. Using the height of the room can make it appear larger eventhough the foot print is still small.

use upward space

2.Open up the floor– when purchasing items for the room like a couch or chairs; having the legs exposed gives the feeling of more space. Consider a shelf instead of a night stand in a bedroom, it will make the bedroom feel more spacious. Removing rugs in a small space to expose the hardwood is a great idea to do too.

3.Reflectionmirrors and glass help open up a space. A coffee table made of glass, or mirrors on the opposite wall of the windows makes the light reflect in a small space making it feel more spacious and open. In addition, use accessories that have the same effect– glass base lamps, mirrored accessories but don’t go overboard. Too much of a good thing is just that- too coffee table

4.Paint- Painting your ceiling the same hue as the walls can help make the space feel larger. It erases the visually defined space. When everything is the same color it is harder for the eye to tell the parameters of the room therefore appearing larger. Using color is such an important factor when decorating a small space. Not sure which is best? A professional color consultant will be able to help.

5.Let the light in – Let natural light pour through the windows in a small room, makes a room feel larger also. It’s good for the mind too.

getaway bedroom

6.Proportion – The items you use in a small space,(actually in any space), above all, need to be proportioned to the room size. I have seen too many houses that have either too much furniture in the space, or they have too large of furniture for the space. It’s like a large football player wearing a too small outfit- it does not work, or look good for that matter. Proportion is very important when picking out furnishings.


These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. I have other tricks up my sleeve and if you need some help planning you tiny area out, let me know!

Other good reads:

Piecing a Room Together That Works

Bring the Outdoors In

Furniture Placement In a Room

Furniture Placement In a Room

How and Where to Place Furniture

When you approach an empty room to decorate, the challenge can be trying to figure out how much furniture and where to place furniture. The first and most important thing before you go shopping is to take measurements so you know the size of a room.

Proportion and Size

I had a client recently that needed a new dining room table. The room was a long space that would serve as a living room/ dining room area. The first thing I recommended to them was to measure the space where they would like the table to go. They did not, bought a table that they “loved” the style but when placed in the space appeared to be the size of an elephant- a costly mistake. This not only applies to a dining room but any room. Make sure the furniture is in proportion to the size of the room not overwhelming the room.


Proportion of furniture is also very important for the space. If the room has tall ceilings, the size of the furniture is important. Taller chairs, and larger scaled pieces will balance the room. The type of furniture that you place in a room with 8 foot ceilings might look dwarfed in a room that has taller ceilings, consider proportion of the furniture within a room. Furniture that is too large will look out of proportion also if the room is smaller and with standard ceilings. Notice that although this room has a tall ceiling the placement of the bed does not work, making all the other furniture look like doll furniture in the bedroom.

scale of furniture to a room

If the furniture is sized properly for the space, the placement must also be balanced. Too many pieces of furniture placed on one side of a room can make it feel lop-sided.  Place a large couch for instance across from two chairs to balance the space. The layout of the room needs to be considered too. An open concept can be challenging because spaces need to be defined to make the space appear cozier.


Balanced furniture is more pleasing to the eye. It allows you to look from one area to the next without having something that is jarring in your mind. It can be a challenge for some though to envision an empty space. That is why there is help with decorators that enjoy those challenges to make everything fall into place.

Take a look around your home; can you move a few things to get your rooms’ just right?

 If you’re still stuck send me a picture, I will take a look and see what we can work out.

Other Great Reads:

5 Decorating Elements to Make a Room Look Fantastic

Update Your Room for FREE!

Rugs Create Ambiance In Your Rooms

Rugs Create Ambiance In Your Rooms

Rug trends are showing up now in subtle and bold patterns, colorful or muted shades. The looks allow a design to be eclectic, midcentury modern, bohemian, as well as formal to create the ambiance you are aiming for in a room. Doing a search on the internet will provide you with a plethora of options!

Rugs add warmth to a room aesthetically, and are a great foundation to any room. The pattern and colors create a mood and contribute in the design within the room.

geometric rug in living room

Geometrics are very versatile and depending on the color and boldness of the geometric they can range from a very traditional design to a more contemporary feel.

Oriental style rugs have been popular for a very long time, they were considered classic. But now to update a space, look towards the newer patterns to update you space. Consider the patterns that can be bold and elegant at the same time. Graphic rugs in two tones can be quite elegant. The “bohemian” style rugs allow you to create a traditional or eclectic room. Depending on the colors, and the intensity of them allows you to play with the looks to give you the style that complements your furniture.

Farrow and Ball is pairing up with The Rug Company to create handloom rugs that complements their color pallet. The uniqueness of this is that you can create a understated rug that is tailored to your own home. The advantage of this is that you received a custom rug fit to your existing furnishing. It allows you not to have to do a total restyling of a room.

When choosing a rug consider the size. Ensure that the rug is not too big for the room, but large enough to anchor the furnishing within the space. Here is an example for a living room area rug:

configurations of furniture placement on rugs

These examples show you how to place furniture so that it is anchored in the room. Depending on the size of the room will also dictate the size of a rug. Square and round dimensions are sometimes available to be considered to fit the size of your room better.

rug size for every sized room

A new area rug can transform a space easily, and the colors can then be used through other elements throughout the space to give a room a refreshed look.


Other Good Reads:

Piecing a Room Together That Works

5 Simple Ways to Cozy Up Your Home – Inexpensively

Dress Up Your Living Room

Dress Up Your Living Room

With the holidays here, lots of friends and family coming to visit, this is a great time to refresh your living room. Re-styling a living room does not have to be expensive, and by adding a few new elements to existing can create a whole new feeling.


Elements to Consider

Sometimes by just changing your layout you can create a totally different feeling throughout the room. Pairing down some furniture also will give a more elegant feeling. Consider the main focal point in the room, is it a fireplace, maybe a drop-dead view; arrange the furniture to highlight that focal point. No focal point? Maybe create one by wallpapering one feature wall with a great pattern. By arranging the furniture around the focal point or in a friendly conversation arrangement the room can have totally different feeling.

Need a little more than just rearranging and editing furniture? Start with the flooring, as you would first when designing a room. Finding a new rug can change the feeling completely and warm up the space. Consider the dimensions of the room first to ensure you select the right size. Too small and the area will not look anchored, too big you will not be able to show off your wood floors. Trending rugs popular today are with bold or understated geometric pattern, subtle washed out colors, or bohemian style rugs that are playful and romantic at the same time. Similar to Persian style rugs but less traditional.

Next consider texture in your room. Add plump pillows to complement the colors in your rug. Consider various fabrics throughout the room like velvet, wool, tweed, sheepskin. The accessories you add will also contribute to the texture in the room. Style your coffee table and end tables with vases, plants, books or unique objects that complement the look you are achieving. These items are similar to when you get dressed up for a party, you put on your outfit but then add the shoes, tie, jewelry to create a total look; a room is similar. Layer the glamour on, but do it subtly to maintain the elegance you are going for.

styled living room with lots of accessories

Look to the walls. The color in a room can impact the ambiance of the room. A good rule of thumb is to consider a color from an element within the room. Look at your fireplace surround and the stone. What undertone does it have, that could be your starting point, maybe your new rug is a good inspiration point to find a color or the fabulous colors in a printed pillow. Take those clues and base your color from those elements. Maybe you want to go dark rich and bold, keep a balance of neutral throughout the room.

warm color on walls gives the room a cosy feeling

Adding simple drapes can also dress up a room. Consider simple panels that reach the floor on beautiful rods. Hang them closer to the ceiling to give the windows an illusion of being large. Decorative panels will not cover the window when closed but to give a feeling of opulence, consider doing two panels on each side to create the fullness if you are purchasing pre-made panels.

Art and lighting are also additional elements that can add a lavish feeling to your room. The height and size of the lamp can complement the décor to create a renewed feeling. Art can refresh the feeling of a room. Consider moving art around from other rooms to create a gallery wall that can become a focal point that is showy. Transforming and updating your living room does not need to be expensive. With a little cleverness using what you own, or only updating a few pieces, you can create an elegant space to entertain guest!


Other Good Reads:

Designing By Numbers

5 Decorating Elements to Make a Room Look Fantastic

White | Always Fresh and Clean

White | Always Fresh and Clean

White in 2016 was picked as the “color of the year” by paint companies. Simply White was Benjamin Moore’s pick, and Alabaster was Sherwin Williams pick. Moving into 2018 they are still popular.  They are popular because they are fresh and clean looking. Currently white kitchen cabinets are renovators number one choice. Subway tile in classic white laid in various patterns for backsplashes and bathrooms continue to trend on Pinterest and Instagram. Can white be a hard color for the average home owner to carry off well in a decorated room?

kitchen done in simply white

Not all whites are the same. The key to white is to choose a white that goes with other element in the room. Some whites are warm, others have a cooler undertone. With popular gray, the cooler whites were a nice complement. Now surfacing are greige tones that are bridging gray and the once popular beige, a warmer white would complement those. A few years back beige was the neutral that everyone was flocking to. Using white to complement either neutral is exquisite, but choosing the right undertone is key.

room done in alabaster white tone on tone

When using white as the main color on the walls, consider bringing in lots of texture. Texture can be from your accessories; think pillows, throws, baskets and rugs, keeping the palette neutral with a monochromatic feel with make for a stunning room. White is also beautiful with pops of bold color. Using colors from a rug, fabric, or painting and repeating throughout the room ties everything together. Using one of those bright colors in a softer tone can create a nice flow between rooms without having everything feel too stark and white.

White and light are an attraction that many buyers appreciate. Studies have proven that light rooms help fight depression and anxiety. A lighter room also has proven to increase productivity. White creates a feeling of spaciousness, but can be considered cold; that is why it is important to add texture to a room to give it a cozier feeling.

white bedroom with fireplace

Not big on the white wall idea; consider using white accessories. A darker room with a pop of white accessories is striking. Using these to balance the darkness in a room is a refreshing contrast. Again you can use these to add texture also to a room which gives it interest.

dark room with a pop of white accessories

Other Good Reads:

Can the Colors of Your House Affect Your Mood?

Best Room Colors to Sell Your House

“The Voice” to Staging a Home | An Analogy

“The Voice” to Staging a Home | An Analogy

Is there an analogy between “The Voice” and Staging a home? Hear me out.

“The Voice”, if you are not familiar, is a reality competition show where vocalists compete for the top spot as a professional performer. They are singing against other equally talented singers.  These performers prepare extensively to achieve the coveted spot, luckily for them they receive coaching from superstar singers. Even if they do not accomplish gaining the top spot they are recognized for their talent.  Selling a home is not a reality show, but staging a home prior to putting it on the market with a professional home stager prepares the house to go on stage. The coaching and execution of staging gives the house a strong edge, to stand out as the best house the market.

Analogy between The Voice and Staging a house

Think of listing a house for market on the MLS; there are a lot for buyers looking at it along with every other house. A buyer will review pictures of listings at lightning speed; 6 seconds or less, until they see something that attracts them or draws them in.

What is it that will make a house stand out? What will make a buyer stop, look, and consider one house over another? The presentation; which is where staging comes in. A buyer wants to see value, they want to see a house in good repair, not something that needs paint, repairs, fixing up. Would the judges on “The Voice” select a singer that’s voice was out of tune? Probably not, they are selecting along with America the best voice.

When it is time to put your house on the market, how will you make your house stand out, and resound? Professional pictures are not enough. Taking the extra step to ensure everything is in good repair, rooms are merchandised properly, and the value/quality revealed, this is what peaks a buyers interest. Professional staging helps a house become noticeable over the competition. Careful consideration is made to make the house appealing to the market it is selling in. It is merchandised, perfecting the house to be desirable to buyers. This essential step is necessary to get a buyer to stop, look, and take the next step which is see the house.

before staging and after staging

Be on the top, above all the others, by using a professional stager. They will give you the edge to stand out in the sea of houses. One that buyers feel is of value, wanting to give a strong offer for.

Other Good Reads:

The Advantages of Staging

What, Why, When | Home Staging

Benefits of Staging Your Property

Decorating for The Fall Season

Decorating for The Fall Season

Halloween; merchadise sales are second to Christmas. Who doesn’t love to decorate for the holidays?!

How can you get a longer run out of decorating for holidays? Decorate for the season, and add a couple of pieces in for the holiday that will create a festive felling.

Fall it’s a great time to bring the outdoors into your decor with gourds, pumpkins, leaves and other elements that create the festive feeling. These elements are sustainable through Thanksgiving, so you can gain longivity from these simple arrangements.

I pulled together some images that are also on my Pinterest board to give you some inspiration. It amazes me the talent that people have to create simple but unique arrangements. You do not have to be a master in flower arranging, but have a good eye and ablity to create similar fall arrangements using the elements here. Use these ideas on entrance tables, coffee tables, counter tops, table tops; your imagination is your limit! Enjoy decorating!

Orange pumpkins, flowers and berries

fall decor orange floweres and berries

The color of the flowers and adding small gourds are beautiful. Doing multiple vases along a table would be stunning!

sunflowers and berriesgourds and berries on a tray

Simple gourd and berry motif for an autumn table

orange roses and birch bark vases

Love the color of the roses with these natural vases

White Gourds

white gourds on wood tray

white pumpkin fall center pieceThe use of grasses and dry flowers in the gourd make for such a beautiful fall arrangement.

white gourds and succulants

This one I can even see working into the winter months.

Grasses and feathers

feathers in a white vase


Need more inspiration visit my Pinterst board


Other great reads:

Fall Tabletop Decorations

How to Sell Quickly

How to Sell Quickly

How to sell quickly! Here is a great example of how to sell qucikly. This house that sat on the market for six months with no offers, the seller was ready for a new strategy.

Why does one house sell and the other will sit on the market for months?

Case Study:

The house had been on the market for six months. The price was reasonable in the market, but the refinement through the house was not completely there. The seller wanted it sold; but wasn’t receiving honest feed back as to why it was not selling.

The house came off the market, then was relisted with a new agent. This agent includes a professional staging consult for their listings. The agent knows that if the presentation is not where it needs to be, the money invested in pictures is worthless. The seller saw the difference that staging could make when we reviewed my portfolio of occupied staged homes. She said “I want my house to look like that!” So we got to work.

Yes she had a list of objectives that she needed to complete before Design Solutions KGP was to “work our magic.” She set a budget that she wanted to stay within, we discussed which items she had that we would use in the staging, and then the “magic” happened.

Here are some of the before and after’s of the house that lead to an offer allowing it to sell qucikly within 10 days of listing.

Living Room

living room before staging

living room staged to attract buyers in Orange County NY

To give it the feeling of entertaining we added accessories and furniture that complemented her entertaining unit that was staying in the house.


Family Room off kitchen

family room before it was staged

family room staged

This great room with a fireplace needed to show off it’s cozier side. We showcased it to allow buyers to envision how to relax in the house.


Master bedroom

before staging the master

staged master bedroom

The furniture, out of proportion to the space available, need to be downsized a bit. By putting in a bed and dresser better suited for the space, buyers were able to dream about the potential of this master suite. If you would like to see more pictures of this beautifully staged house, follow me on instagram @kgpdesignsolutions.

The seller invested about 2% of the listing price of the home in showcasing it to sell. She also saved herself from paying another 6 months of carrying cost (mortgage, taxes, electric, heat, etc) because the house sold in 10 days and received a strong offer.

Sometimes you need to spend money to make money…

Other Good Reads:

Photography and Staging | The Listing

Stage or Not to Stage

5 Reasons to Stage Your Home