Category archive - Helpful Solutions

Take Your House Out of Hibernation

Take Your House Out of Hibernation

Spring is a great time to consider ways to take your house out of hibernation. Here are four easy, inexpensive easy ways to give you a fresh new look.

Start at the Entrancepainting can greatly improve the look of your house

Your front door is not only the ‘mouth’ of your house, but also the first impression to visitors. Consider the condition of the door and possibly the color. A new color can completely change the look of your house giving it a fresh new look. Consider a new set of lights, or clean the glass on your lights. New door mat, maybe a pretty container of flowers.

Make it Brightbrighten up your decor

Maybe remove some of the warmer colors you used in your décor and add lighter shades, and brighter shades to give more life to your room. If you look at a color wheel and choose a color opposite the primary color you have in the room. If you have a blue room consider adding yellow to give you a new look and a little warmth. Just be careful of the saturation of the colors you are choosing to complement each other. Add lights and fresh flowers too.

Clean the Cobwebsclean everything so the light can brigten spaces

This may be obvious to some, but opening the shades, dusting them off, removing cobwebs, dust from all surfaces will make a room feel good and refreshed and in your mind it will also. That cleaning will make the rooms resonate fresher.

Use your Sense of Smell

Not only clean the windows, open them and let the fresh air flow throughout the house. Consider adding scented potted geraniums or a vase of eucalyptus in your house to give it a fresh smell. House plants are great air purifiers and add to the décor of any room. Don’t have a green thumb? Consider easy to care for plants that require little care.

Other Great Reads:

Hand-Me -Down / Inherited Furniture- What To Do??

10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase Your Curb Appeal

Designing Rooms that People and Pets Love


2017 Home Trends

2017 Home Trends

Trends. What’s going to be popular, or showing up as popular as decorating trends? After attending the NY Now –which features vendors, and Architectural Digest 2017 featuring everything for the home and highlighted artists, there were reoccurring trends that should be noticed.

For 2017 the soft gold tone continues to still popular and showing up in furniture, lighting, and finishes for the house. It is not the brass of the 80’s but a softer look which is warmer. This trend I think will continue because the gray tones are starting to subside, while the taupe colors are becoming more popular, and will continue to trend.

soft gold knobs, soft gold fixtures are trending

Back to nature, things made of wood, live edge furniture, wall gardens and plants all very popular. I have noticed these for a few years and due to their organic nature, they will probably continue trending for a few years. I see this because people are looking for healthy ways to live, more in-tune to their environment. Being connect with the environment they will include these elements in their homes.

feather fabric nature related

Speaking of the nature trends, animals are a big influence with decorative items. Hides, horns and lambskin are big in accessories for the home. This fabric from Coral and Tusk of embroidered feathers would be a beautiful addition to a room. If you want to update a room add a hide pillow or fur pillow into the mix. This trend is whimsical as well as luxurious to the eye.

Both the natural elements and animal influence relate to the bohemian trend that is popular in design. Although I relay it to the 1960’s hippy days of growing up, LOL, it has a fresh flair to it. A little more organic a little less quirky.

boheimian trend in decor for living

Casa Cook Hotel

Deep rich colors are also trending. Think of deep navy, rich emerald green in couches, walls, cabinetry as well as accent pieces like pillows and art are showing up repeatedly. The deep colors are a switch from the dark grays, a little less moody possibly a more optimistic feeling. Bolder colors will be seen in the coming years for home décor but of course mixed with neutrals or softer shades to balance the entire look.

If the last time you decorated your rooms was when you moved in five or more years ago, now is the time to consider something new and fresh to update your spaces!

Some other good reads

Fad verse Trend | What’s the Difference

According to “Pinterest” 2017 Trends


How to Avoid Bad Room Colors When Selling

How to Avoid Bad Room Colors When Selling

When you are selling, the colors on your walls can affect buyer’s. Either buyer’s react by falling in love, or pass up a house based on the wall colors. Yup, bad colors matter. The colors on your walls need consideration when preparing your house to sell. You may not like a more neutral color, but you’re moving, so having freshly painted neutral walls is the biggest bang for your buck because they will leave a more positive impression than crazy colors or worn walls.

Bad Colors

What are the bad colors to have when selling, and what is the best way to prepare your house with color when you put it on the market?

There are bad colors when selling due to multiple reasons. One of the primary reasons are because colors are so very taste specific. While you may be in love with your red dining room, the next person coming into your house might abhor red. When you are selling your house you want to protect your equity. You want to make sure there is not a single reason a buyer would turn away from your house. If you knew it would only cost you the price of a can of paint versus a price reduction in the thousands wouldn’t you opt for the can of paint?Before and After Painting of bad and good colors for selling

What colors are bad when selling besides red? Orange, purple, some yellows and other bold colors. Why? Aside from being taste specific, buyers will find those colored rooms difficult to envision themselves living in them. Many sellers will tell me that’s crazy, a buyer should look over that! A buyer won’t look over the color, they will just move onto the next house. The buyer attention will be focused on the color, not on the size of the room or the attributes of the room. Yes, a professional stager can do wonders to a room when sellers refuse to paint, but once the staging is removed, it is a room with an objectionable color.

Colors that Sell a House

Neutrals are preferred colors when you sell because they highlight the room. Ensure the undertone of the color complements the hard finishes of a room. You could have a beautiful gray color but if the undertones are not complementing the other finishes in a room, it will look off, an off colored room is off-putting.

Color can be used when selling a house, but use it to complement and assist the flow of rooms from one to another. Using color more as an accent, is a better choice then as the primary focus. Buyers are more drawn to a houses features when the colors are neutral, then they will be to someone’s décor. If the two complement one another, not over power, then you have a winning combination.

If you are not sure how to put this all together, or how to find the perfect color for rooms, it is a wise investment to have a professional stager trained in color to come in and review your house prior to selling. A professional stager has an unbiased eye that will help you create your house into one buyers are dreaming of living in.

Other good reads:

Eight Big Selling Offenders

Impressionable Colors for Selling

5 Senses of Selling


Home Organization and Decorating Go Hand in Hand

Home Organization and Decorating Go Hand in Hand

Home organization is a crucial element in decorating

If you have organization within your room, it will keep you design looking fresh long after you finished the last touches. Why? Because it will reduce the visual clutter and you can then focus on the design.

I know you think decorating = painting, new rug and new furniture. When considering a decorating plan, one of the first things that needs to be envisioned is how the space will be used and lived in.  One element of design is form and function and how they blend together. The right balance will give a calming feeling when using the room. It is important to do your basic work up front too before you begin. Do your measurements, create a vision board. The room not only has to be pleasing to the eye, but how the space will be used, allowing you simple solutions for storage. Consider the style of your home and look for storage solutions that complement that style along with the décor.

staged living room with shelves for storage and storage cabinets

Storage Solutions

When you have the proper storage solutions it will give your room a more polished look. If you love that polished look you need to have a place to put your things. You know ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’ Having that will also probably help you with any extra clutter. If you don’t have room for it; guess what? It’s time to de-clutter and remove some of the things you don’t use any more.

If you do not have the space, consider built-in shelves going upward, this is always an easy solution for small spaces. Consider creating a space with shelves and drawers possibly in an awkward spot like a corner in a room to store some of your things. Having proper organization throughout your house will help with the resale of your house, but also help you now living in the spaces. I recommend baskets a lot to keep similar lose objects together. They make the shelves/rooms appear neater. Keeping things organized also helps reduce some of the stress that goes along with clutter and mess. It is a lot more calming to enter a room that is organized than one that is in complete chaos.

So when you are considering revamping a room and giving it fresh new look, also keep in mind organization solutions so that you can maintain the beauty of your new room for years to come.

Other good reads:

Piecing a Room Together

10 Ideas to Give your House Love

Chi The Energy in Your House


Fad verse Trend | What’s the Difference

Fad verse Trend | What’s the Difference

People confuse fad with trend when talking about fashion or decorating. What is the difference between a fad and a trend? Typically you want to seriously consider decorating a room with a fad. Changing a rooms decor to keep up with fads can be expensive, that is why it is better to look at trends instead.

Fad Verses Trend

Fad according by definition is “something that becomes very popular in a short amount of time, and then is forgotten about at the same speed.” Some fads you may recall are big floral wall paper, wall to wall mirrors, dried arrangements on walls, and carpet in the bathroom. They were popular at one time but when you look back you say “how could we ever think that was nice?!” Probably because at the time it filled an emotional need that made you feel that it was nice, and a good look. Although fads come and go they can still have a place in your decor though.

fad of the times

Then there are trends, a trend is typically based on a lifestyle change, it will be “something that will last for a longer time.” Values and attitude toward the trend are different; they have longevity and are considered timeless. Think of white bath fixtures, neutral color walls, hardwood floors all of these elements in design are and will remain timeless.

trending finishes make this bath timeless

How do you decorate incorporating trends with a little fashion fad and pull it off to look great? There is a balance that comes with a good design. Because home decor can be an expensive, the waves of trends and fads do not move as quickly as in the fashion world. To keep a beat on what works and what does not, it helps to keep in mind that if you are completely renovating a space it is always smarter to go with a tried and true trend for the key elements of the room such as flooring, bath fixtures, appliances and be a little more daring with light fixtures, wall color and accessories since these items are not as costly and can be changed more readily. This is where the balance comes into play to create a great design.

Every year there are trends that designers watch for, these can translate to those tried and true items that have staying power, other trends may not, but those are the elements that can be added as changeable with the times. One thing to keep in mind though, take a good objective look at your home about every five years to see whether the items in your home are what you see in stores, design magazines, TV or TV shows are a few suggestions to keep up with what is current. Changing your paint color, the Tiffany light fixture in the kitchen that use to be popular in the 80’s, or that floral wall paper border might seem quite daring to you but give it a try. The small changes can make a huge impact.  It’s time to move from that fad to a new one that will create more of an “in” look.


Selling Your Kitchen

Selling Your Kitchen

For buyers, kitchens are extremely important and weigh more heavily on the final decision than the other rooms in the house. To ensure your kitchen astounds buyers, prepare your kitchen before selling.

  • Begin by cleaning every single surface- ceiling counters, cabinets, counter tops, walls and floors.
  • Organize your cabinets – you will be thankful you did this when moving day comes. Any outdated foods through out. Group like things together. Edit extra mugs, glasses, pots, utensils etc. Clean out the drawers and shelves and replace shelf paper.
  • Matching appliances is a huge plus, if they are not new, or only one is new, consider replacing the others so they are all the same finish. Make sure the surface of all appliances are clean and spotless.
  • Clean the appliances inside and out, clean stove each and every grill, clean fridge out, and wash the surfaces so they are sparkling clean, and fresh – no old food odors here.
  • Buyers will look inside your dishwasher, make sure there are no funky smells. Yes although we use our dishwasher to clean everything it needs to be cleaned too. Clean your filter first – soak it in warm soapy water to remove all residue on it.  Then run 1 cup of white vinegar through your empty dishwasher on the heavy cycle. Sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher overnight, then run it through again empty.
  • Your sinks are similar to your dishwasher they need to be clean and free of everything. If your faucet leaks or looks worse for the wear, replace it. Using baking soda and vinegar in the drains to deodorize and clean.
  • If you have wall paper – remove and paint. If you have paint and have not painted in the past year, freshen up the walls with a new coat of paint.
  • Lastly add the finishing touches of décor; keep it simple but make it feel like home. Touches that speak home resonate with buyers.

Extra hints:

  • Remove trash prior to showings and make sure your garbage can is not highly visible, try and tuck under a cabinet if possible.
  • If you have pets, have a plan when you show your house where you will be putting all the pet “equipment” not every buyer likes pets.
  • Kids? Yup same idea, have a plan as to where you will be stashing the papers, toys etc. so that the clutter is not visible when showing.

Other good reads:

Paint Terms – What They Mean

Key Kitchen Improvements That Will Reap You Profit

The Hub of The House | The Kitchen


Lighting a Room in Layers

Lighting a Room in Layers

Lighting in a room can not only illuminate it but the fixture itself can pull the room together, allowing it to be a statement. Lighting can be tough though, because to find the right fixture is not necessarily an easy task. I help many people with their décor needs, and the light in the room is one more element that has to have serious consideration.

When I help clients, I look at their lighting fixtures. Why does it matter? Lighting is like a hair or clothing style, it can really date a room. A new light fixture in a room can transform it from ahh, to OOOH! When you are selling, lighting, if it looks like it from an era long ago gives the impression that probably nothing else in the house has been taken care of or replaced when needed.

Having the proper illumination is also important. You not only need a light for the ambiance, there is also the need for task lighting and accent lighting. Who knew right?

Ambiance lighting lights the entire room, think of it as general lighting. It’s the light that you use when you flip that switch to enter a room. These can be chandeliers, flush mount fixtures, recessed lighting or pendants. They will be in every room of your house, typically in the center of the room close to the ceiling. Knowing the right size and height will ensure you have the proper lighting for that room.

Next consider task lighting. This is to illuminate an area when you are reading, grooming, cooking etc. These can be a table lamp, sconce, under cabinet light, floor lamp, pendant or recess. Consider the amount of light the fixture will provide. LED lighting is becoming very popular due to less energy used while providing the right amount of light. LED lighting is not only in task light, many manufactures are using it in all styles of lights to save you money!

Last would be accent lighting to use through a room. It highlights a specific detail in a space, such as a beautiful piece of art, or accessory, and highlighting architectural features. Wall sconces, recessed light, track lights are all examples of accent lighting. I have seen it used to highlight a tray ceiling in a room, or attractive crown molding. Using sconces on either side of a fireplace draws your attention to the mantle. Accent lighting is that little surprise in the room that gives it the luxury feeling when done correctly.

Other good reads:

Light by Numbers

Demystifying LED Lighting

 


Art Gallery Wall

Art Gallery Wall

Art is essential for every room. It not only makes it feel homier, but it gives life and personality to a room. How do you hang a collection of pictures on a wall to create a gallery that looks good? Proportions, colors, and frame styles all should be considered to create the gallery wall that awes.

Consider doing a gallery wall of similar subject. The subject can be a collection of coins, butterflies, silhouettes, mirrors, places that you have visited or lived, use your imagination. Using your children’s art you could create a gallery of all one medium such as all drawings, all paintings etc. If you have favorite art pieces consider tying them together by color, by using a common theme on your first gallery, this will help create the balance you are hoping to achieve.

Another way to tie your art together is to use the same type of frame. Either all the same size shadow box type of frame, rectangle frame, or canvas.  Using different sized frames but all with the same finish, will create a relationship between the various pieces to make your gallery feel harmonious. It allows the eye to focus at the art that is being featured.

Spacing is essential when you are creating a gallery wall to make it feel balanced. Just randomly hanging pictures will probably not create the symmetry that you are hoping to achieve. Typically it is easier if you are using the same size frame throughout your gallery. Here find the center point of your wall and then measure a few inches between each frame keeping them level in rows and columns.

 If you are using various sizes of frames then you will want to pay attention the sizes of art placing them to balance one another. This tends to be a more challenging type of gallery but can be very beautiful. The key to using mixed sizes, and if you feel so inclined mixed objects, is to keep a fairly even horizontal line between objects, or to use one large object in the center and build around it.

 

There are various guides online to give you ideas of different layouts that might work with the pieces of art you have, to create a gallery. It’s fun to play around with it and make a huge impact in a room! Send me some of your art gallery’s that you have created!

Other Good Reads:

Piecing a Room Together That Works

5 Simple Ways to Cozy Up Your Home – Inexpensively

5 Basic Steps to Creating Fantastic Displays


Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design

Clients ask “if I were to renovate my kitchen what should I do?” First off, I would never recommend someone to do just before selling your house. If you are planning on staying a while, three or more years, then it should be a consideration if you find that your kitchen is dated.

According to polls taken, and trends sighted in design magazines, white kitchen cabinets are still very popular. It goes to show you that light and bright is typically the choice of many. Counters that are of a hard surface like quarts, natural stone are still desirable by the majority, but other surfaces such as stainless or concrete have their place in today’s designs.

Smart technology is now being incorporated into appliances to bring convenience into our lives. The question I always hear is, “should we have all stainless appliances?”  Stainless has been popular for years, but at the Architectural Digest show last year, many of the manufactures were featuring black appliances. So I would not be surprised that stainless takes a back seat for a while.

The key when redesigning a kitchen is to ensure it will serve your needs first, and it will not look dated within five years time. Here I searched the internet for kitchens I find to be clean, classic, and very tastefully done that will endure the test of time for many years to come.

The white with soft gray cabinets are classic. Note the use of different materials for the counters. The open style is nice for family as well as entertaining.

If you are not hooked on white cabinetry but still like the painted look of cabinets, this soft taupe color is a great neutral that goes beautifully with the quartz counters. The color trend of gray is still around but greige is a nice blend of both gray and browns that tend to be warmer.

The classic wood cabinets here bring a warmth to all the stainless, again a mix of counter material. If you choose wood cabinets consider a shaker or smooth panel look, they will continue to look in style for a long time.

You can never go wrong with the classic black and white in a kitchen. The gorgeous soaring ceiling of course makes this space feel welcoming and open.

If you are considering building or updating a new kitchen, classic will always be in fashion. Incorporate shaker style cabinets, simple and clean. Neutral colors for your back-splash tile and counters. Stone counters are the preferred material for kitchens. If you need to put your “personality” into the design, choose one item to do the talking, do not make the back-splash, counter, cabinets, lighting and floor all stand out; pick one.

Other good reads:

Key Improvements That Will Reap a Profit | Kitchens

Kitchen Trends for 2015 and Beyond


This House Sold for $50,000 Over Asking

This House Sold for $50,000 Over Asking

This house sold for $50,000 over asking price! How, you may ask in this market?

Let’s look at a little history.
The client asked if I could come to her home for a consult when she found out I was a professional stager. As we walked throughout the house and I gave her suggestions on every room; the repeated comment from her was “are you sure?”

Based on the direction I gave, she took it upon herself to hire the painters, do a yard sale to remove clutter, moved furniture, updated bathrooms, had the curb appeal taken care of, and worked diligently completing the extensive list. I was insistent not to list the house until it was ‘market ready’. Two months later she called and asked that I help her with the finishing touches, which we did. She wondered if she could ask her agent to pay for the staging she had me complete. My suggestion… ask, all they can say is “no.”

Much to the agent’s dismay, she hesitantly agreed. She did not feel any money paid for staging was worth it. I politely begged to differ. The house was photographed and listed. Then to the seller and agents surprise, the house went into a bidding war catching $50,000 over asking!

The beauty for the agent, although they felt their investment was “way too much” was that they did not have to get involved with the nitty-gritty of preparing the property. It was staged properly allowing all buyers to see the value.Which in turn reaped the agent a 500% return on her investment, and preserved the sellers equity! Yippee for them. Is investing money to get a 100% or higher return, too much money to invest when selling? I ask you.

Moral of the story… staging does pay, literally! Having a professional stager help prepare your properties is smart business.