Study Up on Proper Winter Home Staging

Study Up on Proper Winter Home Staging

Although this may not be the most popular time of year to sell, there’s likely a greater percentage of serious homebuyers looking in your area than during the spring and summer months. Add to that the fact that many areas of the country will experience some snowfall this month, and now is the perfect time to do a rundown of proper winter home staging tips.

Tasks like clearing a safe pathway to your entrance and making sure your home is warm are essential, but there are some other home staging rules that may not be as obvious. Here are some of the top winter home staging tips:

Clear Your Walkways
Let’s start out easy. There is no more important home staging task than ensuring potential homebuyers are safe. If it has recently snowed in your area, be sure to shovel your walkways or, at the very least, a clear path to the entrance. Also, if there is ice on the ground—or even the possibility of ice forming on the path you’ve created—do not forget to put down salt.

Let the Light In
The winter can already be dreary and grey. Don’t add to that aesthetic in your home by keeping curtains drawn. Allowing light to flood your home when buyers are viewing it can have a major impact on their impression of the property. It’s smart to also turn any closet or basement lights on where it’s difficult for sunlight to reach; however, be sure to turn off all computer or television screens, as those will just distract from the warmth inside your home.

Turn Up the Heat
Literal warmth is vital, as well. If potential buyers walk into your home and it’s even a bit chilly, it only gives them reason to leave quickly. Having an extra toasty home will give buyers reason to linger before heading back out into the cold. Don’t forget to turn your thermostat up a couple degrees.

Embrace the Holidays
Christmas and New Year’s may have just ended, but keeping the decorations up for a few weeks is not an issue. Be sure they’re subtle and tasteful, however, and that the tree is down by the time February rolls around. The good news is that if you have any Valentine’s Day decorations, you can put those out whenever you’re done clearing out the December decorations.

Content By: Jameson Doris

2019’s Hottest Home Decor

2019’s Hottest Home Decor

Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces, and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle.

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven trending decor ideas:

Scaled down furnishings – After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings. There’s a definite return to rounded edges, especially in furniture with big, soft, rounded arms.

Wall coverings – The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals – and expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns.

Color changes – While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings.

Color ‘pops’ – Yellow is the hottest color for small accents, from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows. There’s also a trend toward ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces.

Warm woods and traditional styles – Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history.

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces – The trend toward coziness leads to indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are also preserving a sense of happy summertime barbecues.

Crafts and artisanal accents – In a world of increasingly mass production, there’s a move back to crafting, and to artisanal or boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts, and other accent pieces all around the home.

Safely Lighting Your Holiday Home

Safely Lighting Your Holiday Home

A well-lit home for the holidays sends a message of seasonal cheer, but it’s important to keep safety top of mind, too. Remember these following helpful tips to ensure the holidays remain safe and efficient.

Outdoor Lighting Safety

– Check all lights for frayed wires or areas where insulation has pulled away from plugs or sockets. Discard and replace any damaged light strings.

– Ensure that tacks or nails used to hold light strings do not pierce any insulation on wires or light sockets.

– Use only extension cords that are approved for outdoor use. These cords must meet rigorous safety standards that indoor cords may not meet.

– Outdoor lights, inflatables and other decorations should be plugged into outlets protected by ground fault interrupters.

– Place outdoor lights on a timer or turn them off before you go to bed.

– Outdoor lights, inflatables and other decorations must not be installed under or near any electric power lines.

Indoor Lighting Safety

– Inspect all light strings and cords for any damage, including frayed wires or insulation that has pulled away from light sockets or plugs. Also check for chewing or scratching damage if you have pets in the house. Discard and replace any damaged light strings.

– Live trees should be kept well-watered.

– No more than three strings of standard indoor lights should be connected to any extension cord.

– Make sure cords are placed where they won’t be stepped on, kinked or pose a tripping hazard.

– Lights should not be permitted to touch drapes, furniture or carpeting.

– Lights should be turned off overnight and when no one is home.

Efficient Decorating

– LED lights use 80 percent less energy than incandescent lights and tend to last 25 times longer.

– Look for “warm” white on the label of LED lights to achieve the look of incandescent lights.

– Stock up on holiday lights and decorations right after Christmas when they are on clearance.

– Set timers for lights to automatically turn on when it gets dark and off in the middle of the night.

Plumbing Blunders: How to Dodge Holiday Disasters

Plumbing Blunders: How to Dodge Holiday Disasters

A full house for the holidays can be wonderful–but not for your plumbing. Extra pressure is put on home plumbing systems during the holidays, with day-long meal prep and additional house guests, it’s easy for the wrong items to go down the drain and disposal. Below are their top tips for dodging drain disasters.

Your sink can’t handle everything. Fats, bones and vegetable peels can clog drains and damage the disposal. When fats and grease cool, put them into a disposable container and throw it in the trash. If you have a compost pile, that’s a good place for peels. Anything that you can hold in your hand, throw it out instead.

Holiday cooking can strain your garbage disposal. Know how to properly use it! Always run the water when using a garbage disposal. If your disposal becomes clogged, turn it off, and shut off the water. Don’t reach into a disposal, and never, ever use harsh chemicals to treat a clog. Like other kitchen appliances, disposals can use tune-ups, too.

Think outside of the kitchen. Be mindful of the plumbing use in other areas of the home. Holidays guests can require more loads of laundry. Poor water quality and age can lead to breakdowns in the washer hose, which can lead to massive water leaks. Getting your hose inspected will save you from water damage from a defective hose.

Avoid the messiest of all plumbing disasters by understanding what can and cannot be flushed. The amount of people in a normal household easily triples during the holidays.  This means triple the amount of trips to the bathroom, which strains the integrity of your home’s plumbing system. Remind your guests what can and can’t be flushed, and inform them of any plumbing issues you are already aware of. Meaning, if you need to jiggle the toilet handle to get it to flush, spread the word.

Preventative maintenance can save you a holiday headache. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a plumbing inspection, now may be a good time to call a trusted plumbing professional. They can spot potential trouble areas and prepare your home for the holiday influx. They can also help winterize your plumbing system for the colder weather to come. Cold temperatures can put more stress on your pipes, drains, outdoor hose bibs and water heaters.

Clean Your Wood Floors With Cleaners You Make at Home

Clean Your Wood Floors With Cleaners You Make at Home

Whether it’s to help safeguard the environment from chemicals or to protect family members from allergens, homemade cleaning solutions offer an array of benefits for both your home and your loved ones.

For example, the experts at American Home Shield suggest trying one of the following seven DIY natural cleaners for your hardwood floor when more than a little damp mopping is in order. But first, make sure you know what kind of floor you have and how it’s finished. For instance, water is not advised for waxed floors and should be used sparingly on all types of finishes.

1. Water and Vinegar. A popular cleansing agent in many areas of your home, vinegar can also help cut through the grime on your wood floor. Mix it with warm water and your good to go. Mix approximately ½ cup of white vinegar per one gallon of water. Use a sponge mop, and dry with a cloth or towel as you go.

2. Water, Vinegar, and Essential Oils. Add a few drops of your favorite scent to give your home an extra boost of fragrance.

3. Vinegar and Vegetable Oil. When water is not appropriate for your finish, mix equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. Apply with a soft cloth mop and watch the shine come through.

4. Plant-based Liquid Soap, Vinegar and Water. If you’re faced with an especially dirty floor, you may need to use some soap. Add â…› cup of plant-based liquid soap and â…› cup vinegar to one gallon of water.

5. Tea Bags. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors. Let two tea bags steep in water then rub your floors with a cloth to amp up the luster.

6. Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and Hot Water. This combination of kitchen ingredients will also deliver a wonderful shine to your wood floor. Add ¾ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of lemon juice to one gallon of hot water, and you’re ready to go.

7. Dish Detergent, Water and Vinegar. For laminate floors, this combination works well when used with a microfiber mop or sponge. Just combine three parts water to one part vinegar with a squirt of dish detergent in a spray bottle, then use sparingly. You don’t want the floor to get too wet. To keep your wood floors gleaming between cleanings, sweep or vacuum regularly, or use a dust mop or microfiber pad to trap dust and dirt.

How to Hide More Seating In a Small Space

How to Hide More Seating In a Small Space

Whether it’s an apartment or a tiny home, small-space living can have so many advantages, both in terms of cost and lifestyle. But when it comes time to have a few guests over, finding a place to put everyone can indeed be a challenge. Here are a few clever strategies for tucking away seating options that can be accessed when the need arises.

Invest in an all-purpose bench. Place a bench up against a wall or window and use it to display plants, stacks of books or dishes. When company arrives, stash said items on a windowsill or in a closet and pull the bench out for extra seating.

Stow hassocks in your entertainment center. Buy a shelving unit for your television that includes room to house two small hassocks right underneath the TV. Pop these out whenever you need two extra seats in your living area.

Tuck stools underneath counter space. Have a counter in your kitchen? Buy backless stools that slide all the way underneath the counter, so that they are out of the way and create more space when not in use. Put them into action wherever you may need when guests pop by.

Make chairs multifunctional. Put small accent chairs to work in other rooms, such as to stack towels upon in the bathroom, or as a plant stand in the bedroom. They can resume their traditional role as a chair if and when the need arises.

Decorate with large pillows. Adorn your bed or sofa with a giant pillow or two that can serve as floor-cushion seating for casual soirees. Let’s face it – who doesn’t like to cozy up to the coffee table close to the snacks?!

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