September 15, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Fall

The days are becoming shorter and the weather is becoming cooler; fall is right around the corner.  Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on accomplishing a few house chores before the cold weather strikes and it is too late. A lot of things are overlooked by homeowners when making the change from summer to winter. So, here is a guide on Preparing Your Home for Fall to help you remember all of the important tasks to get done to guarantee a safe and warm home for the upcoming cold weather.

 

 

Clean Out Your Gutters

gutterSource: http://www.pondarosahomes.com

It is best to put this first on your list of things to accomplish. You will want to clean out your gutters during the last few days of summer or the first few days of fall. However the most ideal time for gutter cleaning is after the last heavy rain or thunderstorm. The rain will have washed away any debris that accumulated on your roof down into the gutters. You will want to start at the opposite end of the downspout and then work your way down the gutter. Once you reach the downspout, take a hose or a bucket of water to flush out the spout. If your downspout appears to be clogged, you will want to eliminate it with a plumber’s snake. Clogged gutters are prone to rust and corrosion, can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in the basement.  Stay ahead of the weather, have your gutters cleaned then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.

 

 

Put Away Your Gardening Tools

garden-tools-cleaningSource:  http://sjcmastergardeners.wordpress.com/

Once you are finished with your gardening projects, you should properly clean your tools and store them away for winter. Thoroughly clean off all your spades, clippers, shovels, etc. and consider coating them with a thin layer of mineral oil to prevent having to replace them due to rusting over the winter months. After cleaning and coating your tools, make sure you put them in a safe spot like a garage or shed so they won’t be affected by the cold weather.

 


Check the Weather Stripping

window-weather-stripping-replacement
Source: http://beyondinteriorsdesign.com/


Gaps around door frames and windows can account for roughly 10% of your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Don’t lose money by not checking for air leaks in your home. Weather-stripping is a cost-effective way to take control of your home’s heating and cooling costs. It is important to check this material periodically because it can deteriorate over time. If the weather stripping in your home appears to be questionable in certain areas, there are a few options for checking.
– Close the door or window on a piece of paper. If the paper slides easily or automatically falls, your weather stripping needs to be replaced.
– Or light a candle and trace the frame of the door or window. If the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, then there is an air leak.
You should also check for missing or damaged caulk areas around windows, door frames, and any other entry points (pipelines, electrical wiring). If there are any areas where air is leaking seal the gaps with caulk.

 

 

Driveways, Walkways and Steps

justiceconcretedrivewayrepairbefore
Source:  http://www.signature-concrete-stain.com/

When any of these concrete areas are damaged it becomes a hazard year round, but the real danger arises when the weather turns icy. Fixing this type of problem in the fall is important in preventing a minor problem now from becoming an expensive headache down the road. Look for cracks, uneven sections, loose railings, crumbling of asphalt and loose-filled pathways. The majority of the cracks you will encounter will be within the ability to do-it-yourself.


 

Inspect your Fireplace

Bert-mary-poppins
Source:  http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Bert

No matter how often you use your fireplace, it is important to check it annually for damages and hazards.

- Flue: Check your flue (chimney) for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood. If accumulation occurs, the result poses great danger to your home.

Therefore you should consider having your chimney inspected annually. For most people, the best option is to have the entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform an inspection yourself by shining a flashlight up the flue. Look for deposits approaching 1/8inch in thickness. If you suspect any deposits, then it is highly advised to have the deposits cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep.

- Look for flue blockages: Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap can prevent this from happening. If you don’t have a cap, look up the flu to ensure that there are no obstructions.

- Exercise the damper: The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Move it to the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.

 


Check Your Smoke Alarm Batteries

A lot of local fire departments will run campaigns urging you to change your fire alarm batteries during Daylight Savings time changes. Take this into account. Always be sure to check that any alarms you have that run on batteries, or ones that are connected to your home’s electrical system to ensure that they’re working.

 

 

Change Your Heat Filters

filterSource:  http://www.timesrecordnews.com/

If your home has a forced air centralized heating system, you need to replace your air filters. Whether they have been running continuously all year, or if your heater has been turned off all summer, you need to change them regardless. They will either be dirty from running all year, or they will be stale and possibly growing mold or mildew due to inactivity. Luckily, filters are cheap and easy to replace. When you’ve decided on a time to replace your filters, set aside a day to turn on your heating system for a few hours so it can blow out all the dust that built up over the summer months. A good time to do this would be when you’re going to be away from the home for awhile so you don’t have to endure a heated house, and the smell of burnt dust, when it’s still warm outside. Once you’ve had the heating system on for a few hours or more, turn it off and let your home air out.

 

 

Preparing your home for the fall can sometimes be a tedious job, but you’ll be thankful once the winter weather arrives. Whether you just moved into your new home or are planning on selling in the near future, stay one step ahead by preventing minor problems from escalating, while also saving money.

 

 

 

September 11, 2014

Open Houses: Are you asking the right questions?

 

open house2

open house

Are you in the Market for a New Home?

If so, then it’s a good idea to find yourself a buyer’s agent.  A buyer’s agent will always look out for your best interests and will provide you with the most up-to-date information about homes that fit your criteria.  However, you’ll still want to be sure to ask the right questions and take the right precautions while attending an open house, let alone making an offer to purchase.  If you play your cards rights, an open house can tell you a lot more about a property than its floor plan or what the current residents consider to be “clean”. The key is asking the right questions, or making sure your agent is asking them for you.

To help you determine if the house you are viewing has the potential to become your home; here are some items (exterior and interior) you should be asking questions about….

 

Roof:  A leaky chimney can cause all types of problems, which can be costly to repair. Leaks around the chimney are not always evident right away, but they can cause serious structural damage if ignored. When moisture enters the roofing, attic, and possibly the ceiling areas, it causes wood rot, roof damage and dry wall damage.  Therefore you’ll want to ask; if/ when the roof was replaced, what kind of shingles are on the roof and how many layers of shingles. You’ll also want to look for flashing around the chimney if there is one.

 chimneySource: http://www.aardvarkair.com/chimney-services/

 

Gutters: Where the downpipes are located, where they drain to, and how far away they drain from the home (should be about 4-5 feet depending on drainage and terrain).

 

 

Foundation: What kind of material is used (stone, block, poured concrete)? Look for wetness, discoloration on the foundation walls, as well as any support beams that might indicate previous standing water.  Also look to see how straight the walls are; there should not be any bowing or movement.

foundationSource: http://foundationrepairshop.com/


Plumbing:  (in basement, under sinks in kitchen and bathroom) check the water pressure; look for discoloration from minerals in the water (“hard” water), look for wetness or dampness, leaks.

 

 

Heating:  You’ll want to know the energy source for the heating system and how long ago it was installed. You might even be able to find out the sellers’ average monthly heating cost.  During the home inspection they should test the heat output to make sure the entire house is getting heat and there are no blockages.  Check for multiple thermostats and whether the home is split into zones for individual temperature control.

 

 

Electrical: Make sure you know where the circuit breakers are located; you’ll want at least 150 to 200 amps.  The electrical box should be neat and the wires should be in good condition (no fraying, striped wires, etc.).  Also, there should be electrical collars (little fittings that keep the wire from shifting) at the entrance of each and every wire to the box (not necessarily a big deal, but it indicates poor work and potential electrical problems)

circuit breakerSource: http://completeelectrical.biz/electricity-101-what-is-a-circuit-breaker/

 

 

Floors and Ceilings: Check ceilings for water marks or discoloration.  Check floors for bowing or movement as you walk (indicates poor support from the floor below).  Ask if/when the floors were replaced?

bowingSource: http://www.wikihow.com/Locate-a-Leak-and-Repair-a-Buckled-Wood-Floor

 

 

Doors and Windows: Check windows and doors, specifically how well they seal to the outside. Even though a door may close, it may not seal tight enough to keep your heat inside and the cold air out.

 

 

***Other things to consider are gas/oil leases for the property, and any right-of-ways on the property or to get to the property.  You’ll also want to check ceiling heights on each level and in the basement, as well as door heights and widths.

September 8, 2014

Lancaster City : A month packed of events

Although summer is coming to an end, there is still plenty of fun to be had and memories to be made with the numerous events scheduled throughout September in Lancaster, PA. Whether you are looking for things to do in your hometown or considering moving to Lancaster (or a nearby town), make sure you check out some of these events!

 

September 12th-26th : Wine on the Vine – ON DECK

grandviewdeckSource: The Vineyard at Grandview Facebook 

Location: The Vineyard at Grandview (Mount Joy, PA)

Details: Come enjoy live music every Friday night from 6-8:30pm on the beautiful deck.

 

September 12th: Astronomy

betterastronomySource: twanight.org

Location: Lancaster County Parks Environmental Center

Details: A nighttime star watch conducted by Astronomy enthusiasts.

 

September 12th: Taste the World Walking and Sampling Tour

taste of the world

Location: Downtown Lancaster (24 E King Street)

Details: Theme – Seafood. Join a fun filled evening of walking and sampling delicious dishes in downtown Lancaster. Where else can you try Haitian stewed conch, Cajun seafood bread, Italian tuna pasta salad, Asian crab Rangoon, Greek calamari lemonato, Southern pan-fried swai, plus a French dessert, all in one meal?

 

September 13th: Wool Frolic at Landis Valley

Photo by Carla FontaineSource: welcome-to-lancaster-county.com

Location: Landis Valley Village & Farm

Details: A celebration of fiber arts, demonstrations on yard dying, knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving and bobbin lace making, hands-on kids’ activities and much more.

 

September 18th: Velocity – Celebrating a city moving forward

velocitySource: velocitylancaster.com 

Location: Tellus360 6-10pm

Details: Celebrate the City of Lancaster with local food tastings, live performances, galley exhibitions, a fashion show, VIP rooftop party with open bar. It is going to be quite a party – a chance to grab your friends for an evening of mingling, eating, drinking, shopping, dancing and entertainment.

 

September 19th: Music Friday

music fridaySource: Instagram User – jaredmerb

Location: Binns Park

Details: Every third Friday of every month, live music abounds throughout City shops, restaurants and City parks. Plus the concerts are all FREE.

 

September 20th: Market Lights Up The Night (125 years in the making)

centralmarketSource: centralmarketlancaster.com 

Location: Lancaster Central Market 6:30-11pm

Details: A fundraising gala like none other you have experienced. The night will be filled with live music, an open bar and live/silent auctions.

 

September 27th: Annie Bailey’s 7th Annual Guinness Oyster Fest

anniebaileysSource: figlancaster.com/magazine (Fall 2014 p.6)

Location: Annie Bailey’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

Details: This is an all-day event and the biggest oyster fest in Lancaster City. There will be 1,500 east and west coast oysters, music and festivities throughout the day.

 

September 4, 2014

10 Secrets for Selling Your Home

When it comes to selling your home, you want the process to move quickly and smoothly. However, that it typically not the case. Selling your home can be time-consuming and stressful, so here are a few selling secrets to make your home selling process simple and fast.

 

Selling Secret #10: Price 

Find out what your home is worth, and then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. Buyers will be rushing to place multiple bids on your house. Even in low markets, with multiple buyers interested, they will bid over what the price of your home is worth. Choosing to price below the true value of your home takes real courage. Most sellers are apprehensive to take on the risk, however it is the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

 

 

Selling Secret #9: De-clutter your storage space

cleanclosetSource: http://4homeinterior.com

 

Buyers are constantly on the lookout for storage space. A great way to emphasis your storage areas/closets is to remove half of the items and then neatly organize what is left. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your storage, closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

 

 

Selling Secret #8: Light it up

Increase the lighting in your home. After location, amount of natural light and interior lighting is the next thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. To brighten up your home and draw in buyers, take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what is necessary to make your house bright and cheery to make it more sellable.

 

Selling Secret #7: Scope out the agent field

A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong agent. Make sure you have an agent who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the competition in your neighborhood. Find a real estate agent who embraces technology; a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

 

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the pets

animalsSource: Crescentmoon06666b tumblr

You may think your friendly and charming dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and smell kitty litter, see a bowl full of dog food, or have pet hair stuck to their clothes. Even though your house may be clean, it can give buyers the impression that your house is not. If you’re planning an open house, you may want to consider sending the animals to a pet hotel for the day.

 

Selling Secret #5: Don’t go crazy with improvements

waste of moneySource: moneysmartguides.com

Quick fixes before selling always pay off, but large makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, consider updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Simple improvements can make a significant difference such as; giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, cleaning the curtains or buying some inexpensive new ones, replacing door handles, updating cabinet hardware, making sure closet doors are on track, fixing leaky faucets, etc.

 

Selling Secret #4: De-personalize your home

One of the most important things to do when selling your home is to de-personalize it into a house. The more personal  stuff you leave out, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. This does not mean you have to get rid of all your personal items. Get rid of a third of your stuff and put it in storage. This includes: family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. You may want to consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home’s floor plan. The stager will arrange your furniture to maximize the use of space.

 

Selling Secret #3: The importance of your Kitchen 

neutralkitchenSource: Pinterest User ssknerr

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops, while on the other hand, a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-palette so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance, because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

 

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show

Make sure your house is “show-ready” at all times (or at least the majority of the time) because you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You should be available as frequently as possible. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

 

Selling Secret #1: First Impression

foyerbenchrealSource: Pinterest User Architectural Digest

No matter how beautiful the interior, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they enter your home. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entry-ways are a great way to welcome potential buyers by putting in a small seating area, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some homemade cookies.

September 3, 2014

National Baby Safety Month

September is National Baby Safety Month, here are a few tips on how to baby-proof each room in your home.

 

 

Sept 14 IOV - Ecard

 

 

 

August 28, 2014

The Rent Trap

 

If you are currently renting, you could get caught in the continuous cycle of increased rents, without realizing the long-term impact on your future ability to save for a down payment. Purchasing a for-sale home still remains highly affordable for buyers who are able to save for a down payment and capitalize on low mortgage interest rates. Unfortunately, for current renters, as monthly rents continue to rise , along with interest rates and home values, saving for a down payment and attaining homeownership becomes that much more difficult for them.
house-trap

 

Zillow Press Release Synopsis

The affordability of the nation’s rental inventory is currently much worse than the affordability of the home sale inventory. Nationally, renters who signed lease agreements at the end of June (beginning of July) will pay 29.5% of their income towards rent. In comparison, U.S. home buyers at the end of June (second quarter) could actually expect to pay 14.3% less of their total income towards their mortgage.

 

What are the options?

While you may already have enough saved for the purchase of your first home; many Millennials are skeptical about their ability to own a home. Housingwire recently reported: “It’s not that Millennials and other potential buyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment. It’s that they think they are not qualified or they think they don’t have a big enough down payment.”

There are many factors as to why one would be apprehensive about applying for a mortgage, whether it’s due to student debt or other financial limitations. The reality is, applying for a mortgage, no matter how great the credit score is, is uncomfortable for some people. With all the chatter making its way out of the trade space, the average buyer may be left misinformed about their own financial capability. The good news…. the credit box has actually expanded and the credit requirements are not as bad as one would think. Housingwire reported, 1 in 5 borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages put down 10% or less this year.

The biggest problem is that many potential buyers are sidelining themselves. They do not want the embarrassment of a rejection, so they either stick with their apartment or remain in a house they have outgrown.

 

Be Proactive

Don’t lose sight of your future and get caught in this renters’ trap. If you believe you are ready to purchase a home, be proactive and find out if you are financially ready and when the time is right move forward…..don’t sideline your own dreams!

 

 

 

 

August 25, 2014

Neighborhood Spotlight- Bethesda, MD

 

bethesda, MD

Thinking about moving to Maryland? Bethesda has a diverse selection of neighborhoods and locations to consider. Bethesda is a great choice and after reading this, your interest may be increased. Downtown Bethesda is full of entertainment and a big supporter of the arts.  There are more than 200 ethnic restaurants, countless art galleries, two live-action theatres, numerous music and dance studios, and boutiques on almost every corner.

 

Have Fun with the Children

If you are looking for a fun and artistic experience with the children, there are a handful of options. The Strathmore Music Center might be a good place to start. This 2,000 seat state-of-the-art concert hall offers performances by major national artists of various genres.

 

Go for a Walk at the Park

It’s a perfect day for a nice stroll in the park! Cabin John Park provides 528 acres to explore, with a wide variety of recreational opportunities for anyone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The park has one of the area’s largest playgrounds (Adventure Playland), a nature center, a miniature train, picnic areas and much more.

 

Shop until you Drop

Bethesda Row is large urban shopping center. From fine cookware to fine art, high fashion to high-tech gadgets, workout gear to sparkling gems, this center offers a mix of open-air boutiques and shops that keep you busy all day.

 

Wine & Dine

Looking to try something new? Bethesda includes an eclectic variety of cuisine. Guardado’s Restaurant offers a casual dining experience and serves a collection of authentic Spanish and Latin American cuisine.  If you are a wine connoisseur, you will fit right in at Oakville Grille & Wine Bar, a contemporary American restaurant offering an extensive wine list of more than 120 wines.

 

Interesting Fact

Last year, Bethesda placed first on Forbes list of The Most Educated Places in America (based on U.S. Census Data 2011), and first on CNNMoney.com’s list of top-earning American towns in 2012. Only 1.9% of the population has not finished high school, 27.3% of residents have professional or doctoral degrees and an impressive 26.8% have master’s degrees as their highest level of education.

 

Real Estate Overview

With a desirable combination of first rate schools, and an affluent, highly educated population ; Bethesda contains vital features that families and young adults look for when choosing a community in which to live. If you’re interested in buying a home in Bethesda, please contact one of our local real estate professionals.

August 21, 2014

Financial Benefits of Homeownership

 

Which is a better option, renting or buying a home?  This question is difficult to answer and depends on one’s current financial situation.  However, it is important to note that homeownership does come with major financial rewards that are not applicable to renters.

 

1.) A Leveraged Investment

Owning a home allows a homeowner to increase any appreciation on the value of their home by a leveraging factor. Even a substantial 20% down payment results in a leveraging factor of 5 so that every percentage point in the value of the home is a 5% return on the equity. With the average buyer putting 10% or less down, their leveraging factor is 10 or more.  Every month the mortgage is paid, the reduction from the mortgage increases the amount of equity. Plus with equity from your home, you would be able to pay for college, retirement or other major life events.


2.) Rent or own, you are still paying

It makes a lot more sense to invest your money in something you own, than it does to pay a landlord. Homeowners pay financial institutions to reduce their own principal, while renters pay to reduce the principal for their landlord.


3.) “Forced Savings”

Owning a home tends to change the perspective many people have on saving money…spend now, save later. Owning a home means more financial responsibility, which encourages smarter saving and spending habits.

piggy

 

 

4.) Tax benefits of owning

As a homeowner, you will be able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from your annual income taxes. Plus capital gains (up to $250k for single filers and $500k for married couples) are excluded if you sell your home for a gain.


5.) Owning protects from inflation

Housing costs and rents tend to increase over time at a faster pace than the rate of inflation. This makes owning a home a more attractive option.


6.) Mortgage Rates

Over the past 30 years, mortgage rates have been decreasing, which means a decrease in your monthly payment.

Historic Mortgage Rates by Decade

 

Local real estate markets, your financial status, as well as personal needs and goals will all affect your housing decision. Homeownership makes sense for many people due to an assortment of personal and social reasons, but it also makes sense financially. Consult a local real estate professional to help guide you to happy and responsible living.

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2014

Get to Know Your Neighborhood with Nextdoor

 

Moving incatto a new neighborhood can be intimidating at times, especially if you are trying to enter an established “neighborhood circle”.  Whether there is a tight knit neighborhood bond or everyone on the block is still getting to know each other; there is simple solution to get the ball rolling and to start interacting with your neighbors.

 

Nextdoor is a free, hyper-local social network for you, your neighbors, and community. It is the easiest way to connect and communicate with the people who live around you. When neighbors start talking, good things happens. The amount of interaction is up to you and those who join the social network. It can be used to post information about neighborhood events, gather recommendations for trustworthy babysitters, learn your neighbors’ actual names, to help find a lost pet, and so on.  Another interesting feature of the site is that it is a private social network. Members must provide their real first and last names, verified address, and email. Only people within the pre-mapped community/neighborhood are allowed to join, comment, and interact.

 

nextdoor3

nextdoor2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nextdoor was founded in 2010 and is now running in every state. There is a free app supporting both iOS and android platforms. The company’s mission is to push the benefit and importance of a strong, tight-knit neighborhood community. There have been numerous articles supporting the valuable impact the site has had on communities; such as helping police reduce neighborhood crime, alerting neighbors about suspicious activities, and making communities much safer. So if you are interested in checking out the site…go on…you have nothing to lose; only new neighbors and a strong community to gain!

 

August 14, 2014

Interior Design Rules You Should Break

“The first rule of decoration is that you can break almost all the other rules.”

Decorating your new/current home can be stressful and intimidating, but it can also be fun and exciting! Whether you are preparing to sell your home, just purchased a new home or are looking for some inspiration, here are a few creative tips on how to add a personal touch to your house.

 

1.) “Don’t Mix Old and New”


mixingoldandnewSource: http://www.houzz.com

The most livable and inspiring rooms combine old and new pieces in a variety of styles to give them an effortless sense of having been assembled over time. Mixing vintage and contemporary pieces will give any room or space personality and dimension.

 

2.) “Paint a Small Space in a Light Color”

 

darkbathroomSource: look-n-feel.tumblr.com

Most people are under the impression that the easiest way to make a small room appear larger is to create the illusion by painting everything in the small area white, yellow or another lighter color. However, by using a darker paint, you are able to create a sense of depth within the small space.

Painting with darker colors can fool the eye into not knowing where the wall begins and ends, creating the impression of more space. Be sure to balance the dark color with light-catching objects, such as mirrors, metallic accents, and incorporating lamps/lighting to ensure that the room has a warm radiance.

 

3.) “Don’t Mix Metals”

mixingmetalsSource: simplymodernhome.com

There was a time when mixing metals, whether in home décor or jewelry, was considered “tacky”. Although the idea of mixing metals to some people is still preposterous; many designers and homeowners are embracing this previously misconceived decorating faux pas. There are many ways to approach mixing metals. You can choose to take the subtle route by adding a few pieces within the house or you can go bold by bringing in large pieces that will play off one another in combination with lights and mirrors. Either approach is a guaranteed way to incorporate richness in any room.

 

4.) “Use Only One Type of Wood In A Room”

mixingwoodSources (from left to right): buzzfeed.com and modpiecesblog.com  

The era of the matching furniture sets is long gone, but many people are still apprehensive to mix multiple wood finishes in the same room. Allowing various wood tones to cohabitate within the same room will create a layered and textured look.

 

5.) “Dining Chairs Should be part of a Matching Set”

kitchen Source: decorallure.blogspot.com

It has been the norm to always have a kitchen/dining table with matching chairs. But sometimes those furniture sets can look too perfect. Although a formal dining room equipped with a matching table and chairs can be absolutely beautiful, it can also appear unimaginative and “stuffy”. Purchasing one of a kind/unique furniture pieces allows you to add a little spice and personal touch into your dining area. Remember there is a difference between being mismatched and being “stylishly” mismatched.

 

6.) “Don’t Mix Patterns”

   mixmatchcolorsSource: http://www.2014interiordesignarticle.com

There are no guidelines when it comes to mixing patterns, however it may take a few tries before you feel your unmatched patterns somehow match. For a first-timer, choose a limited palette (such as blue and white) so you will be able to focus on and play around with patterns and size, instead of being overwhelmed with too many colors. Or another approach is to choose complimentary colors, and then mix/match from there.

Designer Tip: When choosing patterns, the key is to stick with an odd amount, particularly three. According to home décor style guides, three is the minimum number of patterns you should use.

 

7.) “Match Your Colors”

mixnmatch Source: decoist.com

There is no reason to continue following the rule that you have to match your pillows to the drapes and /or carpet. Playing with color is fun, and adds a touch of unique personality to your home. In order to avoid getting carried away with all the color options, choose fabrics and finishes within the same color family, but that don’t necessarily match. If the thought of combining so much color in one room is unsettling, there are subtle ways to play with color as well. For example, if you prefer a clean natural look in your home, you could play with different neutral shades in varying fabrics.

 

8.) “Ceilings Should Remain Unpainted”

ceiling2 Sources (left to right):  housebeautiful.com and old.murcadesign.com

Don’t forget to look up. Ceilings are often considered “the forgotten fifth wall”. Many people give little thought to the horizontal dry-wall hanging above their head. A ceiling is usually given a fresh coat of paint only once during its existence. However, it is time to change our perspective on the rooms we live in. Color, sheen, pattern, and texture on the ceiling can transform the entire look and feel of a room. Give yourself and your guests something to look up to…..literally.

 

 

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