Saturday, March 28, 2015

5 Ways to Breathe New Life into Your Home

After spending such a long and cold winter indoors, you might be looking at your space and think… well, this space looks little tired. A little dated or a little worn? Here's 5 great ways to breathe a little life into your rooms and they are all quite easy and won’t break the bank!. Nothing drastic! Just a few thing you can change up or add to any room that will be a breath of fresh decor air!

1- PILLOWS.   Can we talk about pillows. They are decor magic!! Pillows can brighten up any space! They are an easy, cheery face lift for sofas and chairs. Just think of all the options! Even think about changing pillows with the seasons and holidays. To see a tutorial about arranging and styling pillows HERE. Don’t be afraid to get a little bold with pillows. A pop of color or fun is a very good way to freshen a room up!

 ikea day bed BRIMNES $249 does not include mattress.

 2- SOMETHING ORGANIC. A big vase or container of flowers will certainly make a room come alive!!! Even a grocery store bunch of flowers looks amazing with a little extra care and arranging! But, don’t overlook indoor plants. I feel they have gone out of vogue lately.  Add a little pot of ivy or a fluffy pot of herbs and they will literally give life to a room. If you don’t like to care for plants then go faux… but look for great fakes! You don’t want to add any tacky looking fakes to a room! Even try adding elements like drift wood, looks great as a centerpiece or on a coffee table.  Antlers are also a big trend right now. Organic pieces can work with any decor style and they add a great texture element to any room.

Double Color Palette

 3 - WINDOW TREATMENTS. This can be expensive especially if you go the custom route but if you go out and purchase curtain panels that are pre-made, it can make a huge impact in your space.  Just be sure to hang them property!  By hanging them properly you can make the windows and the room look bigger and brighter. Even if you have a great view that you love don't forget, a window treatment frames the window and softens it and calls attention to what lies beyond. There are so many great, inexpensive curtains that are fun and sassy and updated and will give your room a real upscale look!

 Here is a no fail neutral combination: cream upholstery with exposed wood legs, woven shades, and patterned window panels. The set up is timeless and all you need to do to add a pop of color is change out the accent pillows with the seasons, add fresh flowers or a throw blanket, it works every time!

4- ART.  Art is such a personal thing. Some people like every wall covered with all sorts of pictures and things. And some don’t. I fall somewhere in the middle, like most of us. Art is a broad term that can cover so many wall decor pieces - like hanging old windows on a wall, a plate wall, wall decals, photographs, big clocks and more..... Look at your art… and look at your walls. Can you do a little updating? Here’s where you can get very creative!

 15 Rooms That Prove You Need a Shag Rug | StyleCaster

This is probably my very favorite way to add interest to my home. Not only can we feel texture with our hands… we can also feel it with our eyes.  A room can seem flat and even a little boring if we don’t fill it with lots of different textures! Soft, smooth, nubby, shiny… are examples of what textures should be in every room!  If you love a neutral space, play with texture to get a 'designer' look and feel. And when we layer those textures it is pure magic! To see a DIY about layering decor, click HERE. Keep things interesting with textures and layers!

 The Best Styled Living Room: This cream living room is proof that every home needs layers. Amazing chandelier aside, we fell in love with the fabrics, colors, and textures that create an effortlessly styled space.

Now, head on over to the room you think needs a little decor love and ask yourself, “HOW CAN I BREATHE NEW LIFE IN HERE”? Use these 5 tips to breathe new life into your room!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Decor lesson: How to Mix Patterns using the Buddy System

We all grew up hearing about the Buddy system but this buddy system for home decor is a bit different.....

We love playing with colour, pattern and texture but sometimes finding the right balance can be a challenge.  Our clients often ask us how to mix patterns, mixing colors and patterns can be a snap. Use the Buddy System!

 What is the Buddy system?

Simply put, the Buddy System means that when mixing multiple textiles, make sure every fabric has a buddy, in color or pattern (and ideally both). The process works particularly well for bedding, scatter cushions on a sofa, or anywhere you might want to mix many textiles. This is a sure fire way to get a designer look in your space.  Mixing different patterns has such a sophisticated style.

1.  The purple in the floral headboard closely matches the purple in the spotted cushion.

 2. Likewise, a neutral taupe features in both the smaller spotted cushion, and the paisley print one.

 3. Speaking of, there are two spotted cushions here.

 4. The prints of the bedspread, blue striped cushion and purple spotted one all have a blurry, ikat-y feel to them.

 5. The pillows and sheet are a set, so they match in both color and pattern.

 6. It even goes beyond the textiles: the bedspread mirrors the chair in both pattern and color.

Now you have a room that looks totally personal to you but also very stylish with a designer influence.  If you want to mix patterns in your living room, just use the Buddy system with your pillows, rug and drapery (or where ever you want your pattern).  Pattern is a great way to add colour and visual interest plus it can lighten up a space - too many solids can make a room feel and look heavy, and lacking in sophistication.

You can see the Buddy system in the image below - the aqua in the sofa and the lamp add some bold colour to the room.  The navy/white tribal side chair and the navy/white stripe pillows are 'buddies', too.  The pops of pink in the floral arrangement and the art are also buddies.  The brass accents in the side tables are also a pair even though the tables are different and then the white drapes, rug, walls and lamp shade are buddies too.

The Broke Girl's Guide to Designer Decor :: Love all of this color and pattern

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Home Decor: What to do when something's off....

If you've ever had a room hovering at "almost there," you know how frustrating of a situation it can be. The room doesn't look bad, it just doesn't quite sing. It's missing something, and you can't put your finger on it. You might find these six things to try helpful when a room just isn't coming together like you thought it would!

 The best thing about this photograph is those brass shelves. I garbage-picked them two weeks ago. Rug, pillows and stool are all Nate Berkus from Target.

1. Compare it to your inspiration
Whether you tried to copy a room you saw on Pinterest piece by piece, have always just wanted a room that feels like Nate Berkus designed it or looked to a piece of art for color palette inspiration, go back to that inspiration and compare. What do you have in your room that's not in the inspiration? What don't you have? It might be a case of you trying an extra element that's fighting the harmony of the original inspiration, or you may have forgotten to include a vital element that makes your inspiration work. We are all naturally drawn to symmetry and balance, so see if that is the issue. We recommend an element of pattern, colour, texture and shine in every space.

 Retro still rocks! Freshen it up with an unexpected background shade--here a light blue (wall, accent items) keeps it from getting too earthy and becoming murky.

2. Try taking things out
Take out a big element. Yes, even something big like curtains or art. Now step back and look at the room again. Even if the room feels a little emptier, you might be able to see the potential of where the design needs to go . You might not be able to see what your room is missing because there's something that doesn't belong in there already, blocking your ability to see the room's potential.  A lot of interior decor is trial and error so it's normal to not get it perfect the first time.  Often you need to play around to see what you are 'feeling' for the space.

 South Shore Decorating Blog: Sunday Dreaming With Lots of Beautiful Rooms

3. Focus in on a spot, corner or wall that you do love
Why do you feel like that spot is working? What is it that you love? Take what's working and spread it out around the room a little more. Maybe it's a color you only used a touch of that could be maximized more in the space. Maybe it's a style of furniture you played around with on a small scale that the room could use more of. See what adding more of what you love in the room does to the feel of it. Take inspiration from what you love even if it is right in front of your nose!

 European Collection Letterpress Prints, 3 prints 16x20" $95

 4. Shake up your style
Grab something from another part of the home, from a friend's home or find a free thing — just make it something that seems surprising to add to the space. As we've mentioned before, sometimes bringing something that you think obviously doesn't go can produce one of two equally favorable outcomes: either it surprises the heck out of you by working in the space, or it points you in the right direction to go in by being so mismatched! Can't find an item that catches your eye? Grab a scarf in an unexpected colour (or grab a few) maybe the room needs a real pop.  Do something interesting - display your most prized and beautiful pieces (even shoes or jewelry)


5. Take a picture (or two or three)
And then leave the room you're trying to figure out. Like, go to a coffee shop or somewhere else. Look at the photos you took on your phone and scroll through them. Look at the photos on a small scale; small thumbnails that let you see the whole space. Put some mental distance between the fact that this is a room you live in and see every day and instead view it like a room you'd be spotting on a blog somewhere. And then immediately listen to your gut on what you think the room might need (or need taken out).

Lots of ideas for arranging furniture around a fireplace in the corner of a room
6. Doodle
Those pictures you took earlier? Print them out if you can (or turn to a digital photo manipulating tool) and start doodling. Drawing patterns. Drawing furniture pieces. Squares where you think more art could go. Doodle stuff you wouldn't do in your right mind with actual items. That you can't do financially. Play. And when you hit on something that feels like it clicks, figure out how to make it work on your budget and in your space!

We Answer Wednesday - Outdoor Updates

“Spring is almost here! How can I re-vamp my outdoor d├ęcor without replacing everything I already own?”

Spring IS actually here – after a long winter, I think we’re all looking forward to enjoying our outdoor living spaces to their fullest.
There are many accessories and products available to create your outdoor oasis.. most may seem obvious, but changing up your colour palette, or the addition of just a few pieces will be a game changer!

 Easy outdoor curtain diy tutorial made from Lowes' canvas drop cloths and grommets! We could also add corner seating like this, where the hot tub will someday(hopefully) go. then move it out to the extra patio pad when that happens...

Outdoor Rugs are a fabulous addition to any outdoor space whether it be your front porch sitting area, or as an area rug around your table, the addition of an outdoor rug brings colour, pattern and texture to your space! The added pop of interest will instantly refresh your exterior.

 I love everything about this pin…the wicker furniture, lantern lighting, spring colors, and beautiful rug!

Pillows are a common upgrade when trying to refresh your home. BUT, there are many colours, patterns, and textures to choose from, so in order to make a big impact, choose something different! We love mixing and matching colours and patterns, so try that! The carefully selected mixture of the two will give your backyard that designer feel!

 easy pillow covers (have to use this tutorial with the shower curtain from Target for the fabric

Side Tables are more fun than ever! There are so many great options, garden stools are still a super hot trend right now. They are available in so many colours, designs, textures and patterns! Adding a garden stool as a side table is a welcome addition to the back or front yard! With their compact size, this is a fabulous option for a balcony or a front porch with limited space. There are lots of different styles of side tables, the great thing about patio furniture is that it comes in SO many colours.
Planters/Plants.. Greenery is always a welcome addition to any area. Having plants and flowers around is a mood booster for most, not to mention its just pretty to look at. Pairing colourful plants in a beautiful planter in various sizes is a interesting way to make your backyard cozier.

 Outdoor lighted tables how to make. Also has a lot of free plans for building chairs, swings, rockers, etc....

If you’re worried about plants dying.. try using fake plants in real planters. Fake plants have come a long way and there are many that you cant even tell aren’t real! Adding those in a planter or pot is a great alternative for the busy family, or someone who’s lacking in the “green thumb” department.
Chairs come in so many colours, shapes and sizes! Chose what you love. The options are endless. Adding a few bright colored Adirondack chairs with a fun pillow is a great spring/summer refresh. Depending on your budget, there are

great lounge chairs, outdoor sofas and love seats that are a fun choice for backyard BBQs and get-togethers.

Accessories tie a space together both inside and outside. But adding accessories outdoor is pretty different than inside. Here are a few accessory suggestions..

Outdoor String Lights
Outdoor Serverware
Outdoor Placements

Happy spring!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Keeping It Realtor Ready!

3 ways to keep your home Realtor® ready

If you’re the type of person who can keep a house neat and spotless 24/7, hats off to you! For the rest of us, living in a home that’s on the market (and might be shown at a moment’s notice) can be a challenge. Luckily, once you’ve taken all the major steps to declutter, clean and repair your home for sale, there are a few simple strategies you can use to keep it looking its best for buyers.

1) Make a list of your hotspots—the parts of your home that are hardest to keep clean and most noticeable. Some examples might be dishes in the kitchen sink, wet towels in the bathrooms, unmade beds, pet messes, kids’ toys, or mail on the dinner table.
Each morning before you leave home, or any time you get a call to warn you of a showing, pull out your list and spend a few minutes tackling those problem areas. For super short-notice showings, be ready to bundle clutter into a laundry basket or storage tub and take it with you in your car.

At the end of the list, add these often-overlooked items if they apply to you:
Clean master bedroom
  • Take out the trash
  • Close toilet lids (parents: flush if needed!)
  • Open drapes/blinds to let in light
  • Turn on lights (if showing will happen soon)
  • Turn off TVs
  • Open interior doors to invite exploration
  • Make sure your key is in the lock box
  • Take pets with you (or kennel them)
  • Put away personal info, such as bills or statements
  • Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature (especially if you’ve programmed it to save on heating or cooling when the home is unoccupied)

2) Build a quick-cleaning kit. Move from room to room faster with a portable kit of cleaning essentials, like:
Portable cleaning kit
  • Rubber gloves
  • A duster or dust cloth
  • Stain-erasing pads
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Wood and stainless-steel polishing wipes
  • Glass wipes
  • Spray mop
  • Dustpan and whisk broom
  • Lint brush (for pet hair on upholstery or drapes)
Why wipes? Besides the obvious advantage of a lighter, smaller cleaning kit, wipes could also help you minimize harsh chemical smells, since you’re not spraying the cleaner into the air and you won’t leave a fragrant pile of cleaning rags in the laundry. Alternatively, you could choose low-odor cleaners, or cleaners with a pleasing scent.

 3) Ask for help (and make it easy for people to help you). If you’re not the only person living in your home, you shouldn’t be the only person trying to keep it clean. Goodness knows, you’re not the only one creating the mess! Give your housemates, spouse and/or children helpful daily tasks and provide the tools they’ll need to get their jobs done. For example, set aside a basket for each child to fill with their toys or other clutter, a tasteful box for unsorted mail, ample hampers for linens, etc.

 Current Interior Paint Color Trends | 10 Home Staging Tips to Make Your Next Listing Look like a Model Home

Monday, March 23, 2015

Small Bathroom? No Big Deal!

10 small Bathroom Ideas for Big Impact


1 -  Vintage-style mirrors
Long for a vintage-style powder-room look? Step back in time by installing classic paneling on the walls, painted in a soothing pastel shade that won’t look too overpowering.

Scour vintage or used furniture shops for characterful mirrors and add retro-style accessories for the perfect finishing touch.

Vintage-style mirrors | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

2 - Contemporary neutral scheme
If you’re in a quandary over how to decorate your small bathroom, just keep it simple with soft, natural shades.

Choose furniture and accessories with clean lines and keep the space as clutter-free as possible to create a feeling of space.

Contemporary neutral scheme | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

3 - Clever tricks with tiles
When decorating a small bathroom, such as an en suite in a loft conversion, introduce a horizontal line around the width of the space, either with tiles or paint.

This trick will visually widen the space, creating the illusion of a bigger room.

Clever tricks with tiles | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

4 - Practical hidden storage
A smart storage panel within a fitted bath will provide a storage area for hiding toiletries or bathroom cleaning products out of sight.

Practical hidden storage | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

5 - Bright, beautiful wallpaper
Don’t shy away from using wallpaper in a small bathroom.

A paper in a bright shade will look stunning against white woodwork, and provided you choose a simple pattern, it won’t crowd the room either.

Bright, beautiful wallpaper | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

6 - Must-have shelving
Keeping a family bathroom tidy is a challenge, even more so if the space is tight.

If you don’t have room for a cupboard, put up shelves with an integrated rail for hanging up towels.

Must-have shelving | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

7 - Matching wall and floor tiles
A clever trick to making a small bathroom look bigger is to use the same tiles on both the walls and the floor.

Look for a range that is suitable for both uses (they’ll need to be durable enough to use as flooring) and go for larger-size versions to give an even cleaner finish.

Matching wall and floor tiles | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

8 - Fresh white scheme
Make a compact bathroom feel more spacious by sticking to a simple all-white scheme.

Team a white suite with glossy wall tiles and plenty of plush textured towels to ensure the space feels welcoming rather than cold.

Fresh white scheme | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

9 - Luxe sunken bath
If you’re renovating your bathroom or en suite, consider installing a sunken bath.

Provided you have the space for it below your floorboards, a sunken bath will streamline your bathroom, giving it a luxurious, hotel-style feel.

Luxe sunken bath | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

10- Glossy tiles
Glossy tiles in a muted shade will reflect light, making the room brighter and giving the overall impression of a bigger space.

They also have the added advantage of making the space look clean and shiny (provided you wipe them down often!).

Glossy tiles | Bathroom | PHOTO GALLERY | Ideal Home | Housetohome

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stage (and Sell) My Cluttered House!

Owning  a home is a lot of work and selling a home is even more work!  without even noticing we start  to accumulate more stuff than we even realize. Some stuff in closets, in the spare bedrooms and in the  garage or shed, before you know it you have quickly filled your home to the  brim and now it's bursting with all kinds of things! Unfortunately, all of this stuff can really get in the way when you decide to sell your house. 

Buyers want and need to see the full potential of your house to picture themselves in it, but that can be difficult to do when it is covered up in your things – no matter how important they may be to you.
This is a situation home stagers see all the time . You do not have to suffer from a hoarding condition to have a cluttered home. A surprising number of people need help tackling the clutter so they can sell their property.

Selling a cluttered home is hard due to the fact that many people do not have the necessary vision to see beyond it. Appearance is critical in real estate sales. Luckily, there are solutions, things you can do now to make your home look its best and sell more reliably.

 How To Prepare Your Home For Sale: A Guide to Staging.  I am a realtor, and I feel this is excellent advice for homes of ALL price ranges.

15 Quick De-cluttering and presentation tips

  1. Minimize the amount of furniture in each room to make your home appear larger.
  2. Make sure all high traffic areas are kept clear.
  3. Move things like exercise equipments that don’t belong in a family or living room.
  4. All closets should be thinned out.
  5. Everything but the bare bone essentials should be removed from kitchen and bath counters.
  6. Get rid of old unsightly plants.
  7. Put away excess nick knacks, family and pet photos.
  8. Get rid of old magazines and newspapers that are just lying around.
  9. Clean up bookcases of clutter and arrange books neatly.
  10. Organize wires coming from televisions and computers around the home so they don’t look unsightly.
  11. Clear out excess shoes that may be lying around in your foyer or mudroom.
  12. Always put away dirty laundry and make the beds.
  13. If you have a deck clear it of any non essentials
  14. Don’t forget your garage! Remove anything that is no longer necessary to have.
  15. Remember to De-clutter your yard as well. Remove any junk you have accumulated.
This is a great start to properly presenting your home and although this can seem very overwhelming. Start small, you will feel great and it will motivate you to move on down the list.  While these are some things to consider when sprucing up a cluttered home, lets talk about the big stuff!

Top 10 Rules for Staging Homes from The Stagers : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Have a lot of stuff? Rent A Storage Space!

One of the best tips to sell a cluttered home is to rent a storage space. This may be the most straightforward solution out there.  If your home is cluttered, consider a storage unit rental as a very small investment that could yield a considerable increase in your sale price.

Rent a unit that is plenty big enough to store all of your non-essentials. You can keep the couch and the television, but your collection of comic books or elephant figurines may be better off in storage until your house is sold. The idea is to create space for buyers to envision themselves living in your home, so anything you can remove to allow for that is probably a good idea.

Storage units are usually inexpensive, charge month-to-month and typically offer climate-controlled options. Go for a storage provider that emphasizes security, because your things are worth protecting. Any good storage space will make security part of its operating procedures, so it should be easy to find a provider that is serious about it.

Can't afford a storage unit ? Try asking friends, family or neighbours if they could store some of your items....


Get Rid of Your Clutter

Junk Removal Company  While storing things you want to keep is an important part of how to sell a cluttered home, you also want to get rid of things you don’t intend to keep. Preparing a home for sale is the perfect opportunity to discard unwanted items. There are many of us who have a problem disposing of  things that we don’t use on a weekly or even a monthly basis.
Often times many of the items we end of holding onto have some kind of sentimental value. Psychologically it makes it harder for us to get rid of these things. The first step of course is to overcome that fear of saying good bye to something you have held onto. There are also some folks that hoard even what would be considered by most people to be “junk”.

If you have items in your home that will not be coming with you and you need to get rid of them one of the best solutions is a company like Junk Squad or 1-800- Got Junk. These companies will come out to your home and haul away any of your unwanted clutter. Big or small it doesn’t matter. These companies will take just about anything. Pricing will be dependent on what you are getting rid of. The cost will be impacted by the size and weight of what you are getting removed.

Another great way of getting rid of things you no longer need or want is to give them away to charity. Old clothes, coats and shoes are the perfect thing to give to a charity. Not only will you be putting a smile on the face of someone who really needs it, your home will look better in the process. Some folks also like to have a yard sale as well to get rid of excess clutter. As the saying goes one mans junk is another mans treasure.

Get A Professional Cleaning

Professional House Cleaning  Depending on your personality, this may be a difficult move to make – even if it is a small thing. Some people take pride in keeping a clean house, and many have spent years working to ensure that their homes are spotless. However, unless you happen to run your own cleaning service, you will probably benefit from the skills of a professional. While a professional cleaning really doesn’t necessarily get rid of clutter it can dramatically change a homes final appearance after you have tackled the heavy lifting and removed the bigger items from your home.

Some cleaning companies specialize in prepping houses for sale, and can do an amazingly in-depth cleaning job in a short amount of time. Once you have removed as much of the clutter as you can, bringing in a cleaner is the next best step to get your home ready for sale. From carpet cleaning to dusting the mini blinds, they can whip your home into shape – making it stand out to buyers through pictures and in person.



Now that the house is clean and de-cluttered, it's time to work on the presentation.  You want the home to look it's best in photos and for showings.  Even if you don't have tons of updates that buyers are looking for doesn't mean that you can't feature other aspects of the home like floor plan. lighting, fireplace and more...

Create vignettes that highlight areas of the house that buyers might be attracted too like a mudroom, fireplace, wide entry

Think about adjusting the furniture arrangement so that the rooms have better flow and show off the space and functionality. Ask a friend or neighbour for their honest opinion or hire a home stager

Add some accent pieces with colour like pillows, flowers, towels, shower curtain, art, spruce up the space!  This makes a space look better in photos and in person.  If you can't afford new items ask a friend or family member if they have anything you could borrow!

During showings (and your photos) have all the curtains drawn back -letting the light in and have all of the lights on!

For extra oumph!  Bake some cookies or light some candles for a welcoming and warm feeling !

If you've got a tight budget to prep your home for sale, don't fret - make it look the absolute best that it can! And be realistic when working with your realtor when it comes to pricing and comparisons. 

Bathroom staging: Love this whole website!