Add Bathroom Technology for a Smart Remodel

Like it or not, technology is changing the way we see and hear things every day. These days, when considering a remodel of any room in the house, homeowners are integrating new technology into their plans, including bathroom technology.

Feb 24, 2017

Like it or not, technology is changing the way we see and hear things every day. And a remodel of any room in the house should incorporate some use of smart home technology. But, even in the bathroom, you say? Yes, bathroom technology is a thing and an array of products are available to make this room a tech showcase.

Bathroom Luxury

If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, there are many options to think about and possibly include in your plans. Bathroom technology can give you state-of-the-art, spa-like luxury in your own home. There are smart toilets that clean themselves, bathtubs with lighting like a swimming pool, and high-tech lighting for showers. For instance, a smart home system with different colored light bulbs for atmosphere can be controlled by an app, or you can install hands-free faucets with automatic soap dispensers. And you never have to miss your favorite program to take a bath or shower because the new flat screen TV you installed is visible from all angles of the bathroom. Your new showerhead can even incorporate smart home technology, with a wireless speaker that can easily be removed for charging. These smart devices and other bathroom technology products are available at Best Buy and at Lowes in Redding — and best of all they are easy to install.

Convenience and Comfort

Bathroom technology can also make you really comfortable — light therapy and heated toilet seats are options that spring to mind. Of course heated towel racks have been around for a long time as have heated floors, but the smart bathroom floor of the near future will sound an alarm if someone falls. Because your phone is always with you, docking drawers with charging stations are convenient for keeping your smartphone or other device always charged and ready to go when you are. The drawers can also be equipped with electrical outlets for hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, and the like.

You may be thinking that with technology changing so rapidly, won’t your remodel be out dated practically before you finish? Actually, you can replace most of these items without need for a complete re-do. Replacing a toilet, for instance, is really low cost. Lighting can also be changed with little effort or expense.

Ordinary people are recognizing that they need to get more integrated with their electronics. In the case of the bathroom, It is literally opening doors for those people while enabling them to feel the luxury of their own 10-star spa. Don’t mistakenly think of these features as simply luxury items. The future buyer of your home will most likely view smart technology products as essential, and any house without them might appear outdated. You don’t need to do all these upgrades at once, but if you are remodeling, think to the future.

Image Source: StockSnap.io

12 Trending Designs to Bring Into Your Home Today

Houzz looks back at their latest stories to help you look ahead to your next design project.

Houzz Contributor, Mitchell Parker

Good design is all about the little things. A seemingly small decision or maneuver can pay off to create something big and captivating. Looking back on our articles for this week, we noticed design moves so clever that they make the entire room stand out. Consider including one of these ideas in your next project. And if something here grabs you, be sure to click the link to dive deeper into the story it came from.

1. Bold countertop and backsplash color. If you get inspired by colorful spaces, let this Australian home be your muse. You may not think that a vibrant green countertop would work, but one look at its combination with an equally vivid green backsplash and light wood cabinets, and you could become a convert.

Laminate countertops are making a comeback, and they’re an affordable option that you can customize in any color you want.

Read more about this colorful home

2. Disappearing dining table. Dining space can be hard to come by in some homes. In this 835-square-foot condo, a suspended and recessed compartment beneath the TV opens to reveal a slide-out shelf that extends to create a desk or table surface.

Read more about this hideaway table

3. Accent wall to hide the TV. Despite some reports that feature walls are fading, interior designer, color specialist and Houzz writer Jennifer Ott argues that’s just not the case. “I continue to evangelize for accent walls because they are one of the quickest and easiest ways to inject your own personality into a space,” she writes.

A black- or dark-painted feature wall can make unwanted elements disappear, as is the case in this living room, where the black screen of the TV is virtually nonexistent.

Discover more reasons to embrace accent walls

4. Window wrapped in tile. Graphic tile is a great way to bring pattern and movement to an otherwise white kitchen. But another terrific tip is to wrap that tile all the way around a window on the backsplash wall to give the appearance of a wallpaper effect.

See more backsplashes with graphic tile

5. Black marble countertops. Interior designer and Houzz writer Yanic Simard showed us the versatile beauty of black marble with all the ways it can be used to bring drama and elegance throughout a home. One highlight: countertops. “A dark stone counter makes an excellent pairing with a deep cabinet color,” he writes. “You can break up the darkness with a light backsplash and some shimmering metallic accents. Nobody will want to eat in the dining room again.”

See more reasons to love black marble

6. Field tile feature wall in the shower. Using encaustic tile to cover an entire bathroom could get costly. A more affordable option is to create a smaller feature section in your shower with a solid-color border. Keep the rest of the tile simple, such as white subway, and you’ve got a stunning, affordable design feature.

Read more about this inspiring bathroom

7. Decorative shower drain. In the same shower as the previous photo, move your eyes down from the graphic feature wall and you’ll find this decorative shower drain. It goes to show that no matter how insignificant an element is in your space, there’s always room to have a little fun with design.

See the rest of this bathroom

8. Ceiling treatment. Just as looking down at the shower drain can spark a little creativity, so too can looking up to the ceiling. The homeowners of this Florida home hired a custom artist to paint a scene depicting the night sky.

Read more about this fun children’s bathroom

9. Outdoor furniture indoors. This little design trick is worth repeating time and again. If you live by the water, have kids or pets, or are involved in any activity that may cause abnormal wear and tear on your furniture, consider upholstering your pieces in outdoor fabric. It’s easier to clean and holds up better to active use.

Read more about this modern lake house

10. Old shutter as a display board. If you have a home office, chances are you have some sort of display board for mementos, notes and reminders. If you prefer not to drill, hammer or pin anything into your walls (hello, renters), consider leaning an old shutter against the wall behind your desk, and use clips to secure things.

Get more ideas for inspirational pinboards

11. Wall-hung storage system. Sometimes a bulky storage case or bookshelf can take up a lot of visual and physical space. To keep the floor area free and clear, try a customizable wall-mounted shelf system like the one shown here. You can get creative with the size and location of each shelf to create a functional configuration that can work around almost any fixed element.

Read more about this live-work home

12. Mirrors behind shelves. Every designer has a bag of tricks to bring life and style to a room. Here, a designer used antique mirror to add a reflective element to a richly hued living room in London.

8 Ways to Create a Warm and Welcoming White Kitchen

You can have your white kitchen and visual interest too. Use these ideas to make your cooking space stand out.

Houzz Contributor, Veronica Solomon

An all-white room isn’t as simple as it may seem. If not done properly, the room can feel stark or boring. This is especially true when it comes to kitchens. There are so many hard surfaces in this space — countertops, flooring, appliances, cabinetry — that a white kitchen can end up feeling sterile.

But there are plenty of ways to use materials, light and texture to make the kitchen feel warm and inviting. Here are eight tips to help you plan the white kitchen of your dreams.

1. Layer Shades of White

Avoid a sterile look by mixing whites. If you use just one shade, the room can end up looking flat. Instead, choose three or four shades of white and place them on different materials around the kitchen. This will add dimension and interest throughout the space.

While you are bringing in different shades of white, avoid mixing warm whites with cool whites. Warm tones look more yellow, and cool tones look more blue. Most paint retailers will present their warm whites and cool whites separately, which will help you find whites in the same group.

My go-to warm whites are White Flour by Sherwin-Williams, White Dove by Benjamin Moore and Nude by Behr. For cool whites, I recommend White Diamond by Benjamin Moore, Designer White by Pratt & Lambert and Delicate White by PPG Pittsburgh Paints.

Why this white kitchen works:
Three Benjamin Moore whites come together in this Texas kitchen. It has Titanium on the walls, Chantilly Lace on the ceiling, and Simply White on the trim and cabinets. The slightly different shades on each surface give the room dimension and add visual interest where the trio of paints meet, such as above the sink and doorways.

2. Use a Statement-Making Material

A well-designed white kitchen will depend on the finish materials used in the space. Materials like Carrara marble have strong visual appeal and instantly make a statement, even in a white-on-white environment.

As a general rule, limit materials with a lot of movement (such as the flowing patterns in marble) to just one element, usually the backsplash or countertop. Choosing subtler materials for other surfaces allows the statement-maker to shine.

Why this white kitchen works: The natural marble slab instantly draws your attention in this kitchen because the other materials and fixtures are more subdued. This lets the island, and its marble veins, be the star.

3. Bring On Texture

Bringing in materials with various textures — both tactile and visual— adds depth to a predominantly white kitchen. This can be done by mixing shiny with matte and rough with smooth for a dynamic look.

Why this white kitchen works: These textured pendant lights make a strong visual statement against the white cabinets while balancing the wood flooring. A kitchen that could have otherwise looked stark now feels warm and welcoming.

4. Add Accent Colors

Splashes of color in a white kitchen help play up the cabinetry. Choose a small number of contrasting colors — one, two or maybe three. Then repeat them in accessories to pull the theme together. Places to try adding a bit of color include seating, lighting, countertop canisters, rugs, backsplashes and hardware.

Why this white kitchen works: This kitchen injects bright colors into the seating, lighting and a memo board on the wall. Together, these colors give the room a friendly vibe while keeping the kitchen feeling white and bright. And they draw the eye from one part of the room to another, so you can enjoy every corner.

5. Take Advantage of Natural Light

Natural light from a window or skylight is a great benefit for any kitchen, but especially for a white kitchen because it bolsters the bright and airy feel you were going for in the first place.

Why this white kitchen works: The large set of windows above the sink lets ample light filter in throughout the day. The light is amplified by glass fronts on the upper cabinets. This feature takes advantage of all that light, reflecting it around the space and into adjacent rooms.

Tip: Window treatments in adjoining rooms can make a difference too. Consider using shades that can be pulled up completely in the daytime. This will allow even more natural light to filter into your kitchen.

6. Provide Softness

Fabrics bring pattern and softness into a white kitchen. Window treatments are an easy way to do this. You can also bring in fabrics through floor runners or other smaller rugs, or choose bar stools covered in fabric or leather instead of wood.

Why this white kitchen works: Roman shades with a subtle geometric pattern definitely help soften this kitchen. They are tailored and clean, and can be pulled up to maximize natural light entering the kitchen.

7. Top the Island

Let the kitchen island stand apart from the rest of your work surfaces by topping it with a different color or material. This bit of contrast also breaks up the room and provides your eyes with a nice resting place.

Why this white kitchen works: The wooden countertop on the island creates a center point in the room that feels as if it belongs because it echoes the floor material with its top and the cabinetry color with its base.

8. Bring Texture to the Backsplash

A white backsplash can be a great focal point, even if it’s all white. You can create this interest by using a pattern or textured material, such as mosaic stone, a three-dimensional tile, painted brick or a herringbone pattern.

Because the backsplash is one of the first things you see as you walk into a kitchen, and because it is such a small area, don’t be afraid to go bold with your pattern or textured pick.

Why this white kitchen works: Marble tiles in a herringbone pattern give life to the backsplash, which stretches from one wall all the way to the kitchen’s peninsula. These tiles, with their hints of gray and off-white, bring out the pattern without overwhelming.

Selling? Low-Cost Home Improvement Fixes that Make Your Home Shine

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Fortunately many fixes can be done quickly and with a small budget. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition.

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:

1. Address the Heart of the Home

In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:

  • New cabinet hardware
  • New faucets
  • Installing a new backsplash
  • Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
  • Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether

2. Update Switch Plate Covers

Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.

3. Beautify the Bathroom

An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.

New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.

4. Address Storage

Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.

5. Deep Clean for a Good Return

If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.

6. Boost Curb Appeal

Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.

7. Improve the First Impression

As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.

8. Add a Coat of Paint

Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.

9. Update Lighting

While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.

10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz

Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked.

 

12 Unique Antique Store Finds and What to Do With Them

See the accessories one decorator always buys when she spots them — as long as she gets there first.

Houzz Contributor, Charmean Neithart

I get asked fairly often where I find the accessories in my projects. More often than not my answer is antique stores. “Antiquing” is my favorite type of hunting — and sometimes my favorite contact sport, as well.

Antique stores offer one-of-a-kind objects, reasonable pricing and instant gratification. Beware, though, of competitive shoppers eyeing the object you just inquired about. It’s best to wear flats for your next stop at an antique store; you might have to do some fancy footwork.

It’s helpful to know what you are looking at as you wander through, specifically, whether a piece is truly vintage or contemporary. And there are a handful of objects that I always buy if I find them. These objects are on the “buy now, ask later” list: If I see one of these objects I just buy it and then figure out where it will go later.

For some people, this may go against sensible purchasing behavior. However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed up something interesting only to find it gone 10 minutes later. Oh, if I only had a nickel for every time that happened. So here is my “buy it now” list for those of you who like to antique.

Suzanis. A Suzani is a type of textile, usually from Uzbekistan or other Central Asian countries. I prefer the vintage Suzanis and use them in many applications, such as this beautiful piece that has been mounted behind a bed. They can also be draped over sofas, used for upholstery, and made into pillows.

The circular designs are embroidered and display bright colors. The circular shapes symbolize the sun and moon and also you will typically see flowers, vines and sometimes animals in the designs. They often were used as wedding gifts as part of a dowry.

Foo dogs. If I come across a great pair of foo dogs I always leash those puppies up and bring them home. Usually bright colors, sometimes old and sometimes new, foo dogs are eye-catching accessories for many styles of room.

Headless sculptures. This is just my quirkiness coming through, but I really like a headless sculpture. Authentic and classic, this type of sculpture adds a layer of culture and sophistication to a room.

The age of a piece will be reflected in price. Typically, the older a piece the more expensive it is. Also look for sculpture that has been artistically mounted. A tabletop size piece should cost anywhere from $100 to $300; very old pieces can be quite a bit more.

Elephants. I met a beautiful, majestic elephant in Thailand many years ago. I was able to feed him and take beautiful pictures that I cherish. I’m always reminded of these animals’ peaceful, protective mannerisms when I see replicas in antique stores. I was told that, traditionally, finding an elephant with its trunk up is good luck. OK — I can use some of that.

Blanc de Chine. You can find both old and contemporary versions of these white porcelain pieces originating from Dehua, China. Old versions can date back to the 1600s; these are very expensive. Typically I come across tabletop-sized statues that depict Chinese characters and animals. The size shown here usually costs around $400.

Porcupine quill accessories. Quill accessories can be vintage or reproductions. Old pieces such as small boxes and frames will be very expensive. The vintage pieces were typically made by Native Americans who collected the porcupine needles that were shed naturally by the animals. They developed intricate styles of weaving using these needles. Modern reproductions, such as this mirror, are striking with their black and cream palette.

African stools. I often come across these stools, sometimes called King’s stools or Ashanti stools.Their organic shapes and carving details look great next to sofas and chairs in modern and traditional spaces. They can cost anywhere from $200 to $500.

Midcentury pottery. I always snatch up groupings of multicolored pottery pieces when I find good ones. I prefer ’50s and ’60s era pieces, which come in a variety of sizes. Singles can be used as vases or sculpture, and groupings are great on sideboards and mantels.

Vintage commercial signs. Vintage signs large and small can be placed in rooms for an eclectic touch that adds whimsy and nostalgia to a space. Large ones can can be propped up in a corner, and smaller ones can be mounted just about anywhere. Try mixing in smaller signs with a photo collage on a wall or over a bed.

Vintage radios. Vintage radios are easy to find and I always enjoy inspecting their knobs and dials. I look for ’50s-era radios and interesting colors and add them to sideboards, mantels and coffee tables. If they work, that’s a bonus.

Vintage suitcases. Old suitcases are best when used in groupings, but just as fun in singles. I use them as end tables, coffee tables or just as sculpture. I always open these up and check their condition, but signs of wear are good — it adds patina to a room.

Vintage globes. Another easy find in antique stores, vintage globes are great as standalone pieces or tabletop accessories. I love the very old ones that have neutral colors, but the multicolored school style is fun too, especially in homes with children learning about history and geography.

Which of These Patio Umbrellas is Right For Your Home?

Spruce up your patio with one of these stylish umbrellas.

By Abbey DeHart

What if someone could drive by your house every day and have a look inside at how you decorated, what was hung on the walls, what colors you used inside your bedrooms, as well as how neat and tidy you kept things? It would certainly make you adjust the way you decorate and clean, right?

But one aspect of your home you may forget about is the patio. Your patio space is a direct reflection of your style, and neighbors and friends can see it without even entering your home—yet it’s all too often overlooked! It can be difficult to make choices regarding your patio style or simply to find the money or desire to spruce it up the way you’d hoped, but a few small updates can really make a difference.

A drab outdoor space can quickly be transformed with the right patio umbrella and accessories. Maybe you don’t love your patio furniture, but don’t have the budget to replace it? Fear not! An affordable umbrella in a bright color or bold pattern can easily update your space and make it more warm and inviting.

Let’s consider some unique opportunities for ways to update your outdoor spaces with patio umbrella styles that are outside the norm.

The Standard Umbrella

The standard patio umbrella comes as a solid color, usually a muted neutral or a bold bright color. These patio umbrellas are the what most people gravitate to because they are safe and add class and comfort to your space in a matter of minutes. If you like the look but want to mix things up, start by adding accessories.

For example, consider hanging decorative string lights inside of your umbrella for that “wow” factor during a warm summer evening when cooking out.

Another fun way to change up the traditional umbrella is to select one with a bold pattern and mix and match the umbrella patterns with coordinating patterns on the patio cushions or pillows. This is a fun way to embolden your space without spending too much money.

The Half Umbrella

Have a smaller space? Consider a half umbrella over a couple of lounge chairs. This small umbrella has a cool, casual vibe and is particularly unexpected in an urban setting. It’s a fun option that gives even the smallest patio the dose of personality it deserves and makes your small backyard or balcony feel more like a retreat.

The Cantilever Umbrella

The cantilever umbrella is a freestanding umbrella that looks great over a set of lounge chairs. This umbrella can shift directions to create more shade and gives an impressive spa-like look for people who want to make a true statement on their patio or deck. This umbrella is best for larger spaces and larger budgets, but it’s worth the money! Pair it with some umbrella lights and you have the perfect outdoor party space.

Patio Decorating Tips

Truth be told, a few quick fixes can turn even the most boring, outdated patio or deck into a fun, vibrant entertainment space. If you have basic patio furniture and a limited budget, focus on these key tips to bring your space to life:

  1. Choose accessories that speak to your taste. Whether they’re simple or bold, patterned or plain, bright or muted is up to you!
  2. Add lights. String lights, solar-powered lanterns, torches and even fire pits to add some fun and whimsy to your space at night. There are so many fun options for lighting that create a calming ambiance your guests won’t forget.
  3. Make it comfortable. Make sure that your patio cushions are soft and clean, and don’t be afraid to mix patterns and step outside your box.
  4. Incorporate greenery. If you have extra room in your budget, pick up some oversized pots and pretty plants and set them around the sides of your deck or on the stairs. Mix the plants with options from a greenhouse or nursery, and add some spiked plants or longer vines. Pretty plants always bring coziness to a space.

And most of all? Embrace your own unique style! This is the space that shows off your style to everyone who can see it, so make it the haven you want it to be.

Abbey DeHart is passionate about decor, crafts and DIYS and writes for several publications, including  Plaid Crafts, Angie’s List, HomeRight and The Home Depot. She provides tips on improving your patio area with different outdoor furniture and cool patio umbrella ideas and options.

8 Steps You Need to Know Before Redecorating Your Home

Here’s how to prioritize your game plan for your room makeover.

Houzz Contributor, Karen Egly-Thompson

If you have a DIY decorating project on your horizon but don’t know where to start, here’s a practical guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Commit to a Budget and Timeline

First, figure out your total project budget. If you skip this step, you’ll likely spend much more than you anticipated and make poor purchasing decisions you’ll later regret.

Also pick a date to complete your project by, even if you don’t have a looming reason to do so. Creating a complete-by date will fuel your project so it can take flight. Completing one stage of a project informs the next and the next. Otherwise, approaching your project piecemeal will delay completion, if you even complete it at all.

Set up a good system to keep track of your expenditures. I use an Excel spreadsheet, but even a spiral notebook can work for smaller projects. The key is to keep it updated.

Here’s an example of how I keep a running log of project expenses. While the main goal is tracking the total amount spent, I also indicate the store (which I left off here because stores will vary based on your location and preference), method of payment, general description and any notes, such as delivery fees — useful information that may come in handy later.

Keep all of your receipts together in one location. You can refer to them easily for warranty information and returns, if needed. I use a small zip pouch made for holding pens and pencils while I’m out shopping. After I return and enter them into the spreadsheet, I stapled each receipt to a piece of paper and store that neatly in a project folder.

See more tips on creating a decorating budget

2. Evaluate Your Needs and Lifestyle

Separating wants and needs is a hard one. Prioritize your needs by first creating a list of the furniture and accessories you envision going into your space. List any work you want to do, like painting or wallpapering, too. Then rate each item 1 through 5, with 1 indicating an absolute must and 5 reflecting a nonnecessity. Reorder the items on the list with the necessities at the top and the more wishful items at the bottom. Involve other family members in this process. They may identify overlooked items.

Also, be honest about your family’s lifestyle requirements today instead of at some far-off idyllic future date. For example, if the kiddos use your family room as a playspace, include toy storage on your list. You may have some child safety needs too. Also note any special concerns about pets, such as shed fur or the potential for furniture to get clawed.

3. Decide What Stays and What Goes

Based on your list, identify any pieces of furniture or accessories that you absolutely want to keep in the space. Remove the pieces you don’t plan to reuse; consider donating them if they’re in good shape or selling them online or through a local consignment store.

4. Draw a Preliminary Furniture Plan

If your project is small, this step may not be necessary. However, if you’re buying new furniture or just considering a new configuration, it’s extremely helpful to try out pieces in different locations to see what fits and what doesn’t. The last thing you want is to end up with a too-big piece of furniture. You’ll need a tape measure or laser measuring tool to measure your space and a scale ruler to draw it to scale. A simple sketch illustrating only the outside dimensions is all that’s necessary.

If you don’t have these items or don’t feel comfortable with drawing to scale, an alternative is to “draw” the outlines of furniture with masking tape on your floor or cut furniture-size shapes out of butcher paper to maneuver around on the floor.

Don’t forget about circulation space. Ideally, you’ll want to keep 18 inches between the edge of the sofa and the coffee table. Maintain 36 inches for comfortable general circulation. Since you may not have found specific furniture pieces yet and don’t have detailed furniture dimensions, you may need to revise the size of some furniture pieces as your project progresses. Nonetheless, this exercise is a good starting point.

Also measure your entrance door and the pathway to the room, including building elevators if you live in a high-rise. Bring these notes with you when shopping. If there are any delivery dimension concerns, you can address them then and there.

See more on how to get your furniture arrangement right

5. Concentrate on Big Items First

Focus first on the big-impact items, then concentrate on smaller accessories. Too often people get hung up on a small detail that can derail the flow of the bigger items. The idea is to work from large to small.

Find furniture. Unless you’re lucky to find the furniture you want in stock, most furniture takes eight to 12 weeks for fabrication. However, even in-stock furniture may not be delivered right away. If available, get a swatch of the upholstery or finish sample to help with other room selections.

Unless you’re comfortable working with a complex color palette, minimizing your scheme to two colors, as in the space here, will make shopping easier — and your space will look sharp and put-together.

Find furniture in the Shop section

Work the walls. Compared with any other design material, wall paint gives a room the most bang for your buck. I find it easiest to select a wall paint color or wallpaper after the furniture is selected. You have much more leeway with paint color choices than furniture upholstery. Plan to get your space prepped and painted prior to the furniture delivery.

Watch now: How to Paint a Wall Faster

Hit the ceiling. Color instead of conventional white on the ceiling is another cost-effective attention-grabber, especially if you have crown molding to separate it from the walls, like in this living room.

6. Move Toward the Mediums

After you’ve figured out your furniture layout and color scheme, focus on finding the midscale items that will pull your space together, such as an area rug. Your scaled drawing will also come in handy to see how prospective rugs will work with your furniture layout.

Window treatments like Roman shades and drapery can offer lots of style compared to run-of-the-mill Venetian blinds. They can minimize less-than-perfect windows and help save on energy bills, too. New window treatments don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Ribbon-trimmed cordless shades like the ones shown here here can be ordered online for $100 to $125.

A feature light fixture, like the one in this dining room, can become a stunning design focus.

 

7. Save the Small Stuff for Last

Fill in your scheme with decorative accessories toward the end of your project. You’ll be able to see what areas need attention and have a better sense of scale, especially with artwork. With the furniture in place, you’ll also have easy access to key dimensions, like the clearance between shelves.

I also like to shop for table lamps, particularly lamps that will sit behind a sofa, after the furniture is delivered so I can see how all the heights work or don’t work together. Cord lengths and switch locations are also easier to evaluate when the furniture is in place.

8. Leave Room for the Unexpected

You may come across something surprising in your decorating journey that has special meaning or even adds a bit of humor, like these Hulk hand bedpost toppers. Don’t discount originality or quirkiness; it’s what makes your home truly yours.

More
Decorating 101: How to Start a Decorating Project
28 Design Ideas Coming to Homes Near You in 2017

5 Housewarming Gift Ideas for Small Apartments

Ditch the candles. Here are 5 housewarming gifts that won’t get regifted.

Living in a small apartment requires serious Tetris skills to store items that you don’t use every day.  We can’t give the gift of extra space to our friends who move into small apartments, but we can certainly be more thoughtful when it comes to housewarming gifts. So ditch the candles and give a housewarming gift that won’t get regifted.

 

Gift Cards to Local Stores

Do some research on Yelp for brunch, coffee, dessert, spa, dry cleaning, gym, art classes or whatever your friend loves or may need. Check out the reviews and give a gift card to the top-rated business in the local area. If you are feeling generous, give your friend a tour of the new neighborhood by providing a list of things to do along with the gift cards to the top-rated businesses for each of the things to do.

 

Succulents

Trend alert! Flowers are gorgeous, but these tiny succulent plants last a long time and are easy to take care of. These charming plants can be placed on bookshelves, windowsills, coffee tables or you can even keep them floating in a hanging terrarium. These succulents have become a staple in home décor and are sold pretty much anywhere! You can find them at your local garden stores, pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens, grocery stores like Whole Foods or ShopRite and online.

 

Blankets or Slippers

Give the gift of leisure. Nothing can replace the awesome feeling of lounging on a couch under a soft blanket or walking around in fuzzy slippers. Placing a blanket on a couch or a bed is a good trick to make the room look cozier. And they can be folded and put away easily.

 

Gift Cards to Print Pictures

Giving a picture frame can be risky. What looks great on a store display may not necessarily look great with the (new) style your friend is going for. Give a gift card to a store that prints photos so your friend can finally print the pictures on his or her phone. Snapfish and Shutterfly are two websites that allow you to upload pictures and print. You can also print pictures on coasters, books, mugs, calendars and many other products that your friend can decorate the new apartment with!

 

Smart Plugs and Switches

Smart plugs connect the electrical outlet with the device you are plugging in and lets you turn the device on or off remotely or at a scheduled time.  Perfect for the chronic “did-I-leave-my-curling-iron-on” worrier or the globe trotter who wants to turn the light on and off when he or she is traveling.

 

 

Make your home smarter. Visit coldwellbanker.com/smart-home for more information.

8 Steps You Need to Know Before Redecorating Your Home

 

Here’s how to prioritize your game plan for your room makeover.

Here’s how to prioritize your game plan for your room makeover.

Houzz Contributor, Karen Egly-Thompson

If you have a DIY decorating project on your horizon but don’t know where to start, here’s a practical guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Commit to a Budget and Timeline

First, figure out your total project budget. If you skip this step, you’ll likely spend much more than you anticipated and make poor purchasing decisions you’ll later regret.

Also pick a date to complete your project by, even if you don’t have a looming reason to do so. Creating a complete-by date will fuel your project so it can take flight. Completing one stage of a project informs the next and the next. Otherwise, approaching your project piecemeal will delay completion, if you even complete it at all.

Set up a good system to keep track of your expenditures. I use an Excel spreadsheet, but even a spiral notebook can work for smaller projects. The key is to keep it updated.

Here’s an example of how I keep a running log of project expenses. While the main goal is tracking the total amount spent, I also indicate the store (which I left off here because stores will vary based on your location and preference), method of payment, general description and any notes, such as delivery fees — useful information that may come in handy later.

Keep all of your receipts together in one location. You can refer to them easily for warranty information and returns, if needed. I use a small zip pouch made for holding pens and pencils while I’m out shopping. After I return and enter them into the spreadsheet, I stapled each receipt to a piece of paper and store that neatly in a project folder.

See more tips on creating a decorating budget

2. Evaluate Your Needs and Lifestyle

Separating wants and needs is a hard one. Prioritize your needs by first creating a list of the furniture and accessories you envision going into your space. List any work you want to do, like painting or wallpapering, too. Then rate each item 1 through 5, with 1 indicating an absolute must and 5 reflecting a nonnecessity. Reorder the items on the list with the necessities at the top and the more wishful items at the bottom. Involve other family members in this process. They may identify overlooked items.

Also, be honest about your family’s lifestyle requirements today instead of at some far-off idyllic future date. For example, if the kiddos use your family room as a playspace, include toy storage on your list. You may have some child safety needs too. Also note any special concerns about pets, such as shed fur or the potential for furniture to get clawed.

3. Decide What Stays and What Goes

Based on your list, identify any pieces of furniture or accessories that you absolutely want to keep in the space. Remove the pieces you don’t plan to reuse; consider donating them if they’re in good shape or selling them online or through a local consignment store.

4. Draw a Preliminary Furniture Plan

If your project is small, this step may not be necessary. However, if you’re buying new furniture or just considering a new configuration, it’s extremely helpful to try out pieces in different locations to see what fits and what doesn’t. The last thing you want is to end up with a too-big piece of furniture. You’ll need a tape measure or laser measuring tool to measure your space and a scale ruler to draw it to scale. A simple sketch illustrating only the outside dimensions is all that’s necessary.

If you don’t have these items or don’t feel comfortable with drawing to scale, an alternative is to “draw” the outlines of furniture with masking tape on your floor or cut furniture-size shapes out of butcher paper to maneuver around on the floor.

Don’t forget about circulation space. Ideally, you’ll want to keep 18 inches between the edge of the sofa and the coffee table. Maintain 36 inches for comfortable general circulation. Since you may not have found specific furniture pieces yet and don’t have detailed furniture dimensions, you may need to revise the size of some furniture pieces as your project progresses. Nonetheless, this exercise is a good starting point.

Also measure your entrance door and the pathway to the room, including building elevators if you live in a high-rise. Bring these notes with you when shopping. If there are any delivery dimension concerns, you can address them then and there.

See more on how to get your furniture arrangement right

5. Concentrate on Big Items First

Focus first on the big-impact items, then concentrate on smaller accessories. Too often people get hung up on a small detail that can derail the flow of the bigger items. The idea is to work from large to small.

Find furniture. Unless you’re lucky to find the furniture you want in stock, most furniture takes eight to 12 weeks for fabrication. However, even in-stock furniture may not be delivered right away. If available, get a swatch of the upholstery or finish sample to help with other room selections.

Unless you’re comfortable working with a complex color palette, minimizing your scheme to two colors, as in the space here, will make shopping easier — and your space will look sharp and put-together.

Find furniture in the Shop section

Work the walls. Compared with any other design material, wall paint gives a room the most bang for your buck. I find it easiest to select a wall paint color or wallpaper after the furniture is selected. You have much more leeway with paint color choices than furniture upholstery. Plan to get your space prepped and painted prior to the furniture delivery.

Watch now: How to Paint a Wall Faster

Hit the ceiling. Color instead of conventional white on the ceiling is another cost-effective attention-grabber, especially if you have crown molding to separate it from the walls, like in this living room.

6. Move Toward the Mediums

After you’ve figured out your furniture layout and color scheme, focus on finding the midscale items that will pull your space together, such as an area rug. Your scaled drawing will also come in handy to see how prospective rugs will work with your furniture layout.

Window treatments like Roman shades and drapery can offer lots of style compared to run-of-the-mill Venetian blinds. They can minimize less-than-perfect windows and help save on energy bills, too. New window treatments don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Ribbon-trimmed cordless shades like the ones shown here here can be ordered online for $100 to $125.

A feature light fixture, like the one in this dining room, can become a stunning design focus.

 

7. Save the Small Stuff for Last

Fill in your scheme with decorative accessories toward the end of your project. You’ll be able to see what areas need attention and have a better sense of scale, especially with artwork. With the furniture in place, you’ll also have easy access to key dimensions, like the clearance between shelves.

I also like to shop for table lamps, particularly lamps that will sit behind a sofa, after the furniture is delivered so I can see how all the heights work or don’t work together. Cord lengths and switch locations are also easier to evaluate when the furniture is in place.

8. Leave Room for the Unexpected

You may come across something surprising in your decorating journey that has special meaning or even adds a bit of humor, like these Hulk hand bedpost toppers. Don’t discount originality or quirkiness; it’s what makes your home truly yours.

Add a Pop of Seasonal Color to Catch a Buyer’s Eye

A touch of color can go a long way in making your home standout.

The following is guest post from Patti Stern of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. All photos are example of design and staging work by PJ & Company Staging. 

If you’re getting your home ready to sell this spring, it’s the perfect season to add pops of trending colors to attract buyers and help your showing stand out from the competition. The following are some of our favorite tips for introducing colorful accents that will grab buyers’ attention and make them feel welcome from the moment they step foot on the front porch. And once they become engaged with the property, they’ll be more inclined to make an offer!

Front Porch
After cleaning up winter debris from the yard, a great way to attract buyers past the front door is to create an inviting porch with plenty of curb appeal. The easiest way to give a quick facelift for the season is with bright accents such as a beautiful welcome mat, floral wreath, colorful pillows placed on a bench or chair and potted seasonal flowers and greenery.

Entry

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Once the buyer steps into the home, create a welcoming entry with an eye-catching hallway runner in a bold patterns and colors. Pair the rug with an adjacent console table vignette using floral or grassy arrangements, a beautiful lamp and hanging mirror to set the inviting tone for the rest of the property.

Family Room/Living Room

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After freshening walls with neutral colors for a soft back drop, add dimension with colorful wall art that not only complements the rest of the room’s décor but enhances the room’s unique features.
Bring new life to sofas and chairs by adding accent pillows in trending spring colors and bold prints such as coral, turquoise, and green. Don’t forget to layer with a soft throw draped over an armrest that complements the color palette and adds a feeling of warmth and luxury.

Fresh Bedding

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An easy way to embrace the spring season in your bedrooms is by putting away heavy bedding and adding a white duvet or coverlet. Layer with accent pillows, shams, and a cozy throw in fresh hues such as floral prints in soft blues, greens, corals and yellows for a spring-like, peaceful feel. To complete the fresh look of the room, pair bedding accents with nature-inspired botanical wall art in complementary colors.

Inviting Touches in the Bathroom
To create a welcoming, spa-like ambience in the bathroom, our go-to accents include layering fresh, fluffy towels on countertops and racks, hanging a fresh shower curtain with bright patterns and hues and finishing with a plush bath mat to match. Other favorite touches are silky florals in creams, green succulents, colored glass vases or bottles, liquid hand soaps, candles and of course wall art.

 

patti-sternPatti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company has received Houzz 2015 and 2016 Awards for Customer Service. Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”