Crystal's Blog Corner

Time for an Open House: How to Stage Your Home for a Lucrative Sale


Selling your home used to be as simple as vacuuming the carpet and allowing people inside on an open-house day. Buyers want more out of their purchases today, however. They have a lot of choices in the marketplace. There's no reason why they should settle. If you're planning an open house, be sure to stage your home. Follow these guidelines for the best results.

Declutter Now

Potential buyers don't want to walk into a tiny house. This scenario is an immediate turnoff. Make the home look like it's double the size by removing clutter. Take out small appliances, stacked magazines, and other items. Aside from a centerpiece, there should only be decorative items on a table or counter.

Removing these items tells the buyers that you care about the home. This fact translates to rapid bids by multiple buyers. Leaving the clutter out can force visitors to seek other properties as alternatives.  

Rent Furniture

When it comes to staging, it's a good idea to go all out with rental furniture. Your couch and chairs may be in the space right now, but they aren't new or overly attractive. Give the home a new look with rental furniture.

Turn the bedrooms into huge spaces by comparing a twin vs full mattress. Pull the full bed from the room and let the twin do the visual talking. Your open-house visitors will be thrilled to see these large spaces although it's more of a visual trick at the time.

Remove Personal Items  

Your visitors don't want to see family photos of the current residents. It takes away from the visual fantasy that you want to convey. Remove personal items before the open house. Replace them with artwork or other focal points. The fantasy of living in the home must work for every person in the space. For this reason, it's always a good idea to let the real estate agent do the presentation instead of the homeowners.

Explain a Room With Staging  

Your home may have a strange corner or room that's not obvious with its purpose. Staging is a perfect time to explain that room by decorating it, reports U.S. News & World Report.

If the room works well as a breakfast nook, add a small table with matching chairs. You might add in details like coffee mugs in the middle of the table too. Allow the visitors to picture themselves in this space. It can be a selling point instead of a source of confusion.  

Simplify the Decor  

Remember that you're trying to create a fantasy during the open house. You want people to see themselves living in and enjoying the property for years to come. Keep the decor simple, suggests Realtor. Putting too much pizzazz or design into a home can turn off some buyers.

They can't see themselves living in a home with artwork or paint jobs that are too unusual. Stick to neutral colors and basic designs. Leave your artistic talents to the next house you purchase.  

Try the Mirror Trick  

No property is ever perfect. Someone will always find something negative to say about it. If you're concerned with the light in a room or its size, add mirrors to the walls, reports Forbes Magazine. The mirrors create a reflective environment so that the light bounces off all four walls.

The mirrors also give the appearance of a larger room. It's strictly a visual trick, but it does a lot for visitors moving through an open house. Try this suggestion in one room, however. Adding too many mirrors to the property can make it unsightly.  

Don't forget that proper pricing of your property goes along with staging. Price yourself out of the neighborhood, and no one will want to see your staging in the first place. Compare pricing with other properties in the area. Be fair with the amount so that your open house is busy and productive.


Upgrading Your Home’s Interior


So you have lived in your house for a while, and one day you have noticed that you need to do something different. It happens all the time. You find yourself after several years wanting to upgrade the interior in your home. Getting rid of the old to try out the new if a great idea when it comes to making your home lively. Whether is through remodeling, redecorating, or just adding some new things, you know what you like at that point and how it will spice up your home. 

The Living Room

Switching out old furniture is a great idea. You could try adding some leather furniture to make your living area a bit more modern. There’s nothing wrong with adding an oriental rug to the wooden floor of your living room that has a shape pattern with lively colors. You can also paint the room a different color, add new drapes to the window, buy new pillows along with other knick-knacks to bring some soft accents to the room as well. Instead of having the furniture placed the way the old furniture was, why not put it in various positions through the living area? This will look very inviting and appealing. This is the part of the home that most people see first. So you want to add some interior upgrades that will make it look nice and warm. When you love your living room enough to say that it’s dull and needs a change. Switching out the old and putting in the new has never looked so good. Perhaps just maybe you want to also change out the lamps. It would only make sense that your next move would be to come home and think about making it more appealing. 


The Kitchen

You can see that your kitchen needs a serious upgrade from the 1980s vibe that’s still going on. Changing out the wallpaper and repainting the other walls a vibrant color is one way to upgrade your kitchen interior. You can even get either stainless steel or black appliances. They create a sophisticated or sleek look to add to whatever decor you decide to go with. Look at your countertops. They could become granite and your kitchen cabinets could use some work as well. A nice wood and glass finish would work wonders. You have beautiful dishes, don’t hide them behind all that wood. Let them peak from the glass part of the kitchen cabinets. Also, your floor could also use a different tile on your floor. Instead of wood, why not a granite tile. It’s dark and adds this adventurous side to your kitchen you never thought possible. There is also the matter of taking everything out of the pantry and remodeling it for more space and some extra shelving. Maybe you should also get a new table set. There are many different ways you can make your kitchen look. 


The Bedroom

This is the place where you sleep and it’s supposed to be peaceful. So when you upgrade in your room, you need to make it look really good with lots of soft and quiet tones. You can add some green, soft yellow, a soft blue. You can switch out your old mattress for a latex mattress with some nicer bedding to compliment it. You can put plush carpeting on the floor so that when your feet touch it they are comfortable. A nice wooden furniture bedroom set would do wonders for your room. You should also think about getting some different shaped lamps and switching out the drapes as well. 

Upgrading the interior starts with you. Make some changes today!

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Sophia Belnap

Mistakes Buyers Make When Searching for Their First Home, and How to Avoid Them


Many starter-home purchases are driven primarily by price, which is understandable. But, there are so many other considerations involved in finding the right place, like square footage and location, to name just a few of the most consequential.

When looking for your first home, it’s critical to keep the most important considerations in mind so you don’t find yourself going down a real estate rabbit hole. Remember these common buyer mistakes to keep you on track.

Buyer mistake No. 1: Being seduced by the pretty stuff

Fresh paint, pretty throw pillows, nice bedding. They’re all decoration, and decoration can be dangerous for homebuyers. Don’t let it distract you from the house itself. How’s the floorplan? Does it work for your family? Is there enough square footage? Does the location make sense? These are among the factors that should be driving your purchase.

Buyer mistake No. 2: Searching for a home that fits your furniture

How many times have you heard a buyer on House Hunters say, "Our furniture won't fit in here." When you're buying a property that costs a couple hundred thousand dollars, it’s silly to hold back over a five-year-old, $1,000 couch. 

Buyer mistake No. 3: Getting too hung up on price

It’s easy to get a number stuck in your head and refuse to give up, but that figure might not be doable depending on your local real estate market. Raising your price range by $10,000 may vastly increase the available homes and may only mean another $50 per month. That’s one lunch out you can forgo to get what you really want.

Buyer mistake No. 4: Not trusting your gut

The price is right, the location is right, and the home has the right number of bedrooms and baths. But it just doesn’t feel right. You may not be able to put your finger on what it is that’s bothering you about a house, but if something’s nagging at you now, imagine what it will be like to live there. It could be your gut is trying to tell you something.

Buyer mistake No. 5: Ignoring the neighborhood

The hope is that any major problems with the home you’re looking at will show up on an inspection report, but other issues could pop up to derail your purchase or kill your enjoyment of the home once it belongs to you. A lot of the time, that has to do with the neighborhood.

That could mean a commercial area too close to home, a rundown house across the street, or some zoning changes that are bringing a ton of new multi-family units to the area and increasing traffic. Whatever it is that’s bothering you, think it through. You can always fix your home, but you can’t change the neighborhood.

Buyer mistake No. 6: Not thinking long term 

Maybe you think you’ll only be in this “starter home” for two years, and, therefore, the neighborhood isn’t all that important. As long as the house meets your approval, you’re good, right? According to a study by ValuePenguin, “the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13.3 years.” That varies depending on the location, however, of the 20 largest U.S. cities studied, the lowest median was 9.7 years in Denver.

Does that mean you’ll stay in this home for 10 years or more? Who knows. But if you’re a young couple planning to have kids in the next three-to-five years, let’s say, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure the home you buy now can accommodate that lifestyle change.

Buyer mistake No. 7: Thinking too long term 

By the same token, looking for a forever home when you’re newly married and/or just starting your careers and don’t know where your life may take you may not be the answer either.

Buyer mistake No. 8: Not considering the commute

No one moves two hours (each way) away from work because they enjoy the time in the car. A move away from the city center into the suburbs is typically driven by affordability, or, rather, a lack thereof. But, absorbing an exceptionally long commute may not be worth it in the long run. Buyers have to ask themselves, “How long is too long?”

But, asking yourself the question is only the beginning. If you think a one-hour commute each way will be fine, try it for a few days. Do a test run. It won’t be the same as having to do it day in and day out for years of your life, but it will give you a taste.

You’ll also need to consider things like:

• What happens if there is an accident on your ride home, which extends your one-hour commute even longer?
• Will you need daycare for your kids, and who is going to pick them up if you can’t get there in time?
• What will it do to your mental state?
• What about the financial hit—wear and tear on your car, extra gas, and tolls, daycare?

When you crunch the numbers and think about the logistics, you might see that it makes better sense to buy closer to work. 


Buyers: Hesitant or Decisive?

Buyers: Hesitant or Decisive?

Does thinking about buying real estate make you feel nervous or are you ready to plunge in? During the process of buying, you’ll probably be both hesitant and decisive. PJ shares Four Key Pivotal Hacks for confidently making real estate decisions.

Are you hesitant or decisive? Does thinking about buying real estate make you feel nervous or are you ready to plunge in?

During the process of buying real estate, you’ll probably be both hesitant and decisive. These are natural reactions you may think, but buying real estate is not a natural activity for most of us.

The key to a successful purchase lies in controlling both the urge to make snap decisions and the urge to change your mind about what you’ve already decided, that is, to <i>second guess yourself

• The downside of decisiveness involves reacting quickly to impressions, negative or otherwise, based on superficial information or details. “Definitely do not want to buy that one” reactions to out-dated but easily-changed decor or interior design may close the mind to otherwise-obvious benefits of the “good bones” or layout of the building, its location, and/or its price.

• Hesitancy may pop up when buyers are faced with signing on the dotted line to purchase a house or to take on very significant mortgage debt. Without confidence in <i>how</i> and <i>why</i> a property is chosen or a solid grounding in real estate basics, hesitancy can undermine great real estate opportunities, especially when fed by time constraints in hot markets.

Four of PJ’s Pivotal Hacks for Overcoming Decision Barriers

Buyers have many good reasons to be nervous or hesitant, but none of the reasons is an insurmountable barrier to making confident decisions.

To facilitate decision making, concentrate on shifting or transforming uninformed thinking into a constructive mindset. With the assistance of your real estate professional, pivot to an informed point of view.

In the following list of Four of PJ’s Pivotal Hacks for Overcoming Decision Barriers, you’ll discover Four Key Decision Barriers. Some will mirror your thinking; others could, although you may not realize this:

#1 Decision Barrier: No Real Estate Training

If you confidently make many decisions a day, or even an hour, in your day job, you may still find yourself hesitating with real estate. When you know your stuff, decisions come easy or at least easier. Buyers are not trained to buy real estate. They haven’t studied for years or had years of full-time work experience in the field. Most buyers are newbies.

#1 Pivotal Hack: Leverage Professional Expertise

You may not have done any of the above things to prepare to buy real estate, but all this intelligent, practical effort adds up to what real estate brokers and salespeople do to earn and maintain their licenses. Buying real estate involves many small decisions–more than most buyers make in their daily lives–which culminate in the “sign or not sign” decision. Leverage the experience and expertise of real estate professionals for your personal gain. They love that!

#2 Decision Barrier: Live with Your Mistakes

Online shopping has thrived because making returns is easy. Buy with a click; return the purchase for a full refund. With this degree of flexibility, who can resist buying. That’s not how real estate works. Once you buy there’s no quick, easy way out. We’ve all heard the horror stories about money-pit homes that drive the new buyers crazy or broke or both. Who wouldn’t worry that could happen to them?

#2 Pivotal Hack: Everything But Location Can Be Changed.

What can’t be altered is the location. Use a map to visualize what surrounds the property. Drive and walk the area. Consider what you want to be near and what you want to avoid. Are there noisy or smelly things nearby? What do you want to be within easy walking distance of? Then, to be sure about what you’re buying, make your offer to purchase contingent on a reliable home inspection, which you attend. Offer-wording will ensure the seller pays for discovered necessary repairs or you’ll share expenses, but if that doesn’t work out, you walk away without penalty. Most interior and landscape issues about a home can be changed or improved with renovation.

#3 Decision Barrier: Spending Money You Don’t Have

Mortgage worries keeping you awake at night? Be clear: it’s not the mortgage. Stress is caused by the pressure of repayment when you do not fully understand what you’re getting into and how to get out of it.

#3 Pivotal Hack: Leverage Mortgage Broker Expertise.

Mortgage Brokers (not mortgage bankers) work with many competitive-rate lenders. They shop their lender network for the best rate and terms for your mortgage. These licensed and regulated financial professionals act as an intermediary between you and potential lenders. Mortgage Brokers work on your behalf, even though most commonly they collect their fee from the lender. Brokers will take you through the application process including checking your credit score and helping you file an application that can be sent to many lenders over a short period to earn you the best rate and terms. Resource: National Association of Mortgage Brokers

#4 Decision Barrier: Too Many Choices to Make

Which neighborhood? Which style of home? Which street? Which price range? Which…? The goal is not merely to eliminate properties from your list. Your goal should be to determine the true potential of each property from your perspective and evaluate it as a possible home.

#4 Pivotal Hack: Consider Properties One at A Time

Concentrate on one property at a time. Rather than trying to keep all the properties and their details in your head, take notes or build a spreadsheet on paper or digitally. Many real estate professionals provide viewing checklists to help buyers easily keep track of details and relate them to buyer priorities. After viewing a property, evaluate it’s worth to you: Offer worthy? Needs more research? Why is it a definite “no”? Use professionals as sounding boards. Invest time developing your purchasing priority list. The expression “must-haves” may trivialize what is essential to the lifestyle and financial investment you want and need to make when you buy.

Before you start viewing properties, have this hesitant-decisive discussion with your real estate professional. The right mindset will get you the home you deserve.


House Buying Advice For Newly Engaged Couples


Buying a house is one of the most fun and exciting things newly engaged couples can do. Although it can come with some hassles and large costs it is a great way to set up security for the future. Aside from buying engagement rings buying a house together is often the next big step. Below are just a few simple tips to help make house buying a little simpler for newly engaged couples.



One of the most important factors when determining where to buy a house is to decide on the location. Deciding on a location for long term can often seem like a daunting task. When purchasing a house it is important to consider where your careers and interest might take you in the future.



Although this one seems simple it can often be a problem for some couples. This is especially true of couples who have never lived with a partner before. Buying and living in a house full time with someone does require some compromise. Try writing down the things you know you wont compromise on such as having a backyard or a big open kitchen. Not only does compromise make things go smoother but sometimes individuals can find things they never thought they would want.


Consider Kids

One thing to consider when purchasing a house as a newly engaged couple is to take into account if you are thinking about having kids. Even if it may seem far into the future sometimes it is better to buy a house with the extra room while you have the means and money.


Put The Title In Both Names

Many people overlook this fact but putting a house in both partners names not only helps to make things fair but it also adds a level of safety and security for each person. In the event of an untimely death or even a divorce the last thing couples want to worry about is who legally owns the home.


Rely On Both Credit Scores

Many banks and home finance companies offer better alternatives for individuals who pool their credit score together. Sometimes one credit score maybe lower and will often affect the cost of buying a house. By combining two credit scores together companies often have more to rely on. However if one persons score is very low it may be best to leave them out as it can cause the price of the home to rise.


Hire A Realtor

Some people overlook this step due to high costs however a realtor can be very beneficial in helping engaged couples to buy a new home. Not only do realtors have the most up-to-date information on new listings but they can also offer a ton of information on the house buying process.


Start Over

After purchasing a new home it is a great time to start over. Throwing out old used items that are broken or dirty is a great way to start fresh somewhere new. Starting with new furniture and decor is also a great way to build the home together with each others tastes combined.


Although there are a lot of things to take into account when buying a new home it should be a fun and exciting process. Another great tip for newly engaged couples looking to buy a house is to put everything in writing. Everything they want in a home as well as everything they expect to pay for and do in the home. Not only does this help to split cost and responsibilities but it also puts both partners on the same page.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Carol Evenson

How to Make Your Backyard Feel Like a Resort


Once summer arrives, we all go into vacation mode, right? But why should we only get to enjoy that feeling for a few weeks every year?! With a few simple updates to your outdoor space, you can be living that resort life all season long—and maybe even extend your summer well into the fall!

Multiple seating areas

An area for dining, another for lounging, maybe some seating around the fireplace or fire pit—now you have an outdoor space that’s perfect for entertaining, but also useful for every day. Creating a layered backyard will make it more useful, but will also make it feel more luxurious.

Cover it up

You can spend several thousand dollars on a pergola or patio cover, creating a permanent structure that extends your living space. But, a covered outdoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a cue from resorts and put up a big articulating umbrella. Catch a good sale and you might be able to find one for under $100 that’s large enough to provide cover over a dining table or outdoor living space. A shade sail is another inexpensive option that can help transform your outdoor space into a relaxation zone.

Add a bar

Sidle up to this three-piece bar, currently on sale for just $209, and your intimate get-together is now a party. It’s also perfect for hanging with the family. Pack an outdoor fridge or cooler with drinks or drink fixins’ and no one has to go inside and get the floor wet.

Up your barware game

You can’t have a cool bar without cool barware. Part of the fun of being on vacation is ordering a cocktail, which arrives in a fancy glass. You can replicate that feeling with a visit to Tuesday Morning or HomeGoods or to a site like Wayfair. The best part” They’re plastic, so you don't have to fear a broken glass situation.

Spring for the good towels

If the towels at the hotel you’re staying in are old and hole-y, it might be time to find a new hotel! Same goes for your towels at home. Plush, oversized towels can make the experience of swimming or lounging so much more enjoyable.

Light it up

Good lighting is key both indoors and out, and that simple patio light probably isn’t cutting it. Why not string some twinkle lights over your dining table or across the fence? Accentuate an outdoor living room with mood lighting on a tabletop or opt for something wall-mounted. And don’t forget the task lighting for outdoor kitchens!


4 Steps for Finding the Perfect Home


Moving is one of the most stressful things that you will need to do. It puts pressure on you, your spouse, and your children as you all try to find something that fits with each person’s expectations. You also have to consider the location of the new home, the size of the home, the size of the outdoor area, and the quality of the neighborhood. With all of these things that you need to consider, sometimes finding a house can seem like it’s impossible. The good news is that if you focus on these 4 main things, finding your home will be a whole lot easier.

1. Define Your “Perfect” Home

Get every in your family together and talk about what your perfect home would be. Your kids might want to have a big backyard and you want it to be close to your children’s school. If there’s a room size that you’re looking for, make sure that you write that down as well. You want your list to cover everything that you need. It’s also important to figure out what you need and what you want. For example, if your kids are big swimmers you might want to look at houses that have custom pools. However, this might not be something that you need in the house since a pool can be an easy addition to afterward. You need to realize which things can be compromised and which things cannot. Then, once you’ve defined what your perfect home is, give the list of needed things to your real estate agent and they’ll be able to locate houses that fit the criteria much easier.

2. Stay in the Budget

You might find a home that fits everything that you want, but it’s out of the budget. Now, you have a choice. You can abandon the budget and get the house, or find something that sticks within the price range. This piece of advice comes from years of experience--always choose to stick with the budget. You will only regret spending more than you were planning on spending and it will create financial stress in your future. It might take longer, but you need to find something that actually works with the money that you’ve set aside for buying a house. If you do, you will be a happier family with less financial stress on your shoulders.

3. Think About Remodeling

Remodeling is always an option. Let’s say that you find a house that is perfectly in your budget (maybe even a little cheaper) but it has one fewer room or the layout of the house isn’t what you were hoping for. Don’t just pass up the house. You might want to factor in the cost of remodeling the house and if that’s still in your budget, this might just be your dream house after all. It’s perfectly fine to remodel aspects of your home right after you buy it. Again, just make sure that remodeling isn’t going to push you outside of your budget.

4. Picture Your Family in the Home

Your family is the reason why you’re moving. Maybe your old home was getting too small for a family that’s always growing. Or, maybe you’re moving to a location that has better schools for your children. Sometimes, people move because they were offered a better job that will help them to better care for their family. Most of the time, the move is fueled by the desire to have a better location for the family. Because of that, the family should be at the heart of the home. Can you image your family happily living in the home? If no, then you should keep looking. If yes, then this might be the home for you.

Just make sure that your family is happy with the choice. Encourage your children to be apart of the move as well so that they know that their voices are valued in these big decisions.


A Simple Guide for Buying Your First Home


First Time Home Buyer Guide


After years of preparing for this moment in your life you are finally ready. No, not marriage but buying your first home. It’s taken you a long time to get here and there was a lot of sacrifice along the way but it paid off in the end because you have enough money saved for the down payment and your credit score is fantastic. Even though you think you are prepare you may be wondering, “where do I start?” In the next few paragraphs we will discuss your starting point, ending point and everything in between.


What Monthly Payment Can I Afford?


This is the first and probably the most important you should ask yourself before you take another step. Sure you may love the house on the upper east side of town but can you afford the monthly payment every month? The house down the street from your parents is to die for but you will you die trying to make the mortgage? Let’s start by figuring out how much you can afford and that will let your real estate agent know what area town to start searching in. Get your finances together and make a budget that includes your income and expenses. Your mortgage payment should be around twenty five to twenty eight percent of your monthly income. This is a safe percentage that will help you not overextend yourself and your budget. Now that we know how much we can afford let’s move on to the next step.


Find a Real Estate Agent


Having the right real estate agent can make all the difference in the world when you purchase a home. Picking one that is experiences and knows what they are doing will help eliminate confusion between the two of you. You need to be able to communicate to your real estate agent what you are looking for in your new home and what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on. For example, if you want a home that is energy efficient and that has solar panels and you’re not willing to budge on it then you need to make sure your agent is aware. You can always add solar panels to your home after you purchase it but you will have to calculate solar panel cost into your budget. This will give them a good starting to point to begin their search. Often real estate agents have close working relationships with brokers so they will be able to tap into a market of homes that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own. Some of the key things that you need to ask your realtor about every property that you are considering are:


1. Has the home ever flooded?

2. Is the home located in a flood plain?

3. Does the home have mold?

4. What are the yearly taxes on the home?


Often home buyers, especially first time home buyers forget to ask these important questions and they don’t find out the answers until its too late and they have already bought the home. The reason you need to know the monthly taxes on the home is because this will directly affect your monthly mortgage amount. After you have finally picked out the home you like make sure and get a home inspection. A home inspection will tell you if there is anything majorly wrong with the home like foundation problems or a faulty roof.


Which Loan Is Right For Me?


Only you will be able to truly decide which loan best fits your needs and accommodates your financial situation but here a few helpful tips. Try and do a fixed rate mortgage because with a fixed rate mortgage your payment will never fluctuate like it could with and adjustable rate mortgage. Put as much money down as you can afford because it will help keep your monthly payments low and manageable. The length of your loan can be anywhere between ten and thirty years but it’s always a good idea to make the term of the loan between fifteen and twenty years.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Carol Evenson

10 Fashionable Decor Trends to Make Your Home Look More Luxurious


Richer and louder tones throughout your home can make natural-hued and muted elements instantly feel anew and pop with personality. Think lush greens, bold yellow, statement pinks, and dramatic reds. You can also get advice from professional painters Cape Townif you aren’t sure what bold palettes are best for your home.

Bold Bathrooms

Bathroom renovations play a critical part when updating your house to the home of your dreams. And in terms of bathrooms, 2019 trends say go bold and use big pieces as well as marble. Using black will make an exorbitant personal statement and give satisfy the vision of luxury.

Artisanal Fixtures

Just like customized pieces, expert designers have noticed the shift in modern lighting. More homeowners are partial to light fixtures to create a unique environment.

Artisan fixtures offer a hand-crafted vibe that will better customize your home, shifting the focus of the room to create an inviting and comforting atmosphere.

Natural Elements

Stepping away from the tech-obsessed décor trends that dominated 2018, and moving toward fresh and natural materials, especially this summer season.

Plants everywhere! Real or fake, these green treasures can bring life to any placeand are the key to making it feel comfy and cozy. Also, don’t forget about granite, concrete, copper, and stones. These elements can bring a serene and organic ambiance while reflecting nature around your home.

Canopy Beds

Although they haven’t been in style since the ‘80s, we’re now seeing a steady rise in homeowners wanting an updated take on luxurious and grand canopy beds. It might be because hotel suite-inspired rooms have been all the rage in the past or because people are seeking the ultimate comfort oasis.

Whatever it is, minimalist canopy beds are available in various styles and colors. And because they boast simple elements and a slim silhouette, they can now fit in any room with ease without coming off as unnecessary or overbearing.

Velvet Furnishings

Velvet was once called stuffy and old-fashioned. However, now it’s viewed as a comforting and luxurious fabric. This multi-dimensional material once again started gaining a lot of attention, leading various interior designers to go with velvet décor in 2019.

Mushroom Lamps

In 2018, we saw the resurgence of mushroom or dome lamps. However, something tells us that this resurgence will only be amplified in 2019. With major home stores and retailers already jumping on the bandwagon and vintage lamp models becoming harder to find, all signs pointing to the fact that this décor trend will only gain popularity this year and for many years to come.

Exotic Prints

Exotic and unique prints—eclectic, cultural, animals— are everywhere and they are here to stay! You can now go crazy and mix them in a single room, however, animal prints are the strongest element to take the spotlight at trade shows. As a symbol of luxuriousness, these incredible prints, some of which are hand-painted, will make any home classy and welcoming.

Geometric Patterns

Incorporating geometric patterns isn’t a new trend. However, this year’s geometric patterns are expected to become more dramatic and bold. You’ll see bolder hues with large, oversized patterns, creating a daring statement in any room. An easy and chic way to incorporate these patterns is to add geometric throws in your living room.

Matte Finishes

From customized cars to beauty products, technological advancement has made the matte finish all more viable and alluring. Compared to the glaring effect of high-shine finishes, matte finishes lend furnishings a calmer, more relaxed, and futuristic appeal.

Look for matte furnishing to flaunt unexpected silhouettes and hues, or go for classic styles since pieces finished with a matte technique will remain cool forever!

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by William Taylor



Home Upgrades Millennials Love


A recent study by COUNTRY Financial showed that young people care more about buying a home than getting married, paying off student loans, and traveling. But in a hot real estate market, younger home buyers can’t be too selective. In fact, they’ll often end up with a fixer-upper in need of a little TLC. Let's talk about a few of the home upgrades and modern features first-time younger homebuyers should consider.

Older homes have one big — or rather not so big — drawback: small galley-style kitchens. A kitchen remodel can open up an otherwise cramped space, creating more room for cooking, eating, gathering, and entertaining. It’s a great investment, too. Kitchen remodels offer one of the highest returns on investment of any home remodeling project.

Ideas for your kitchen remodel:

 Kitchen island - Great place for hidden storage, a prep sink, extra counter space, or just a place to sit and eat!
 Modern appliances - Reduce your electric bill and environmental footprint. Plus, modern appliances make cooking more enjoyable.
 Custom cabinetry and built-in storage - Custom cabinets can change how your kitchen looks and feels. Built-in storage is customizable to meet your needs and more flexible than standalone shelving.

Open floor plans

Just like the small kitchens common in these homes, older properties frequently feature heavily closed-off floor plans. Modern homeowners tend to prefer a more flexible open floor plan. Open floor plans make a home feel more airy, spacious, and brighter. More natural light in your home is always a good thing, especially during a long and gloomy winter.

Ideas for your open floor plan:

 Connect kitchen and dining room - Great for families who love to entertain.
 Create nooks and private areas - Use furniture or other design elements to help an open floor plan flow.
 Add larger windows for even more light - Big windows mean big light! Custom window coverings add privacy when needed. Plus new energy-efficient double-pane windows are better at insulating your home.

Whole home transformations

Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch. If your fixer-upper needs a lot of work, you might get the most value out of a whole home remodel. You can create a cohesive design that checks all the boxes you’ve been looking for in your dream home. If you love your neighborhood but don’t love your home, think about a whole home remodel.

Ideas for your whole home remodel:

 Upgrade electricity and plumbing - If you’ve got an outdated electrical system or your plumbing needs some work, tackle those projects while you’re remodeling to save money down the road.
 Expand your closets - Buying an older home usually means fewer and smaller closets. Borrow a little space during your whole home remodel to make your closets bigger and more useful.
 Change your floor plan - Anything is on the table during a whole home remodel! Don’t like where a bedroom is? Move it. Need an extra half bath in the basement? Do it!

Finished basement space

Many older homes also feature a basement, but they’re often unfinished, minimally insulated, and poorly waterproofed. Pest infestations, water damage, and mold growth are all common in unfinished basement spaces.

Younger homeowners may find that finishing their basement can pay off in increased resale value down the road, additional and useful living and storage space, and even improved energy efficiency.

Ideas for your basement remodel:

 Create an apartment or Airbnb suite - Earn extra income and build equity in your new home.
 Add a family room or playroom for kids - When your family grows, your kids will need space of their own.
 Build a home office, gym, or home theater room - Your home is your oasis. Find what brings you joy and make it part of your home!

Outdoor living space

In places blessed with mild and beautiful spring and summer weather Take advantage of it. We’re seeing more and more Millennials looking to create outdoor living spaces like decks and patios. Outdoor living spaces are more than just a great investment, they’re a way to feel more connected to nature.

Ideas for your deck or patio addition:

 Seamless integration with your master suite - Just imagine starting your day by stepping from your master suite onto your custom deck — that’s the life.
 Outdoor kitchen for summer dinner parties - What’s better than an evening BBQ or night around a roaring fire with friends and family? S'mores anyone?!
 Covered and heated seating - Now you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor living space all year round.

Modernize your bathroom

There’s no better way to pamper yourself than with a truly luxurious bathroom. And it’s a great investment, too! On average bathroom remodels provide a 70% return. But we find that homeowners love their new bathrooms far beyond the return on their investment. When your bathroom is more than just another room in the house, it becomes a place to relax, unwind, and de-stress.

Ideas for your modern bathroom:

 In-floor heating - Warm floors on a cold winter morning? Yes, please!
 Soaking or jacuzzi tub - Who needs to make the trip to spa or hot springs when you have your own private heated soaking tub at home?
 Dual sinks - Save time getting ready in the morning by giving yourself and your partner the personal space you need. No more fights over who’s taking more time in the bathroom!


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