Turning a Bedroom into a Lux Bedroom.

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For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

bed bedroom ceiling chandelier

One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

Compartmentalize Your Activities

Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.

Make it Chic

Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.

Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

Light it Properly

Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.

Choose Your Accents Wisely

We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.

throw pillows on bed

Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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10 Tips to Prepare for Back to School brought to you by the Jacksonville Public Library.

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While the heat may not be winding down, the summer freedom is. That means it’s time for school supply shopping trips, earlier bed times, and the dread of homework to come. Heading back to school doesn’t have to be stressful though. Follow these tips to make your life easier come the dreaded first week back.

  1. If your kids are not already participating in Summer Learning, encourage them to read at least one age appropriate book before school starts.
  2. Make sure your student has their most valuable school supply item, their library card. The Jacksonville Public Library Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) student card program has been extended this year to include all students grade K-12! Their DCPS ID card can be used as their library card. Check out our website for more information about the student card. Not a DCPS student? No problem. If your child is age 17 and younger, they could qualify to get a juvenile card.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the online homework and tutoring help the library offers.

    brainfuse_logo_150pxYour library card gets you admittance to more than just physical materials. Unlock access to research databasesfor school papers, Brainfuse HelpNow for homework and tutoring, ebooks, and much more!

  4. To save money, take advantage of Tax Free Weekend, August 2-6.
  5. Print out your school’s supply list and inventory school supplies from previous years before shopping for new supplies.
  6. Visit educational and local attractions to get your kids excited about learning again. Tour places like the library (duh!), the Cummer Museum and Gardens, The Museum of Science and History (MOSH), and other cultural attractions.
  7. Get your kids ready for their normal “school night” bed times by starting the routine two weeks before the first day of school. Check out these recommended hours of sleep per age group from WebMD.
  8. Have a discussion with your children about what they should expect on the first day so they feel more prepared.
  9. Look up the school lunch schedule ahead of time and discuss the healthy options with your children.
  10. Remove distractions like mobile devices and games from your child’s room to help them get a good night’s sleep.

Whether you’re dreading back to school or welcoming it, being prepared is always a sanity saver. Now if only we could come up with tips to guarantee kids will be out of bed, fed, and dropped off on time! Here’s to another successful school year, good luck.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

 

Take 5: What to negotiate when buying a house!

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Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
  3. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  4. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  5. Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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2 Easy Real Estate Tips

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Top Tips to Make Your Offer Stick
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House in HandIt’s that time again, when the real estate market is as hot as the summer sun. Low inventory, multiple-offers, and offers that soar over asking price are great for sellers, not so much for buyers. If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, here are a few tips.

Up your budget
If you’re a first-time buyer looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market. Getting pre-approved for a little more could move you into a higher price bracket and eliminate some competition. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.

Cut associated expenses
If you’re worried about upping your budget, think of ways to save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute (or, better yet, where you don’t have to drive at all). Those savings add up.

Watch the contingencies
“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” says NerdWallet. Asking the seller to pay closing costs, purchase a home warranty, or requesting that they make small repairs like fixing a leaky faucet can get your offer thrown in the trash.

Be flexible
In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until they’re ready to make their move.

Write a letter
Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Include a picture and don’t hesitate to include your cute kids or four-legged friends.

4 DIY Things You Can Do to Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer
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If you live in a place where summer heat is an issue, this time of year can mean substantially higher energy costs. Here are four low-cost, high-impact changes you can make on your own to save money and keep your home more comfortable this summer.

Clean your window sills
A few seasons worth of dirt and soot can prevent your windows from closing all the way. Even a little air getting in can make your AC less efficient and raise your electric bill. Drafty windows are the top energy leak in a typical home, accounting for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss.
Cost: $0-5 (cleaning spray and paper towels)
DIY level: Easy. You can even make this a chore for the kids!

Install a door sweep
“A common place where air leaks occur is under the door leading from the house to the garage because they are often not as well sealed as doors leading directly to the outside,” says Energy Star. Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent cold air from escaping your home.
Cost: $10-15 (per door)
DIY level: Easy. Use a drill to make holes in the door and screws to attach the sweep.

Caulking Window Frame

Caulk your windows
Window air leakage can be reduced by applying a continuous bead of caulk around the window trim where it meets the wall, at the mitered joints of the trim, and between the trim and the frame. Make sure the caulk is intended for indoor use and can be painted. Using Charlotte, NC as an example, the Department of Energy estimated that the average homeowner could save 14% on heating and cooling costs each year with proper air sealing and insulation.
Cost: $3-5 (caulk)
DIY level: Medium. Caulk can get messy, so go slow.

Check your ducts
Ducts are used to distribute AC and heat throughout houses with forced-air systems “In typical houses, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.” says Energy Star. “The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills, and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.” You can check all the ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, crawlspace, or garage. Look for holes and tears, and seal them using mastic or metal tape.
Cost: $5-10 (roll of tape)
DIY level: Medium. It’s just taping, but you’ll likely be dealing with tight spaces and a few creepy-crawlies.

Which down payment strategy is right for you?

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You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

Have any questions? Give us a call today!

Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

TOP TIPS FOR HOUSE HUNTING ONLINE

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Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
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Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside. 904-515-2479

 

WHAT TO REPAIR BEFORE YOU LIST

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When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls.

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping.

Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.

Have any questions or are you ready to sell your new home in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

CREATE AN EVACUATION PLAN FOR YOUR PETS

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An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, but far fewer have considered one for their pets. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.

Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.

Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.

Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!

Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS, Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

 

Unusual Self-Staging Secrets that work, Whether You’re Selling or Not

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e1d05431-dc14-481e-980a-e0ff9da6c25eStaging means more than simply adding new fashions and furnishings to your home. Staging means understanding the psychology of living in a home, and using those underlying secrets to your own advantage, rather than to sell.
Staging is a word that has gained popularity in the real estate world in recent years. In case you haven’t heard the term, it means setting up the interior and exterior of your home with nice furnishings and decor so that home buyers can imagine themselves living in a clean, clutter-free, stylish home. You know…the kind of designer home no one actually lives in. In fact, there’s probably not a home seller in the world who hasn’t spun around in their newly staged living rooms just before selling and said, “Gee, I wish I had done this before selling it so I could have lived in it like this.”
But wait! Rather than staging to sell, how about staging for life—so you can live in it? By taking a fresh look at your home and making a few bold changes, you can impart much of the feeling that comes from a completely staged home, even if you have no interior design experience at all. This two-part report will show you how. First you’ll learn the secrets of minimizing distractions, which is the real reason that staging works—not the furnishings. And then you’ll learn a few style basics to help enhance the environment.

Part 1: Distractions and Tolerations
Part 2: Interior Design Basics

Part 1: Distractions and Tolerations
Wallowing in Distraction

In every era of mankind it can be said that somebody turned to somebody else and said, “Things are a lot more hectic today than they used to be.”

And in every case, they were right. Every era of mankind has grown more complex and hectic. That doesn’t mean life is harder from one era to the next. But it is hard in a different way. In our world today, for example, we’ve taken the expectation of personal productivity to new heights. It’s barely acceptable any more to not be available by phone, and people will complain about not being able to get hold of a person in minutes. Vast numbers of people are in charge of us, from our friends and family who demand our attention by phone and Facebook, to our kids and partners to want to be entertained, to a plethora of unskilled bosses in an increasingly stratified corporate world. It’s a recipe for stress.

Perhaps one of the most important survival skills in this current world view is our ability to manage distractions. Distractions are things that take our attention away from what we’re trying to focus on. Think “texting and driving,” or “walking and chewing gum.” These are things that aren’t supposed to go together, but we do them together, just as we eat and drive, program the gps and drive, do our makeup, read, and talk while we drive. And while doing one of those things, our coordination for doing the other slips.

Beyond technology, we’re also distracted by our own thoughts. With competing demands on our attention and time, we’re always thinking about several tasks at once—multitasking mentally as well as physically. And our world has become intensely mental. While our grandmother might have multitasked by getting all the parts of a good meal on the table at the same time, we have to be evaluating different ideas, planning multiple programs, writing several different reports, and thinking about how to keep everyone happy.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who tells us in his book called Happiness, that we should do things mindfully. His meaning is to be aware in the moment you are in of all that you are doing. When you are walking, think about walking. When you are sitting, think about sitting. When you are driving, think about driving. He says, “The present moment is the only moment that is real. Your most important task is to be here and now and enjoy the present.”

What’s the point in that, right? If you can multitask and you need to get a lot done, what is the point in slowing down and focusing on one task at a time? Well, for one, if we’re talking about driving, it’s safer. But more to the point, Thich Nhat Hanh is not talking about being able to do something better because you’re focused. He’s talking about calming the mind, something that has measurable benefits in relieving stress.

(Stay with me…this all goes back to staging in just a moment.)

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A calm, still mind is more able to detach from complexities and feel at peace. A peaceful mind is better able to connect to abundance and win-win thinking. It is said by the Buddhists that a person will have become enlightened when he does not have a single thought for one whole minute.
The person who can effectively manage distractions is likely to be more attractive to others. For instance, networking events are wonderful places to view distracted minds. You walk into the room and the first thing you do is walk up to someone and catch their eye to see if you can get into conversation with them. You can tell instantly if they’re “with you” or not. Sometimes it’s subtle, a frozen smile, a flick of the eyes. Other times it’s more overt with them turning and talking to other people in the middle of your conversation. And then other times you feel like you’re the only person in that other person’s world right then. Ah, that feels nice.
The practical application of this discussion is that the act of reducing distractions in our home space instantly puts our minds into a more receptive state, calming our stress, and improving our health and relationships. Wow, that’s a lot of goodies from just reducing distractions and simplifying where our attention goes.
By decluttering our space, arranging furniture to appeal to the eye, reducing messes, harmonizing colors, and simplifying your décor, we gain a huge amount of peace in our home space.

Reducing distractions is one of the biggest secrets to successful staging. Removing clutter and putting thing in order, as well as using a few well-placed large pieces of art or furniture in place of a bunch of scattered pieces make a room feel more peaceful—and that sense of peace is one of the reasons that staged homes sell faster than unstaged homes.

Tolerations

Then there’s the evil cousin of distractions—tolerations. Tolerations are a kind of distraction that we don’t acknowledge. Tolerations are usually tiny distractions we ignore, but that are in our peripheral vision and at the edge of our consciousness. I remember a neighbor coming to visit for the first time. I wanted to make her feel welcome, so I started to show her around the house. It was only then that I noticed the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, the hole in the door screen, and the streak of dirt by the front door where the dog jumped up. And when she asked to use the restroom, I suddenly remembered the moldy tile in the bath surround. I was distracted during her brief visit, and probably looked and acted apologetic.

I mentioned all this to a friend later, and we talked about how the cumulative effect of tolerations can become a drag on our spirit, awareness, and energy. I wanted to enjoy my neighbor, and all I could think about was little crap that I should have taken care of. I’m sure the neighbor felt some of my embarrassment, even if she didn’t know why.
The experience made me look around my house and realize how many of these little details I had been tolerating without really noticing.

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Tolerations can consist of a multitude of small, petty details—like a dirty car, the torn curtain, a spot on the floor, the annoying piece of tape stuck to our computer, the door in the bathroom that sticks. Or they can be large projects—like the house needs painting, the filing system is in disarray, the car is too small for a growing family, etc.

One reason staged homes appeal to us is that they have eliminated the tolerations. Buyers feel good without even knowing why, because there’s nothing to take care of…no tolerations have built up to dampen their energy. They don’t see any cobwebs or curled linoleum, because those things have been taken care of in a well-staged home.

Exercise: Eliminating Tolerations
Step 1: Petty tolerations
Look around in your immediate environment from where you’re sitting right now. Make a list of everything you see that is out of place, broken or torn, too small or large, crooked, cluttered, a dissatisfying color, etc. Do this for every room in your house. Do the same in your office workspace and car.

Place these lists where you can see them prominently. They are your visual existence system to help you remember what needs to be done.

Make a commitment to fixing just one item from this list each day. Cross off each item as it is done. Fix it mindfully.

Step 2: Major tolerations
Look around your house, yard, car, and work environment. Make a list of projects that need to be done, including painting, cleaning, organizing, repairing, replacing, etc.
Prioritize the list. Then put the first project onto a schedule. Identify the intermediate steps that need to be done to make that project a reality, such as getting bids, tracking down service providers, saving money, etc.

Part 2: Interior Design Basics
In addition to looking at tolerations in your physical space, consider the following more traditional suggestions for staging your home, while eliminating tolerations:

Start with a Blank Slate
Consider emptying an entire room before you start any DIY staging efforts. By creating a blank slate, you’ll be more creative. Then consider these three things elements: paint and flooring colors, window coverings, and finally art pieces. Identify a color scheme for all of these elements. If you already have flooring and don’t plan to replace it, that may be the start of your color scheme.

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Choose new paint colors to complement the flooring. If you can’t afford new furnishings to match the color scheme, consider new pillows or a slip cover. Consider installing crown molding and new baseboards at this time, or building a new fireplace surround or mantle. Finally, choose window coverings that tie the paint, flooring, and furniture together. When moving furniture back into the space, look for ways to leave some things out of the room altogether. The most valuable feature of staged homes is the absence of clutter.
When replacing furniture in the room, position it in different ways. Try configurations you think can’t possibly work, such as setting the couch at an angle and adding a sofa table behind it. Also consider adding plants to your space. As you replace furnishings, also remember the ideas of absence of distractions and elimination of tolerations.

Find a Way to Match Pieces
If you have mis-matched shelving or other furniture for the room, consider replacing some of it, or refinishing it all to have a similar finish. For instance, if you have one rattan chair, a wooden IKEA shelf unit, and a 1960’s coffee table, you may be creating dissonance in your space. Consider ridding yourself of one of these elements, then replacing it with something that matches one of the other elements. Perhaps removing the 1960’s table and replacing it with an IKEA table will draw the room together. Perhaps replacing the rattan chair with a 1960’s era arm chair might draw the room together in a retro way. The more your furniture looks as though it is from the same style or era, the more together your room will look.

Another idea for matching pieces is to choose one finish and alter other pieces to have similar finishes. For instance, if you have a blonde wood coffee table, a golden oak shelving unit, and a black lacquered TV cabinet, you have mismatched finishes. If you want to keep the black TV cabinet, consider sanding and using black lacquer paint to refinish the coffee table and shelf unit. If you don’t want to keep the black TV cabinet, but like your blonde wood coffee table, consider replacing the TV cabinet and sanding and lightening the stain of your shelf unit. For some wood furniture, you might consider distressing it and using a white-wash finish.

Remove Clutter with Storage
It’s been said many times. A well-staged home is a clutter-free space. If you struggle to manage clutter, the best thing you can do for yourself is to first throw everything away that you almost never use. If it has sentimental value, or you use it rarely but need it when you do, then you will find a home for it in the garage, attic, or storage area. You can also take photos of some older cherished items that you don’t really need to hang onto any longer.
Speaking of storage areas, if clutter controls you, one of the first things you need to do is purchase cabinets with closing doors. Many people get clutter around the phone area in or near the kitchen. If that’s you, purchase a cabinet that can rest in this area and hold a lot of that clutter. One friend of mine bought an extra upper kitchen cabinet to match the rest of her kitchen, then placed it on the floor under the bar countertop next to the bar stools. That is the place where the kids shove all of their art supplies that they use while sitting at the counter.
Clutter goes beyond counter tops. Clutter can include too many pieces of furniture and too much art on the walls, but that may be a matter of taste. I know people who love knick-knacks and every square inch of their homes is covered with these treasures. They are clean, well-organized homes for the most part, thought one is just junky, with stuff crammed into shelves so tightly that it can’t even be seen.
If clutter is a problem for you, focus intensively on creating cabinets and spaces for your stuff. As my mother always said—a place for everything and everything in its place.

Final Word
Staging is not just about renting expensive furniture and creating a designer interior to sell your home. Staging is also about staging for life—creating a space you enjoy living in, one that contributes to your sense of well-being. By eliminating distractions and removing tolerations, you open up your mind to focus on other, more important things in life. And by matching colors, matching furniture styles, and creating significant extra storage for all your “must-keep” small items, you create a relaxing environment that soothes you, much like a great piece of art or a perfect place in nature. Your home will make you feel good, not just be a place to get out of the rain.

Easy Landscaping DIY Projects

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Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features.

Whether it’s as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

Create a pathway.

To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

Add a wall or border.

Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

Install a water feature.

Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

Light your way.

An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

Plant upwards.

Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting.

Source: Easy Landscaping DIY Projects