Articles Tagged "Home Decor"

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June
29

Hosting Tips for Your Housewarming Party

housewarming hosting

You've looked at countless Raleigh homes for sale, and you've finally found the one. Is it too early to start planning your housewarming party? Not at all! A housewarming party is a perfect opportunity to show off your new home to your friends, celebrate with those you care about most, and just relax in your own space. The following are some hosting tips that may come in handy as you plan and hold your housewarming.

  • Plan on Giving House Tours
    Your guests are going to want to see your home. So, make sure it is tidied up and ready for visitors. It's okay to close off a bedroom or two if there are things you want to keep private, but for the most part, you want the whole of your home to be clean and ready for visitors. If you're still holding on to empty boxes and bubble wrap from your move, this is great motivation to get rid of it.

  • Serve Appetizers and Finger Foods
    Serving a sit-down meal at a housewarming party is more work than it's worth. Plus, with all of your guests roaming around and checking out the house, gathering everyone to eat at the same time will be tough. Serve a variety of finger foods and appetizers instead. This way, you and your guests can nibble as you wish.

  • Invite Guests to Drop By
    Having everyone arrive at once can be a little overwhelming when you're giving tours of the home and showing off your favorite decor. When you send out invitations, use the words "stop by between the hours of ___ and ___" so guests know they don't have to be there as soon as the party starts. Some guests will stay for a half-hour, and others may stay the whole time. Building in this flexibility also makes it easy for busy guests to attend.

  • Set Aside a Spot for Gifts
    It's customary for guests to bring a small gift when they attend a housewarming party. Set aside a designated space for these gifts before the party. An end table in the living room is a good choice. Don't use your kitchen counter or island, as you'll need those spots for food and drinks.

  • Open Up the Yard, if Possible
    It's nice to hold a housewarming party in the summer so guests can also mingle in and enjoy your yard. Tidy up your landscaping prior to the party. Also, make sure it's clear that guests are welcome to go outside and enjoy the yard. This may mean propping a door open or barbecuing outside where others can gather around the grill. 

A housewarming party is a great opportunity to show off your new space and welcome others into it as well. With the hosting tips above, you'll be set for success. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect home, feel free to contact us soon. Our real estate agents will be happy to guide you through the house-hunting process, working with you closely every step of the way.

June
22

Plants to Boost Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Plants

Want to purify the air while improving the appearance of your home? Add a few indoor plants to improve your indoor air quality, reduce your stress levels, and enhance your home's aesthetic.

Our real estate agents also know that indoor plants effectively make any space look more inviting. Here are a few plants that will boost your indoor air quality and help your home look its best.

  • Spider Plants
    Spider plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular option for homeowners who want to add plants that don't require a lot of time and attention. A spider plant removes formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in fingernail polish, cigarette smoke, dry cleaning solutions, and other synthetic chemicals. To help your spider plant thrive, you'll want to keep the soil moist and place it in a spot that's semi-sunny or even shady. 
  • Philodendrons
    Philodendrons are another plant that's efficient at purifying your air while being relatively easy to grow. Many homeowners like philodendrons thanks to the lovely heart-shaped leaves. Another benefit of philodendrons is that they're versatile regarding their ideal placement in your home. You can keep philodendrons in a shady spot, or you can house them in a sunnier area as long as you're willing to water them more frequently. 
  • Peace Lilies
    Peace lilies have gorgeous white flowers and remove acetone, alcohols, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. They need a semi-shady spot in your home, and you'll want to keep the soil moist. 
  • Snake Plants
    When adding your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale, consider adding snake plants to your entryway or living room. Snake plants are perfect for busy homeowners thanks to their blase watering requirements; water the plant until the soil is moist, then allow the soil to completely dry out before you water it again. This means that you may only need to water your snake plant every two to four weeks. 
  • Bromeliads
    Bromeliads boast a beautifully colored bloom and are effective at removing a number of air pollutants. They do best in a spot with a lot of direct lighting. Make sure that your bromeliad has a pot that allows for ample water drainage, as they are prone to developing root rot. If you notice water gathering in the pot, promptly empty it out. A bromeliad will only live for a year or two; after they flower, they start to die off. They do produce baby bromeliads at their base that you can remove and propagate. 
  • English Ivy
    While English ivy is a popular addition in many gardens, it's also an excellent addition to your collection of indoor plants, offering a classic look and strong pollutant-removing properties. It can grow in full shade or full sun, and over time, you can even direct its growth so that it compliments your home. 
  • Gerbera Daisies
    If you prefer a flowering plant or a species that will add color to your home, gerbera daisies are a terrific selection. They're a little tricky to grow inside because they need a lot of bright light and relatively warm temperatures. A location by a window offers these growing conditions, but too much heat can scorch the leaves. One option is to place your daisies by the window during the morning and then move them before the strong afternoon sun hits. 

Want a home with more space for indoor plants? Contact us to start your search!

March
2

7 Tips to Help You Prepare for Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning tips

Spring isn't here quite yet, but it's poking its head around the corner. If you're someone who looks forward to a good spring cleaning, then you probably can't wait to pull out your mops and buckets. Planning ahead for spring cleaning is a great way to stay busy and make sure you're ready to go the second the weather breaks. So, how do you plan for a successful spring cleaning? Our real estate agents have some helpful tips.

  1. Organize Your Cleaning Products
    Knowing where your cleaning products are will help your spring cleaning routine go more smoothly. Take the time to sort through your cleaning products, throw away old ones, and gather everything into one area. You can also make a list of new cleaning products you need and shop for them.

  2. Make a List
    Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming and a bit daunting. You might keep mulling over different tasks and plans in your mind. It can be really helpful to make a list of tasks on paper. This gets you out of your head and reassures you that you won't forget anything. As you think of new cleaning tasks you'd like to tackle, just add them to the list. By the time spring arrives, you'll have a thorough record of everything you plan to do.

  3. Donate Obvious Extras
    You may want to wait for spring to do a serious audit of your drawers and collections. But if there are items sitting around your home that you obviously no longer want or need, start donating and selling them now. When spring comes, you'll have fewer things to clean and less to do.

  4. Use Up Pantry Extras
    Spring cleaning in the kitchen is a lot easier with a nearly empty pantry. So, start planning ahead by using up your open food, along with food items you've been storing for a while. 

    Some people like to do a one-week pantry cooking challenge. During this week, you do not go grocery shopping at all. You can only eat and cook with what's already in your pantry. This requires some creativity, but it's an excellent way to clear the clutter.

  5. Contact Contractors
    There are some spring cleaning and maintenance tasks you simply should not do on your own. Servicing your air conditioner is one of them. Hydro-jetting your drains is another. Make a list of all the spring cleaning tasks you want to have done professionally. Then, start contacting those contractors and making appointments. It's nice to get on their schedule before the springtime rush.

  6. Set Some Cleaning Goals
    Another way to plan for spring cleaning is to set some specific cleaning goals for the year ahead. Maybe your goal is to clean for 30 minutes, twice a week. Or perhaps you want to get rid of 10 unneeded items each month. Write down your goals and post them on your refrigerator. When spring does come, you'll be ready to buckle down and work to achieve them.

  7. Make Your Own Cleaners
    If you prefer to use homemade cleaners, now is the time to start preparing them. Make a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to use on your surfaces. Stock up on baking soda to use on your carpets. Look up recipes for new homemade cleaning products and follow them. By the time spring comes, you'll be stocked up.

Getting your house clean so you can list it this spring? If you're thinking of moving, don't hesitate to contact us. Our real estate agents can help you find incredible Raleigh homes for sale, and they can guide you through the buying process. 

November
10

6 Eco-Friendly Home Tips for National Recycling Day

Recycling Tips

Home sustainability plays an important role in keeping our planet and our community healthy and clean. From recycling to energy efficiency, eco-friendly best practices can help reduce pollution, diminish dependence on raw materials, and ultimately helps prevent garbage from filling up landfills.

With National Recycling Day coming up on November 15, our real estate agents thought we'd take a moment to reflect on the importance of green living. Here are some everyday sustainability tips to incorporate into your home and life.

  1. Start With A Recycling Bin
    Investing in a recycling bin is an easy first step towards sustainability. Recycling is significantly easier when you have a dedicated container conveniently placed near your garbage can. When throwing things away, you can sort your glass, paper, aluminum, and plastics into your bin. Be sure to rinse your materials thoroughly and check with your local recycling company on what they'll accept.

  2. Create A Compost Bin
    A compost bin is an excellent way to reduce the amount of trash you produce, and it can have great benefits for your garden too. A compost bin is a place you can toss your decomposing food, plant, or organic materials. Over time, they'll transform into compost, which can be used to fertilize your soil. Vegetable and fruit scraps, dry pet food, newspaper, or cardboard are some examples of the hundreds of items that can be placed in a compost bin.

  3. Use A Water Filter
    Plastic bottles can be very harmful to the environment, especially when continually placed in a landfill. Instead of buying bottled water, install a water filter on your faucet or under your sink. You can also buy a filtered water pitcher, which can be fairly inexpensive.

  4. Wash Your Clothes With Cold Water
    Your washing machine consumes a significant amount of power and over 90% of that energy is used to heat the water. Therefore, you can save a significant amount of energy and reduce carbon emissions by getting in the habit of running all your loads with cold water instead

  5. Adopt LED Lighting
    Lighting typically accounts for 15% of your home's energy usage. You can significantly decrease this number by switching to LED lighting. LED stands for light-emitting diode, are these bulbs are 90% more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They're also brighter and last significantly longer too. Beautiful LED lighting is frequently used in many of these modern Raleigh homes for sale

  6. Install A Programmable Thermostat
    Programmable thermostats have helped to revolutionize energy-efficient heating and cooling. These thermostats allow you to schedule temperatures based on the time of day. Many of them also allow you to adjust your home's temperature from your smartphone, which makes it easy to turn down the heat or air conditioning when you're not at home. This functionality not only reduces your utility bills, but it is also incredibly eco-friendly.

Energy efficiency, sustainability, and green-living play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions and reducing utility bills. For assistance finding a home with eco-friendly features, contact us today.

July
21

What is Cottagecore Home Decor?

Home Decor TrendsOur real estate agents know that a beautifully decorated home is inviting to potential buyers. If you're searching for options to decorate your home's spaces, one trend that you'll encounter is known as cottagecore, which adds a woodsy and cozy feel to your home's interior. Consider this trend for your home with these interior design tips. 

Cottagecore Explained

Cottagecore is an increasingly popular style of home decor that focuses on creating a cozy environment with high-quality, environmentally focused materials. It's similar to hygge, a Danish decor trend that focuses on creating a comfortable space that utilizes multiple cozy elements. 

The look of cottagecore includes soft hues, gorgeous floral prints, string lights, and soft area lighting, and authentic vintage or vintage-inspired pieces. Your end result is a romantic space that incorporates elements from nature. While a room decorated in a cottagecore style may remind you of a rustic cabin or a lovely beachside cottage, this decor works well in any area, including homes in the city or suburbs. 

While minimalism isn't the sole focus of cottagecore, there are minimalistic elements. With cottagecore, less is more, especially since this decor movement values sustainability.

Instead of five cheap throw blankets, invest in one or two durable throws that you adore and are of superior quality. When buyers are searching for Raleigh homes for sale, homes that embrace cottagecore are less likely to be filled with distracting clutter. 

Adding Cottagecore Decor into Your Home 

If you're ready to use cottagecore design trends in your home, you don't have to invest a lot of time or money to get started. Start with fresh flowers. Since floral prints are one of the main tenets of cottagecore, an arrangement of flowers instantly adds a romantic, nature-inspired vibe. 

Then, add soft lighting to the space. A few strands of string lights are an affordable option, or you might opt to add candles. When using candles, stick with nature-inspired scents that will coordinate well with the decor. 

Check your cabinets for porcelain dishes, etched glasses, and mason jars. Display your favorite pieces on a floating shelf or bookcase.

The thrift store is an excellent spot to find vintage-inspired or even authentic vintage items for your decor. Look for paintings or prints that feature nature scenes. A glass vase or wood-framed mirror are other pieces that work well in almost any home. 

Perhaps you're ready to make more significant renovations to your home, so it adheres to the cottagecore look. Look for flooring that mimics the appearance of wood. While hardwood floors are one alternative, engineered wood floors are another durable, budget-friendly alternative that recreates the look of wood.

Or, if you're renovating a space where you prefer to use tile, check out ceramic tiles that maintain a wood appearance. Search for tiles with a low-gloss finish, and avoid intricate designs. The goal is to produce a simple, classic look. 

Ready to sell your current home and find a new one for you to decorate with the latest interior design trends? Contact us today to get started!

July
14

Kitchen Updates You'll Enjoy Using

Kitchen Updates

Once you've found your perfect home, the next step is to make it your own - starting with the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you can up your culinary game with a few simple design ideas. There are plenty of Raleigh homes for sale with amazing kitchens to suit your needs. Here's how to take those kitchens even further.

Appliances

The right tools can help in a myriad of ways. An induction cooktop, for instance, regulates heat much more accurately than a regular stovetop, allowing for more precise temperature measurements. The appliance itself never gets hot, reducing the risk of accidental burning. Plus, it's more energy-efficient than electric or gas stoves.

You might also consider a high-speed oven. Using both convection and microwave heating, it heats better and more accurately, cutting cook times in half.

Finally, if you don't have a stand mixer, it will change your life. A good quality mixer will last for many years, providing thorough, even mixing. You can do everything from whip cream to beat meringue to knead bread dough quickly and easily without wearing out your arms. Plus, with extra attachments, you can roll out and cut your own fresh pasta, grind your own meat, and much more.

Organization

A few simple organizational improvements can help you tremendously. Install some sturdy hooks above the stovetop, on which to hang your pots and pans. This will make them easier to find and access when you need them. You can do the same for mixing spoons, spatulae, and other basic tools. For knives, consider installing a long, magnetic strip that the knives can stick to. That way, you can simply remove one when you need it and put it back in its place when it's clean.

In your cluttered cabinets, try putting in a Lazy Susan. They design them for all different purposes, from organizing herbs and spices to storing empty containers. Whatever you're using it for, a Lazy Susan lets you keep everything organized and view it at a glance, so you don't have to rummage through a lot of extra clutter to find what you need.

Also, consider installing tension rods in your cabinets. They make great customizable barriers that you can prop things like pans and cookie sheets against, rather than stacking them up. By storing things vertically, you can create more space in your cabinets and keep things more organized.

Renovation

If you're really committed to updating your kitchen, consider some renovations and remodels. Start with more shelves. A single shelf that stretches across an entire kitchen wall can provide a tremendous amount of storage for various things without taking up much extra space.

If your home doesn't have a kitchen island, you should put one in. It provides extra space for everything you need: a counter for prep work, a table for seating, plus storage beneath for pots and pans, appliances, etc.

To make cleanup simpler, cut a small hole in the kitchen island countertop, and store a trash can in the cabinet underneath. Now you have a quick and easy way to eliminate everything from eggshells to empty packaging as you cook.

These are just a few of the kitchen updates you can make in your home to make cooking easier and better. Get creative and see what other improvements you can make to help you when you cook.

If you want to find your perfect home with your dream kitchen, contact us. Our real estate agents can help you find the right space for you and ensure every room will meet your needs.

June
9

5 Things to Consider Before Buying Patio Furniture

Raleigh Patio

What's so hard about buying patio furniture? Why not just go online or to a store and pick something pretty and buy it? You can do that, but you may not be happy with how that plays out in the patio area of the dream home you chose among homes for sale in the Triangle. A little planning will help you make the most of your outdoor living space. If you're not sure what questions to ask about a patio furniture purchase, follow the guidelines our real estate agents have put together. 

  1. Determine the Space
    This sounds so obvious, but you'll be surprised to learn that some folks just close their eyes, make a purchase, and hope it fits. Don't do that. Measure your space. Decide what you want. Bar stools? A dining table and chairs? Chairs for relaxing and lounging? You may get a good deal ordering online, but when buying furniture, it's always nice to look at it in person. Buying patio furniture in the brick-and-mortar store can show you how big it is, so you can calculate if it will nicely fill the space you have.

  2. How Comfortable is it?
    There's not much point in buying patio furniture just to look at. You'll want people to sit in it and enjoy it. It's important to sit on the furniture to see if it's comfortable. Do you intend to improve the experience by providing comfy cushions? That's helpful, but you also want to see if the chairs, table, or whatever, are the right dimensions.

  3. Are the Materials Weather Resistant?
    These days patio furniture is manufactured from many different materials: wicker, iron, resin, steel, plastic, wood, and others. If you're going to leave your furniture in an uncovered location during the warm season, you may want to choose something weather-resistant and resilient. Leaving the furniture in the heat and humidity will shorten its usefulness. If you're going to keep your furniture in a protected location, you might have better luck with patio furniture made of wood or wicker. Regardless of where you leave it, you may need to do a bit of maintenance every season: painting, replacing cushions, or with wood, even refinishing. 

    It's always a good idea to put the furniture up when the season for entertaining is over; at the very least, cover it up and protect it from the elements. Also, think about where you're going to place the furniture: on solid ground or on the patio. If it's going to make contact with the earth. you need to choose materials that can handle being on soggy ground, such as plastic or resin. 

  4. Invest in Quality
    Be aware that plastic, resin, wood, or wicker furniture may look good when you buy it, but if it's used extensively outdoors, UV rays and weather will make it fade so that it loses its looks. If you can afford it, invest in good quality furniture that will stand up to the elements and last a few years. If possible, set it in a protected location.

  5. Shop Colors
    You can have some fun when shopping for the right color of patio furniture. It doesn't have to be neutral, black, or brown. Match colors in your landscape or with your house, or go a little wild selecting pillows and cushions that pop.

Need more tips to improve your outdoor living space? Contact us today. 

May
19

Interior Design Mistakes You Might be Making

Interior Design Mistakes

When you find furniture, artwork, or a decor scheme that you love, it's natural to want to incorporate it into your own home. However, our real estate agents know that some stylistic components aren't a good fit for every home; they may make the room appear small, cluttered, or unattractive. Your space will then be unappealing to you and potential buyers. Here are some common interior design mistakes you might be making and some simple solutions for fixing them. 

  1. Choosing the Wrong Area Rug Size
    Your area rug is intended to help you frame the furniture in a room. This means that your furniture should be touching or resting on the rug, with some of the rugs still showing. For example, in a bedroom, your bed will rest on the rug, and the rug should still be visible.  In your living room, you want the legs of your furniture to touch the perimeter of the rug. If your rug is too small for your space, you have a few options. In a bedroom, you can place the rug on the side of your bed and use it to anchor your nightstand and sitting chair. For a living room rug that's a tad small, you can try putting just the front legs of your couch and end tables on the rug. The effect should be similar, even with a small rug. Or, you might choose to use the rug in another room and replace it with one that's better suited to the size and layout of the room. 
  1. Buying Cheap Linens
    Cheap linens and bedding can detract from a beautifully designed bedroom. You don't have to spend a fortune on your bedding, but you should invest in quality linens in a classic style and colors that compliment the room. This ensures that they'll enhance your bedroom while providing you with a relaxing haven to get an amazing night of slumber. 
  1. Thinking All Your Furniture Has to Match
    It's a misconception that you have to use all the pieces from a matching set of furniture. While there's nothing inherently wrong with a set of furniture, it can make the room feel generic and impersonal. Instead, incorporate a few pieces in a complementary hue or with different textures. This will add depth and visual appeal to the room. 
  1. Neglecting to Incorporate Enough Lighting
    Raleigh homes for sale that lack ample lighting aren't as appealing to potential buyers as their well-illuminated counterparts. A well-lit room is inviting and shows off your gorgeous pieces. In addition to a central source of lighting (like a chandelier or overhead lighting), add floor lights, table lamps, and desk lamps to integrate additional layers of light. Your lighting should be functional (making it possible for you to accomplish all the tasks you do in the room) and visually appealing (lending a cozy touch to the space, like wall sconces do in the dining room). 

Now that you've addressed these interior design mistakes, are you ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to start the process!

April
14

Paint Color Psychology: What Colors You Should Use Before Listing Your Home?

Paint Color Tips

Have you ever noticed how some rooms entice you into settling back and relaxing, and others make you feel energetic and ready for fun? Understanding the effects of your choice of colors will help you send the correct message to potential buyers. Our real estate agents can tell you that painting your home will probably bring the greatest return on investment of any upgrades you make when selling your home. Keep in mind the psychological effects of these colors before starting to paint. 

  1. Classic white
    Not only does white evoke calming effects, but it also opens up the space, making it appear larger. We often equate white with cleanliness. These are the primary reasons that white has been the most common choice of sellers for decades. Potential buyers also see white as the easiest color to paint over later.

  2. Black
    Often regarded as sophisticated and elegant, too much black can be somber and depressing. It's best used as an accent to bring drama to a classic white interior without interfering with the expansive visual effects. Consider black rugs or small accessories to add interest to what might otherwise be a boring environment.

  3. Gray
    Eliciting the same feelings of calm serenity white brings to the table, it adds versatility, matching any color scheme. gray lends a comforting feeling of warmth to a cool room. This adaptability has made gray the new "go-to" color of many interior decorators, edging white off the pedestal as number one. 

  4. Blue
    From the sky above to the deep blue sea, this color brings a cool calm, making it a good choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. Psychologists tell us it actually lowers blood pressure, and who doesn't need that after a busy day? Available in so many shades, blue can accent a home's architectural style, such as slate blue for a Craftsman or light shades for a beach house. 

  5. Green
    Another cool color, green, also reduces stress and provides a restful environment appropriate for bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. Like blue, green is soothing and harmonious, reminiscent of the beauties of nature. Think of how a lush lawn calls to us to take off our shoes and walk across it with bare feet. 

  6. Red
    Of all the warmer colors, red is the most intense, creating energy and stimulating emotions. That can be either good or bad, depending upon where it is used. Increasing energy is great for a recreation room but can be uncomfortable when you are trying to relax in the living room. When painting, consider where you want a stimulating space.

  7. Orange 
    Like red, orange increases tension and excitement, great when you're watching a football game, but not conducive to settling back with a good book. Used carefully, it can encourage enthusiasm, but too much of it can create a feeling of chaos. Used carefully, it can make a dining area feel lively and fun but might be more appropriate to a breakfast bar than a formal dining room.

The most important thing to remember when you are preparing your house for sale is that you want to make it attractive to buyers, not make it a personal statement. You may find it better to stick with neutral colors of paint and, if you are showing it with furniture, add colors with pillows, bedspreads, and other accessories that can be easily removed. 

Looking at other Raleigh homes for sale will help you see how a fresh coat of paint can make a difference! Contact us for assistance listing your house. 

March
31

Movie Night: Try These Home Theater Improvements

Raleigh Home Theater

Whether you enjoy binge-watching your favorite shows or like to host at-home movie nights, a home theater system is an excellent addition to your home. Our real estate agents find that a home theater system is also appealing to potential homebuyers and helps define your home's unused spaces. Here are a few ways you can take your home theater to the next level.

  1. Select the Right Space
    When deciding where to place your home theater, opt for a room that's removed from the hustle and bustle of your household. This should be a space that's used only for viewing media. Ideally, you should be able to close the room off from the rest of the household when it's time to catch a movie to minimize noise and light pollution. 
  1. Place Your TV or Screen the Correct Distance from Your Seating
    For the best viewing experience, your TV or screen should be the proper distance from your home theater's seating. If your space has a TV, multiply the length of the screen's diagonal size by 1.5 to 2.5 to know where to place the seats. For example, assume you have a 60-inch TV. This means that you'll place your seats anywhere from 90 inches to 150 inches from the screen. However, if you have a projector in your home theater, multiply the width of the screen by 2 to 5 to figure out your seat placement. This makes it comfortable for you to see the whole screen. 
  1. Paint Your Walls a Dark Hue
    Your home theater is the perfect place to embrace a dark color for your walls. Lighter colors can reflect light in the room and cause a glare. Dark hues will absorb light and help you better control the lighting conditions in the room. Raleigh homes for sale with a fresh coat of paint will also show better with prospective buyers. 
  1. Invest in a Home Audio System
    Even top-notch TVs frequently have less than stellar sound quality. Add to your viewing experience by investing in a home audio system. This will ensure that the sound tones are crisp and clear. For a smaller space, a soundbar may be sufficient. You don't want to overwhelm the room with too much sound. If you have a larger home theater room, a surround sound system is an excellent choice for an immersive viewing experience.
  1. Keep Decorative Items Away from Your Screen
    Movie posters and souvenirs are cool, but they can distract you or your guests when you're watching a movie. Instead, position them so that they're behind your seating. 
  1. Opt for Tiered Seating
    Tiered seating is the gold standard for home theaters because it prevents someone from inadvertently obscuring the view of the person behind them. Fortunately, tiered seating doesn't have to be expensive. You can add platforms to your seats to raise them a few inches. Or, you might opt to add a few cozy floor seats; these are often popular with kids who like a little extra space to fidget during a movie. 

Want a home with more space for your home theater? Contact us today to explore your options!

January
6

Small Design Details That Make a Difference

Raleigh Design Details

When you think about changing up your home decor, you may assume that only big projects can have an equally big impact. But small design details can have a much greater effect on your home's appearance than you think.

Our real estate agents love the following small design changes that can make a big difference in your home's appearance:

  1. Upgrade your doors    
    You may not immediately think of your doors when it comes time to get creative with your home decor. But new doors can add a unique sense of style and a new architectural dimension to your home. For a simple change, paint your doors in a new color. For a greater impact, replace existing doors with something special, like one made from reclaimed wood or a reused barn door.
      
  2. Give your fireplace a boost
    If you have a fireplace that looks blah, paint its mantel in a contrasting color. You can also frame your fireplace materials like bricks. And even if you don't already have a fireplace, talk to a contractor about your options for installing one.
      
  3. Add some statement pieces
    Statement pieces can have a big impact on any room. Try looking in antique stores for items like artwork or a centerpiece bowl. This way, you'll find unique treasures that add a big dose of personality and visual interest to your home.
      
  4. Change up your lighting
    Having different types of lighting helps you create different moods, so try options like string lights, a table lamp, and a floor lamp. Turn on the string lights when you're hosting friends, use the floor lamp for everyday activities, and switch on the table lamp if you're cozying up with a book. You can also give your lamps a boost of style by adding bulbs in different shapes or designs.
      
  5. Create a gallery wall
    Strategically place photos and art on a wall to make a big visual impact in any room. You can also add a picture rail for a more permanent option that adds a polished detail all on its own. As a bonus, a picture rail also lets you avoid putting holes in your walls.
      
  6. Add texture to your walls
    Color isn't the only way to change up your walls. You can also hire a painter to use techniques that create texture on a plain wall. Or, if you'd rather, add an accent panel of stonework or mosaic tiles.
      
  7. Replace your hardware
    For a quick change, pick out new hardware on your cabinets and drawers. You'll have a large variety of options, ranging from sleek, modern-looking silver handles to intricate bronze knobs.
      
  8. Paint a focal wall
    Choose a focal wall and paint it in a color that sounds out from what's used on the other walls. For example, paint a focal wall in a striking navy blue to stand out among white walls in the room. The key is to choose a color that sharply contrasts with what's used on the other walls while making sure that the colors complement one another.
      
  9. Don't forget the simple things
    If you're stuck figuring out what changes to make, keep things simple. Add some striking throw pillows, blankets, candles, or photo frames to your decor. It's easy to change or add these items as you find new ones you love, and they can help spark further creativity.

Contact us to learn more about small changes that can make your home stand out among other Raleigh homes for sale

December
9

What Kind of Christmas Tree is Best For Your Home?

Raleigh Christmas Trees

With the holiday season in full swing, it's time to select a Christmas tree for your home. A real Christmas tree is a charming option that instantly lends a festive touch to your space. Our real estate agents know that a home with gorgeous decorations appeals to potential buyers. 

Not only does a real Christmas tree fill your home with the seasonal smell of pine, but it helps support the local businesses who grew, transported, and sold the tree. Here are some guidelines to follow to help you pick the best Christmas tree for your home. 

  1. Know Your Options
    There are a few different varieties of trees commonly sold as Christmas trees. The Balsam Fir is a popular choice in many households; this variety is the most fragrant alternative, and it only sheds a small number of its needles. If you have lots of space and want a full Christmas tree, consider a Douglas Fir. The Douglas Fir boasts a lovely pyramid shape and soft needles. Make sure that you're ultra committed to watering your tree, as the Douglas Fir requires more water. Maybe you like to add a lot of ornaments to your tree. The Frasier Fir is preferred for it's stiff, strong branches capable of holding a tree full of decorations. If a green tree doesn't quite suit your aesthetics, check out the Colorado Blue Spruce. Its needles are a bluish-silvery hue and look fantastic in a room adorned with winter-themed decor. The Eastern White Pine is a great choice if you're sensitive to smells and prefer a tree with minimal fragrance. However, it also has soft needles that aren't capable of supporting many ornaments and decorations.
  1. Measure the Space Where You Plan to Put the Tree
    Your next step is to measure the space where you plan to set up the tree. When choosing your tree's home, make sure that it's away from any heat sources (like a radiator or open window) or open flames (such as a fireplace or candle display). Once you've selected your spot, measure the height (leaving room at the bottom for the tree holder and at the top for the tree topper), width, and depth. Jot these measurements down and take them with you so you can ensure that any potential trees are a suitable size. If you're adding your home to the inventory of Raleigh homes for sale, make sure that you don't overcrowd the space. Having too much decor or furnishings in one area will actually make the room appear small. 
  1. Understand What to Look for at the Tree Lot
    Besides meeting your preferences for size and variety, there are some other requirements your tree should meet. Look for a tree with bright, shiny needles; steer clear of trees that have brown, dull needles. Give the branches a shake. If a lot of needles fall off, move onto the next tree. Take a few of the needles in your hands and crush them. They should have a fragrant, fresh smell. 
  1. Keep Your Tree Hydrated
    Regardless of which type of Christmas tree you choose, ample hydration will ensure that it looks amazing the entire season. Once you get your tree home, give it plenty of water, and check the water frequently. Most trees are a little dehydrated when you get them home and will initially use more water until they can stabilize their water levels. 

Want a home with more space for holiday decorations? Contact us today to explore your options!

September
2

7 Ways to Put a Spare Bedroom to Use

Spare Bedroom Ideas

A spare bedroom can come in handy for overnight guests, but if this is a rare occurrence in your home, the space is often better utilized for everyday use. The extra room can be transformed in many different ways to suit your family's needs.

Our real estate agents suggest the following 7 ways to put a spare bedroom to use and to make it your favorite space in your home:

  1. Mudroom
    A spare bedroom that's near the front door can be utilized as a mudroom-like storage space. You'll need shelving and cubbies to store shoes, kids' backpacks, and other items. Hooks for coats and jackets will also be needed, and you can finish off the space with bench topped with a padded cushion so you can sit on it to take your shoes on or off.

  2. Reading Area
    A quiet room where you can get away from it all and curl up with a good book may be just the thing if you like to read. Add some shelving, a few comfortable chairs, some artwork, and cozy accessories like throw pillows or blankets, and you'll have the basics taken care of. You can also choose appropriate artwork if you'd like to spruce up the room, and good lighting is a must so you can see to read without any difficulty.

  3. Dressing Room
    Converting a spare bedroom into a dressing room gives you the space to store your clothing, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories neatly, as well as giving you a roomy space to get dressed. Best of all, you can emphasize the type of storage you need the most. So if you're into shoes, for example, pull out shoe racks may be a priority for you. Also include features like shelving, seating, a mirror that reflects you from head to toe, and closet accessories to store belts, scarves, and more.

  4. Yoga Room
    If you're into yoga but usually end up pulling your mat out into a family living area, a spare bedroom can be converted into a quiet, soothing space to practice some moves. Decorate it in soothing tones with warm lighting and create your own yoga studio with just a mat or add some extras like yoga straps or bolsters. And to practice moves safely, make sure the room is large enough to keep you safely away from any walls or furniture.

  5. Study Room
    If you have school-age kids, why not provide them with a quiet space to work in? This also frees up space in their bedrooms and keeps the kitchen table cleared off. Good lighting is key when you're creating a study room, as are plenty of desk space and all the tools and supplies they'll need.

  6. Home Theater
    Home theaters are popular spots to gather and spend time with your family at home while watching a movie. Invest in comfortable seating and a projector or large TV, and if you'd like, add some touches like a popcorn machine or framed movie posters.

  7. Sewing or Craft Room
    Sewing and crafts can take up a lot of space and leave you struggling to take your supplies out and put them away each time you want to use them. A dedicated sewing or craft studio lets you have storage units and boxes or baskets that suit your individual needs and large tables, bolts of fabric, or other supplies ready to use when you need them.

Contact us to look at Raleigh homes for sale. We'll help you find a home that has extra features you'd love to have, such as a spare bedroom. 

February
26

7 Ways to Reclaim Your Unfinished Space

Unfinished Attic Ideas

When our real estate agents help sellers price their homes, the amount of usable space is always an important factor. While some of the best Raleigh homes for sale make great use of all the available space, most do not. 

If you have an unfinished attic or basement, you're missing out on the opportunity to increase the value of your home. Even better, you'll also create a new space that you and your family can enjoy. Not sure how to get started? Here are seven of the best ways to reclaim your unfinished space.

  1. Create a Cozy Sleeping Nook
    Taking advantage of your attic brings some challenges, like limited space and awkwardly angled ceilings. However, despite (or maybe because of) this, it's the ideal location for a cozy sleeping nook. Most attics are the perfect size for two twin-sized beds with a small bedside table in between. Create a clean and cozy feel by painting the walls a stark white and adding brightly colored bedspreads and a matching throw rug. 
  2. Make a Fun and Bright Playroom
    Turning your attic into a playroom gives kids a space to call their own. Make the space whimsical and fun by choosing brightly colored carpeting and comfortable seating that's low to the ground. Don't forget to add some storage space to help keep toys and games organized when they're not in use. 
  3. Turn Your Basement Into a Man Cave
    A finished basement is a perfect place to create a "man cave" or entertainment room. Make sure you take steps to get rid of moisture and odors and fully insulate the space before you start your remodeling project. Add wood or laminate flooring, comfortable furniture, and whatever amenities best suit your preferences. Once the basics are taken care of, you may want to add a home bar, gaming area, or surround-sound speakers.
  4. Create a Quiet Writer's Retreat
    The coziness you can create in an attic also makes it ideal for a quiet writer's retreat. Not only can you get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house, but you can also turn it into a distraction-free zone where you can spend hours honing your craft. Add a small desk, a comfortable loveseat, and even cushions on the floor that will allow you to sprawl out whenever the mood strikes. 
  5. Or a Reading Nook 
    You don't have to be a writer to enjoy a quiet getaway. Consider turning your attic space into a comfortable book nook instead! Add a mattress or custom cushions under the angled ceiling to create a unique space perfect for curling up and enjoying your favorite books. Decorate the bulk of the room with soft lighting and add some strategically angled bright lights to illuminate your reading space. 
  6. Turn Your Space Into a Spa
    A completely innovative idea is to turn your basement into a home spa. Add a luxurious soaking tub and a frameless shower. Decorate the space with natural materials, marble, glass tiles, and maybe even a chandelier! 
  7. Create a Comfy TV Viewing Room
    Last but not least, both attics and basements make excellent home theaters or simple television viewing rooms. Choose a large screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and don't forget to add plenty of comfortable seating. 

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in the Raleigh area, we can help! Contact us today. 

October
5

Picking The Right Paint

Picking the Right PaintReady to pick out paint to make your new home your own? Perhaps you're toying with the idea of changing a wall color to refresh a room before you sell? Maybe the front door needs a facelift to boost your curb appeal? No matter what painting project you want to take on, you may soon find that selecting the perfect paint color isn't as easy as it seems.

There are thousands of colors to choose from in varying finishes making it hard to narrow down the best hue for you. Not to mention, that studies have proven that a home's paint colors may have the power to impact its sale both positively and negatively. 

Zillow's 2017 Paint Color Analysis discovered that "walls painted in cool neutrals like blue or gray have broad appeal, and may be signals that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features." Even more interesting, especially to soon-to-be sellers, the study revealed that homes with blue bathrooms, specifically hues of powder blue or pale periwinkle, sold for $5,440 more than anticipated. Zillow's Chief Economist Svenja Gudell added:

"Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos. Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms."

What paint colors are best?

Designer recommended paint colors Fortunately, the pros have weighed in and made some excellent recommendations for the perfect paint colors to choose for your home. Plan to bookmark these paint chip picks. 

Picking a White Paint

It may surprise you, but white is among the hardest paint colors to pick. Just like other hues on the color wheel, white comes in varying shades that appear warm or cool depending on the mix and the colors with which the paint is paired (think trim work and walls).

Elle Décor recently shared its interior design team's favorite white paints including:

  • All White by Farrow & Ball
  • Great White by Farrow & Ball
  • Honeymilk by Valspar
  • Lily of the Valley by Benjamin Moore
  • Simply White by Benjamin Moore
  • White Diamond by Benjamin Moore
  • White Dove by Benjamin Moore

Picking a Neutral Paint 

On the hunt for something neutral? Get ready; there are a lot of paints that apply in a variety of colors.

A paint-picking article published by the Washington Post keys this task up honestly with input from an in-the-know designer; "Neutrals are difficult to select because thought needs to be given to whether a warm or cool tone best suits the project," says Josh Hildreth, a Reston designer. "Natural light and lighting conditions need to be considered."

If beige is what you are after, Curbed, a popular website about all-things home, offers up some paint suggestions from its designer contributors:

  • Cumulus Cloud by Benjamin Moore
  • Jute by Benjamin Moore
  • Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore
  • Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore (don't let the "gray" in the title dissuade, you may prefer a beige that is cool opposed to warm)
  • Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball

Picking a Gray Paint

Gray continues to be the color of choice among home décor designers. If it's also your preference, you should know that the new neutral comes in blue-, green- and taupe-based hues that may change color under different light sources.

Your best bet will be to consider some paints picked by the professionals and test them out in your own home before you commit to a final color. Here are some gray paints recommended by the design team at House Beautiful:

  • Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball
  • Graytint by Benjamin Moore
  • Magnetic Gray by Sherwin-Williams
  • Mindful Gray by Sherwin- Williams
  • November Rain by Benjamin Moore
  • Shaded White by Farrow & Ball
  • Stone Harbor by Benjamin Moore
  • Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore

Picking a Blue Paint 

The most popular color across the board, blue is a hue that you'll see in all styles of home décor. The cool color evokes a serene, soothing feeling making it a great option for a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.

Designers are also a fan of using the color to create a statement against complementary shades of white, gray and beige.

Some soft, watery blue paints to consider include:

  • Blue Veil by Benjamin Moore
  • Light Blue by Farrow & Ball
  • Early Frost by Benjamin Moore
  • Tidewater by Sherwin-Williams

Seeking a shade that will make more of a statement? These blues may be just what you desire:

  • Caribbean Azure by Benjamin Moore
  • Searching Blue by Sherwin-Williams
  • Pitch Blue by Farrow & Ball
  • Santa Monica Blue by Benjamin Moore
  • Polo Blue by Benjamin Moore 

Picking a Green Paint

Much like blue, green is a color that is often used in home décor designs to set the stage for calming and relaxing rooms.

Well displayed in nature, the hue styles well with many colors and is a good pick for a fresh, clean look. Designer-approved shades include:

  • Aganthus Green by Benjamin Moore
  • Stone White by Farrow & Ball
  • Vert De Terre by Benjamin Moore
  • Hancock Green by Benjamin Moore
  • Creekside Green by Benjamin Moore

Picking a Red Paint

Do you want to add a pop of red in your home? The bold hue is a homeowner favorite, but may not always be the best choice if you are prepping for a sale.

Think strategic paint placements—a statement wall, a friendly front door or a backdrop to your built-ins—over total saturation. Some red paint chips to pick up and test out include:

  • Chili Pepper by Benjamin Moore
  • Dressage Red by Ralph Lauren Paint
  • Million Dollar Red by Benjamin Moore
  • Moroccan Red by Benjamin Moore
  • Redstone by Benjamin Moore
  • Relay Red by Ralph Lauren Paint

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