Getting ready to put your home on the market or just want to give it a fresh look? You probably have heard that professional photos and video increase the chances of your home being seen online!
However, you’ve got to clean up your home a bit before we can get to the good stuff. It’s a daunting task, but decluttering and cleaning up will help attract the most buyers. Once you’ve said bye-bye to that clutter and have made your home look spruced up, you can go back in and add some decor that will accent what you already have and catch the eye of a potential buyer.
Here are some decor ideas that are current with today’s style and will add a touch of ‘wow factor’ to your Realtor’s marketing techniques.
Have you ever struggled with what color to paint the exterior of your home?! Guess what? You aren’t the only one! I’ve been getting asked for suggestions on how to start this process a lot lately- so here you go! Here’s my system for outside and maybe, just maybe I will have a special guest tell us how to approach the inside walls of a home.
How to select paint colors for the EXTERIOR of your home:
- Make a list of new construction neighborhoods around town (not sure? I can pull you a list of new construction in Bellingham), grab the person who you have to agree on this decision with, and a pumpkin spice latte (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and hop in the car!
- Drive through these neighborhoods and point out the ones you like the colors of. Find a few you agree on and then take a few photos of them (make sure you write on your list the address of the homes you are taking photos of – and the color next to it… I’ll come back to this later). Keep in mind your style of home. If you need 3 paint colors (house, trim and an accent color) look for other homes that are using the same number of colors. Many homes in the Bellingham area are craftsman style with shingles and natural wood posts. You may have to consider stain colors for any wood elements as well.
- Bring those photos home and PRINT THEM. I know, weird to think you’d print a photo in this day and age. If its been a while since you’ve printed one and you get stuck on this step, just upload to your closest @walgreens and pick up in an hour!
- Take those printed photos outside, stand on your street and hold them up so you can see the colors and your home in the same line of sight. Order them by your favorites.
- Now, go for a walk. Walk both ways down your street and make sure that that color won’t be a total eye sore with the surrounding homes. If for some reason #1 doesn’t quite work with the neighbors, then consider #2!
- Alright, now you have decided on a color and possibly a trim color-so you might be thinking how do I know what color it actually is?! Guess what-there’s an app for that! Most major paint brands (for sure Sherwin Williams, Behr and Benjamin Moore) have an app that you can use to take a photo of a color and it will identify the hue and pick the closest shade in that brand. It’s not the smartest idea to use the app to take a photo of the printed color- so go back to your list and drive to the home you wrote the color you chose next to and get as close as you can to the house without being a weirdo and use the app to identify the color! If you took your picture from new construction, you may also be able to contact the builder to get the exact color codes for the paint.
Before you paint, if you’re part of a home owner’s association, have your association review your paint colors to make sure there are no conflicts with your HOA rules.
Happy House Painting!
How we turned our Bellingham house into our home
Here’s a little story about the time that I accidentally fell in love with accent walls! An accent wall (a.k.a. “feature wall”) is a wall whose design differs from the design of the other walls in the room (thanks Wikipedia for that definition). An accent wall can be made with paint, fabric, wood… even straw (anyone else remember those horrible accent walls gone bad from Trading Spaces??). Chip and Joanna from Magnolia homes and the ever popular reality show Fixer Upper have made wood accent or ship-lap walls all the rage… and I’ll admit, I love them too.
The Problem – Wall paper…so much wall paper
The first Accent Wall I ever did was not exactly planned. My husband and I had purchased this sweet little home in Bellingham, WA. It was in need of some TLC, but we were confident in our DIY abilities. As a real estate agent in Bellingham, I’ve seen my share of DIY gone wrong. I was sure that we could make the seemingly small improvements to make this house our home. Step one was to remove the horrific wall paper from the master bedroom (see image, then shudder).
Have you ever removed wall paper? I had visions of just starting in the upper left hand corner and ripping off long, sweeping pieces of paper. It did not go as planned. After spending a whole day with my sister, covered in sweat, wall paper glue, steam and vinegar I GAVE UP on ever removing this wallpaper from the wall. We had gotten from the ceiling to about half way down the wall removed on the wall across from this one.
Horrible, RIGHT?! This was the master bedroom! The room that is supposed to provide me tranquility and a sense of relaxation. I could not look out past the wall paper to even try and enjoy some of the lovely Bellingham view that room had. I was disheartened; this amazing potential home we bought, was COVERED in 90’s wall paper.
The Solution- Accent Wall #1
Exhausted, that night I took to Pinterest (and a lovely bottle of red wine from a local Bellingham wine shop) and started scheming. On 3 walls, I decided to do a white vertical ship lap look up to a chair rail height (right where we had given up taking off wall paper any further down the wall). And on the main wall behind the bed- We did this:
TADA! Cheap, rough, cedar fence boards. Not just purchased and slapped on- but “cured.” It wasn’t a super fast process; wood you buy from a discount lumber store like Home Depot or Lowes is still full of TONS of moisture. Moisture makes wood swell… so it MUST be dried for two weeks inside the house or you will end up with gaps between your boards after it dries out on the wall. Next, we “3 step aged” the boards (I made that term up, but I will write another post about the process soon) and THEN hung the aged wood on the wall. We LOVED it and I was hooked. Best part- it cost under $200 to do this large wall! We immediately had the rustic, outdoorsy feel that fit with out Bellingham surroundings (if you’ve never been to Bellingham, check out this footage. You’ll see why we love this area. And if you love it too, call me, I’ll help you find a home in Bellingham).
Accent Wall #2 – The addiction grows!
The next accent wall we did was in the nursery of my son’s room. This time we used tongue and groove pine boards. Stained them different colors and topped them with a shelf.
Our new project is to turn a “builder grade” house into a HOME- challenge accepted. I believe another Accent Wall is in my near future! Like I said above, stay tuned for a step-by-step tutorial on how to “age” wood (give it that awesome vintage barn-wood look). AND, if I’m lucky there will be another blog in the near future about my first accent wall at our new home.
From the Windermere Blog below you’ll start by learning more about what an Accent Wall is. You’ll also find tips on how to choose a wall, and other considerations to make when you are ready to take one on for yourself!
An accent wall is an emphasized wall in a room that has been designed to attract attention from adjacent walls. The simplest (and cheapest) option to go about an accent wall is by means of paint, though some may opt for wallpaper or tile. Homes with accent walls add a surprise element to a room and define an area of space that deserves attention.
Choosing the right wall
Experts say that the first wall you see upon entering a room is typically the accent wall. In many cases, the wall will have a fireplace or a built-in bookshelf, or something that suggests it is the focal point of the room. In this case, you want to accent that wall by emphasizing the central point with a background color.
Choosing the right color
Color accent walls can add depth and dimension to a room, and make a room seem bigger, warmer, or brighter. If a room is large, consider using warm colors to make the room appear more welcoming, or if the space is smaller, a lighter color can make a room look more spacious. You can visually enlarge or shrink a room by choosing the right color for your room.
Remember to think about how lighting affects the color of a wall. The color you choose may change depending on light sources that reflect on walls. For example, incandescent lights will have a different influence in comparison to natural lighting against walls. Different light sources can affect color choices, so don’t forget to experiment with lighting against colored walls.
Tinting the ceiling
Typically, wonder-walls function independently of the ceiling, as they usually remain white. However, by adding a few drops of the wall color paint to a can of ceiling paint, you are able to slightly tint a ceiling. This subtle color scheme can make for a perfect ceiling finish to compliment an accent wall.
How to do it yourself
Painting an accent wall is an easy home improvement or do-it-yourself project. All that is needed is a short list of low-cost products, including:
- Painter’s tape
- Paint (with primer)
- Roller and brush
- Putty and scraper
The directions are simple: tape off the desired wall, spread tarp across the floor, fill any holes or cracks on the wall, sand and smooth out the surface, then paint the accent wall using zigzag strokes.
Painting an accent wall is a great DIY project for anyone to tackle over a weekend or even a few hours. What is your take on the one-wall wonder? Is an accent wall an overstatement, an understatement, or a room well-balanced?
A crisp white ceiling is a classic look, but it’s not the only option for making a room look polished. Here are a few other design considerations to bring some personality to your ceiling.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the amount of creativity and beautiful layering you can put into creating a decorative statement on the ceiling. But before we discuss the many stylish or unusual treatments to consider, let’s start with a classic finish you’ve probably seen before.
Ceiling 1: Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard, original photo on Houzz
In my own design projects, I find many clients are excited to remove a popcorn ceiling treatment, and this is usually my preference as well. The results can be subtle, yet striking.
In some cases, the results can be dramatic. Removing a popcorn ceiling, and the entire drywall layer above, can often reveal architectural finishes, such as a cool concrete surface.
An exposed concrete ceiling gives a room a bit of industrial, architectural flair, adding drama and texture in a modern way. Of course, not every home has a concrete ceiling to reveal, so it’s important to speak with your designer or contractor before making any plans.
It’s also important to note that stripping a ceiling back to the concrete will leave no space for recessed ceiling lights. For this reason I usually include an area of dropped ceiling to allow potlights, define a gathering space or focal point and visually break up the look a bit.
Ceiling 2: Victoria Gerts, original photo on Houzz
From my experience, the most popular contemporary ceiling style is the simple flat drywall ceiling. If a room includes other sound-absorbing materials like rugs, curtains or a fabric headboard, you can skip the acoustic ceiling treatment without worrying about echoes.
As I mentioned before, it is not always easy to achieve a perfectly crisp drywall ceiling, but skilled tradespeople can install either a new drywall ceiling or scrape the texture paint from an existing ceiling to reveal a much more sleek, modern surface.
Trimming a ceiling with crown molding painted to match the ceiling hue is a great alternative way to hide subtle imperfections in the slope of the ceiling and achieve a bright, airy, classic look.
Ceiling 3: Jade N Timmerman Interiors, original photo on Houzz
A drywall ceiling doesn’t only come in one shade, so while we’re discussing this finish, let’s touch on some differing paint choices.
White. A white or just-off-white ceiling is popular because it’s a great way to make any room feel open and airy and let light bounce from any windows or light fixtures back into the room.
For a contemporary or modern home, plain white can work great, but for a more traditional home or a space with definite warm tones (like this room with a lot of welcoming beige), choose a subtle off-white that complements the tone of the walls.
For a fun, trendy take, cheat the ceiling line a bit by starting the ceiling paint 12 to 24 inches down the wall (or only painting the walls up to that point, whichever way you think of it). The result is a breezy modern effect without using any bold hues or new materials.
Gray. Using a darker hue on the ceiling than on the walls visually brings the ceiling down, which can make a room feel more intimate.
Using a neutral gray shade (or one with a hint of cool blue) achieves this effect without drawing too much attention, so the room still feels serene and sophisticated.
This makes gray a great choice for bedrooms, dens and nurseries, bringing a peaceful, cozy atmosphere.
Accent colors. For a room with a unique personality, adding an accent color to the ceiling infuses a lot of drama in an unexpected spot.
I won’t lie: As a DIY task, painting the ceiling is not nearly as easy as painting a wall, and even for professionals it usually requires the room be fully emptied first. So, it’s best to be absolutely sure that you love a hue before applying it to the “fifth wall.” The upside is that the ceiling is often a relatively small surface area, meaning that splash of color is a more controlled dose than painting the walls.
While a painted ceiling is immediately noticeable in a room with stark white walls, when a room has a lot of interesting and eclectic finishes on other surfaces, a rich hue can actually blend in better than a white ceiling. It’s a daring look for sure, but for those who love a lot of personality in their home, a colorful ceiling can be a very livable choice.
For the best of both worlds, a navy, deep teal or royal blue shade will feel dramatic but still appear neutral enough to not overwhelm you.
Matching ceilings and walls. Painting the ceiling to match the walls may sound overwhelming, but sometimes it can actually be the more subtle choice. When the ceiling and the walls (or even just a few walls) are the same hue, the lack of contrast makes the ceiling less of a dramatic feature and more of a singular background color. Of course, this applies best to softer hues like gentle pink, watery blue or heritage butter yellow.
Ceiling 4: Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard, original photo on Houzz
I personally match the ceiling to the walls quite often when using light neutral shades. While it may appear white on your screen, the walls, ceiling and molding in this project are all Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray, a subtle, warm gray shade. In an older home, using an all-over hue is a great way to deemphasize imperfections such as sloped ceilings that don’t meet walls in a perfectly straight line.
Two-tone paint. Using a dark or dramatic paint color on the ceiling doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Like the opposite of an area rug, painting just part of a ceiling can help define a particular zone. Lining up the edge or edges with another element in the room will help it make visual sense.
Semigloss. The higher the degree of gloss in a paint, the more visual depth it will have and the lighter the perceived color will be. So, when choosing a darker shade especially, selecting a semigloss or more subtle satin finish can make a color seem less aggressive and more multidimensional and help keep the paint from absorbing all of the light in the room.
Matte. Matte and eggshell finishes represent the less-glossy end of the spectrum, and thus reflect less light. This will make a color seem more pure and vivid, and a bit darker. For those who don’t want to shy away from a rich statement, a matte finish gives a crisp contemporary look.
Gloss. Ultra-high-gloss paint is not easy to apply to a ceiling because it has a slower drying time and thus lots of opportunity to drip or become uneven. But it’s not impossible for expert professionals, and the results can be stunning, especially when paired with sparkling ceiling fixtures and beautiful natural light.
Alternately, a “stretched ceiling” uses a layer of high-tech material suspended just below the true ceiling to create a gloss effect (or other finishes) that paint alone cannot achieve.
Ceiling 5: Legacy Custom Homes Inc, original photo on Houzz
Wood planks are most often seen on the floor, but they look just as beautiful above.
While wood-paneled ceilings are often associated with cottages and farmhouses, they can work with a variety of styles of home. Panelling works well for transitional homes, especially in controlled doses like the small strip seen here, bringing texture and richness to the ceiling that a solid color can’t match.
Generally, thinner strips of wood, and species with more knots, will appear more cottage-inspired, while wider planks or sheets, often with a less-grainy finish, will carry a more modern appearance.
Both types work well in kitchens with airy white or off-white cabinetry, taking a classic “white kitchen” and giving it added warmth and a natural appeal.
Ceiling 6: Buchanan Construction, original photo on Houzz
While these panels are not necessarily made from tin, the pressed-tin look endures as a charming option for traditional kitchens, or contemporary or transitional kitchens that want to add some classic flair.
These panels can be visually quite dominant with their glam or antiqued finishes and busy patterning, so they work well in rooms with otherwise simple palettes, or as a small accent over an island or seating group.
To keep the look fresh and bright, try using classic tin panels with stainless steel appliances, so the primary metal tone repeats and the room feels cohesive.
Hoping to transform your tired laundry room into a sparkling clean, efficiently working space, but without the major costs of a full remodel? By not changing the layout or adding square feet, you can bring costs down while still making meaningful changes to your space. Use this guide to help you decide what to prioritize and what to put on the back burner, and give your laundry room an update that works with your space — whether your budget is $100 or $10,000.
Laundry 1: Sharon Barrett Interiors, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $100: Clean, declutter and upgrade laundry baskets that have seen better days. It’s worth spending a little more for hampers that can stand up to heavy use.
Also think about which features would be most helpful to have, such as hampers on wheels, triple-sorter bins or stackable baskets that can tuck out of the way when you’re not using them.
Laundry 2: David Charlez Designs, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $300: Clean up, get hampers and then give the walls a fresh coat of paint. A cheerful color can make your laundry room feel brand-new without breaking the budget — especially if you’re willing to DIY.
If your budget is about $500: Get hampers, fresh paint and then a soft new rug. You’ll appreciate the dose of color as much as the softness underfoot. If moisture is a concern (for example, if your laundry room is in the basement), you may want to choose a sturdy indoor-outdoor rug.
Laundry 3: ACQUIRE, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $700: Get hampers, fresh paint and a new rug, and then swap out the lighting.
Ample lighting is important when you’re trying to check laundry for stains and read labels, so pay attention to the recommended wattage of any light fixture you are considering — anything less than 75 watts may not shed enough light (especially if it’s the sole light source in the room).
Laundry 4: CVI Design – Carly Visser, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $1,200: Tackle all the above, and then treat your space to some bonus storage and extras, like an ironing station, a drying rack or open shelves. If your laundry room is small, look for space-saving designs like folding drying racks, retractable clotheslines and wall-mounted ironing boards.
If your budget is about $3,500: What’s next? New appliances! A new washer and dryer can work more efficiently than older models, operate more quietly and get your clothes cleaner.
If you’re going from top-loading to front-loading machines, consider adding a countertop above to hold supplies and act as a surface for folding. Not in the market for a new set? Give your old machines a thorough cleaning to keep them running well (and smelling fresh).
Laundry 5: colorTHEORY Boston, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $5,000: If you have more room in the budget, think about replacing the laundry room sink and faucet. If you’re hoping to avoid additional installation costs, choose a new model that is the same size as the old one. If you don’t already have a sink in the laundry room, adding one will require more extensive help from a plumber, and costs will be significantly more.
Laundry 6: Dina Bandman Interiors, original photo on Houzz
If your budget is about $10,000: So you have the hampers, paint, rug, lighting, storage, appliances and sink. If you still have room in the budget, think about tackling a bigger project like installing a new tile floor or a pet-washing station. Your furry friend may not thank you but sure will look cute sitting in that tub.
Modern home appliances make our lives so much easier: They tackle dreaded household chores, saving us time and effort. There are lots of ways to use them, however, that you may not have thought of before. From cleaning your ceiling fixtures in the dishwasher to vacuuming your pet, here are 13 little-known tricks for getting more than your money’s worth from your appliances.
- Sanitize small toys and more. Use your dishwasher to wash and sanitize teething rings, small plastic toys, mouth guards, and even baseball caps. Place items on the top rack and run the dishwasher as usual with detergent (without any dirty dishes). Put smaller items in a small mesh laundry bag so that they don’t move around.
- Clean ceiling fixtures. At least once or twice a year, remove and clean your glass ceiling fixtures and light covers in an empty dishwasher. Run the machine on the normal cycle.
- Eliminate wrinkles from clothing. To smooth out wrinkled clothes or linens left too long in the dryer, toss a damp, lint-free cloth in with them. Run the load on the lowest setting for 10 to 15 minutes. Newer dryers also feature a steam setting that removes wrinkles and refreshes clothing between wears.
- Disinfect sponges and dishcloths. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths contain billions of germs. Clean and disinfect them daily by zapping them on high in the microwave for 2 minutes to kill germs.
- Freshen up your curtains. Vacuum heavy drapes with the upholstery attachment. Use the dusting brush attachment for lighter drapes. Wash sheer curtains in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, then hang them up while they’re damp to prevent wrinkles.
- Remove wax from fabric or carpet. To get rid of wax on a tablecloth, place it in your freezer until the wax is hard. Then put a flat paper bag over the wax and another under the fabric. Iron the top bag with a medium-hot iron until all the wax transfers to the bag. To remove wax from a carpet or rug, place an ice pack on the spot until the wax hardens. Shatter the wax and vacuum up the chips.
- Clean baseboards. Dusting baseboards can be a backbreaking chore. Use your vacuum cleaner and the dusting brush attachment to avoid having to bend down. Do the same to clean chair and table legs.
- Organize your fridge. Use the built-in features of your refrigerator to organize food by category. Designate certain shelves or areas for leftovers, preferably front and center, so you don’t forget they’re in there. Use special-purpose bins for their intended use: crispers for vegetables, deli trays for deli meats and cheeses, cold storage trays for meats. Newer models also feature convertible cooling zones to keep food fresh.
- Dust blinds. Extend the blinds fully and turn the slats to the closed position. Use the dusting brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean the slats from top to bottom. Then open and reclose the slats in the opposite direction and repeat the process.
- Clean your microwave. The best time to clean your microwave is immediately after using it. Thanks to residual steam, all you have to do is wipe it out with a paper towel or damp sponge. To clean old messes, microwave 2 cups of water on high for 5 minutes. The steam will soften cooked-on spills, which you can wipe off with a paper towel or cloth.
- Exterminate dust mites. Dust mites live off human and animal dander and other household dust particles. They thrive in sofas, carpets, and bedding. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum your mattress and upholstered furniture regularly to minimize dust mites. Be sure to empty the canister in an outdoor trashcan.
- Groom your pet. If your dog or cat doesn’t hide when you get out your vacuum cleaner, try using the dusting brush attachment to brush your pet. It’s a gentle way to collect shedding fur.
- Remove grime from shower liners. Wash plastic shower curtain liners in the washing machine with hot water and detergent on the regular cycle. Throw in a small bath towel to help “scrub” mildew and soap scum off the liner. Then rehang the liner and let it air-dry.
Have you found any unusual cleaning hacks for your appliances? Share in the comments below!
Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper writes for The Home Depot about easy organization hacks, including the best ways to use your appliances. To view The Home Depot’s selection of appliances, click here.
This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.