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No matter how big or how old your house is, investing some time and money into it is a must. This is the only way to make it look nice and appealing, as well as boost its value. These upgrades don’t have to be too big or too expensive, but they need to make a lot of sense in the long run. That means you have to think long and hard before you decide what you’re going to do because lots of home improvement projects seem like great ideas at first, but actually turn out to be a waste of your time. Talk to your family, consult a few experts, and find out what’s going to work for your home the most. If you still lack ideas, here are a few suggestions that might suit you more than you could’ve imagined. 

DIY Home Upgrades that Make Sense

Boost your storage potential

It doesn’t matter how many people live in your home, chances are you’ll eventually run out of space. This goes for living and maneuvering space, but for storage space as well. And unless you want to turn your home into a warehouse, you need to come up with some new storage solutions as soon as possible. This means decluttering your possessions first, but also making the most of literally every inch of free space. Think about building those wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling shelves that could help you maximize all the space you have. Also, don’t be afraid to check out professional storage solutions that might be perfect for your garage or your pantry.

DIY Home Upgrades that Make Sense

Finish your basement and your attic

This is a great idea for all those families that are struggling with space but still, haven’t done anything about it. Exploring your basement and your attic, and making these spaces actually livable might take some time and money, but it’s an investment that goes a really long way. These areas can be turned into anything from guest bedrooms and man caves to studies, home offices and even rooms for your children. Of course, you’ll have to make sure these areas are actually in great shape and fix the walls and the floors before you move in. You can opt for hardwood floors, but also other materials such as vinyl, laminate, cork, and even bamboo that will give your basement and your attic comfort and coziness. Finally, furnish and decorate these spaces so that they match the rest of your home, and you can start using them straight away!

DIY Home Upgrades that Make Sense

Replace your doors and windows

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but still one of the most sensible and effective home upgrades in the world. Replacing your doors and windows is a must if you live in an old home that hasn’t been renovated in a while, or in case you’ve just bought a fixer-upper. Start with those protective internal doors that can improve the safety of your home, reduce outside noises, and save you tons of space. When it comes to windows, be sure to insist on those double-glazed windows that save you tons of energy and, consequently, a ton of money all year long.

DIY Home Upgrades that Make Sense

 

Design a home office

If you work from home or have your own company, working from home is one of those things that make your life a lot easier. Instead of wasting time and energy commuting, you can work in your pajamas and get more work done in less time. But, in order to do that, you’re going to need a proper home office where you can focus and concentrate on your work. In addition to basements and attics, you can design a home office in your spare bedroom or by utilizing the space under your stairs. This is something people do quite often today, and the truth is that turning this space into an office isn’t hard at all. You just need a comfortable office chair that prevents injuries and back pain, as well as a spacious desk and some storage space, and you’re good to go! 

Upgrading your home from time to time might not be easy, but it’s simply necessary if you want to make your home visually appealing and comfortable. Just find the ideas that suit you the most and start exploring them asap.

Moving home to a different place is a huge source of anxiety, panic, and exhausting activities that never seem to end. Moving your household to another part of the town is stressful enough, not to mention interstate moves, where odds increase for your items to get damaged, misplaced, and spoiled in bad weather, or you to face extra costs due to delays and professional movers’ incompetence. With so many things to take care of, there are many opportunities for something to go wrong. Here’s a list of common problems you may encounter and ways to avoid them. 

Having no place to stay

Don’t start a relocation process unless you have arranged your family lodgings until the new home is ready for you to move in. Failing to find a home for a few days leaves you with the additional stress of not knowing where to stay once your items reach the destination. A hotel might be a solution but, then you’re in a hurry to get down with the move to avoid paying for hotel rooms. Hurrying things up inevitably leads to mistakes, and you might do something otherwise if you had your plan worked out. Visit your new locality beforehand and book suitable lodgings for your family so you can oversee the move without thinking how much a room costs for every day of delay. 

Common Problems When Moving Homes and How to Avoid Them

Hiring undependable movers

While some problems may stem from your inexperience or negligence, there are also some external ones you can’t directly control. You hire the realtor and the movers hoping to get a professional service, and yet some of them are looking to make quick money off their clients, either disappearing with your deposit or change the arrangements so you’re forced to play by their rules. While this scenario isn’t your fault, you can avoid it with a bit of research. When looking up moving services in your area, make sure to read their customer reviews. Check out their social media profiles and feedback telling whether common people like you were happy with dealing with them. Seeing how they deal with their customer queries and complaints can help you decide which companies are honest and which ones to avoid.

Damaged or lost property

Negligence during transport and insufficient protection are among the main concerns by people looking to move their furniture and property. Apart from getting broken, crushed, bent, or squashed, items are sometimes misplaced or even stolen. To prevent this from happening, try to find a packing and moving service that reassures to handle your items with care. One way to make sure your items are safe is to choose shipping container transport, as an upgrade from s simple truck service. The shipping company will deliver an empty 20’ or 40’ shipping container to your address, together with packing blankets and ties for securing your goods. These moving containers are modified with tie rails and points so your goods can be secured and protected during transit. Another perk of choosing a shipping container is the flexibility of transport as you can arrange it to be hauled by either road or railway. 

Lack of scheduling

Overwhelmed with their own schedules, many homeowners only contact a moving company a day or two before the scheduled moving date. Not only does this cause immense stress and pressure of getting everything done at the last minute, but there are chances that most removal companies will be booked weeks in advance, so they will have neither staff nor vehicles to spare. In a slightly better scenario, you’ll be left to choose among the last ones on your list, risking to hire undependable services (see number 2). Remember to contact and book services you need well in advance, even a month earlier or two wouldn’t be out of line. People often underestimate the scale of the job and time required to pack, so they end up with their schedules wildly extended. 

Common Problems When Moving Homes and How to Avoid Them

Unfavourable weather

While a few raindrops on a moving day won’t cause much harm, a violent hailstorm may run your plans completely. Hauling large metal appliances in a thunderstorm isn’t the smartest move, and neither is risking your electronics to get soaked in torrential rain. Luckily, even if the weather forecast turns wrong, and instead of a nice sunny day you have raining cats and dogs, the heavy rain can easily turn down into a drizzle so you can proceed. However, make sure all the helpers you hired wear appropriate clothes and sturdy boots, as well as to have all your items wrapped in nylon covers to keep them dry whom both the rains and wet ground. 

A smooth home moving experience can be carried out with a bit of thought and consideration. While there are some factors you can’t control, much of the problems can be prevented with careful planning. Unless you have someone whose first-hand experience you can use, make sure to take some advice from these five tips.

You’ve probably noticed the rising popularity of topics dealing with sustainable homes, ways to achieve that sustainability, and reasons why you should make your home green. The truth is, the consequences of global warming are already visible, and they are getting worse every year. Our effect on the environment is still too negative, and even though there are efforts to reduce that effect, it’s still not enough. With that in mind, here are some of the main reasons why having an eco-friendly home is more important than ever before.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Energy savings

One of the most important qualities of eco-friendly homes is the fact that they consume less energy. This is beneficial because it both protects the environment and saves you some money. There are many different ways in which you can make your home consume less energy. For example, by insulating your home well, you’d use less energy on cooling and heating your home. Or, you could opt for energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen, which do cost a bit more initially, but they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Finally, some eco-friendly homes have their own source of renewable energy, like wind turbines or solar panels, so you’d be paying for less energy in general.

Many companies, for example, produce quality solar systems that can help you generate your own energy and thus, not be as affected by the utility rate increases that might happen in the future. Moreover, solar systems are not hard to maintain, so the only thing that requires a bit more work is installing them properly – but there are professionals who can help you with that. It’s really one of the best ways to bring your home to the future. So, if you’re serious about doing your part in the preservation of the environment, using solar power is the way to go.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Environmental impact

Due to the fact that eco-friendly houses use less energy, they also release less harmful gasses that affect the environment. Next, by using sustainable materials when building your home, you’re not using anything that would take nature a long time to replace, as most of such materials are actually recycled. Additionally, by installing water-saving fixtures, for example, you are using less water, which is becoming a scarce resource as well. Also, most newer models of appliances and fixtures have energy-saving features, which can again help preserve the environment. Finally, if you adjust your habits to the home you have and recycle your waste – paper, plastic, metal, etc. – you would add to the preservation of the environment as well. You can also opt for using public transport or riding a bike on a sunny day – there would be fewer cars on the streets, and riding a bike is better for your health too.

Eco-Friendly Home: Why You Should Consider Having One

Health benefits

Building an eco-friendly home is not great just for the environment and your wallet but for your health as well. For example, eco-friendly materials don’t have any harmful chemicals in them, which naturally means that they are safer. Moreover, building companies that use eco-friendly building techniques also avoid using harmful plastics, paints, and other environmental pollutants that could harm your health too. Many of them usually contain carcinogens, so they are definitely something you want to avoid. Additionally, your indoor environment, in general, can affect your health, so everything from lighting to the quality of air matters. For example, comfortable temperatures – due to good insulation and quality heating appliances – can affect your mood and make you less prone to infections and illnesses. Next, clean air due to the good ventilation system and no harmful emissions can help you de-stress and reduce depression. Moreover, a good ventilation system can also reduce symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Also, good insulation, clean air, and proper heating/cooling of your home can all reduce the humidity inside your home, which can prevent respiratory problems. Finally, saving energy on lighting during the day – by letting in more natural light – can again affect your mood and boost your energy levels.

Making your home eco-friendly has more than a few benefits. It can help you save money on utility bills, and it can reduce your carbon footprint. Moreover, eco-friendly materials, building techniques, and home environment can all affect your health. All in all, preserving the environment is more important today than ever before, and doing so can only improve your lifestyle. So, if you’re considering building a new home, buying one, or remodeling the one you have, you should definitely think about going green.

 

As exciting as moving into a new house or apartment is, it usually takes some time for people to adjust and actually start feeling comfortable. Even after you unpack and decorate, there’s still that feeling of new and unknown that tends to stick around for some time. However, with some effort and a couple of smart additions, you can make the transition much easier. So, if you could use a couple of tips on how to turn your new place into a home, here are six suggestions you should consider. 

Clean it thoroughly

Before you start decorating your home, make sure to clean it as thoroughly as you can. This includes using disinfectants, bug sprays (just in case), baking soda, and whatever else you usually use for cleaning. It’s an especially important step if somebody else had lived in the place you’re moving into. This way, you’d feel like you’re actually getting a fresh start, both literally and metaphorically. Plus, it’s also a good way to actually get to know every corner of your new home.

Decorate with items from your previous home

home

Assuming that you’ve had a home before, whether it was your childhood home or the place before the current one, you probably have some idea of what made it feel homey. Of course, you can never recreate that feeling completely, but you can add to your new home a few items that remind you of your old home. It can be anything from a couple of family photos to a few gorgeous vintage rugs that bring you back to your carefree childhood days whenever you step on them. Having such items and carrying them with you can make any new place feel a bit more like home right away. 

Get a pet

If you’re moving into a new place on your own, you might feel uneasy precisely because you are alone. Therefore, you should consider getting a pet. Of course, a dog is definitely the most engaging choice, but it’s not the only one. If your new home is a bit smaller, or if you don’t have that much free time, you can opt for something easier to take care of, like a cat or a parrot. A pet is bound to make you feel cozier because you would have somebody to talk to and share this new experience with. Not to mention that most pets are also great “alarms” when something seems off. And there are few things that make a home as welcoming as a being greeted by somebody who is happy to see you. 

Install alarms

Speaking of alarms, if the new place in question is a house, you should definitely have a good security system. There are many different types of alarms on the market, some of which can also be controlled remotely. Additionally, if you combine your alarm system with good lighting fixtures and a few security cameras that you can access via your phone, your home is much less likely to become a target for burglars.

Secure the doors

interior design

This might sound surprising, but more than a third of all burglars actually enter homes through the front door. So, make sure your front door is not the easiest point of entry. The frames should be strong, the hinges should be well protected, and your lock should not be easy to pick. With that in mind, you should also consider upgrading your lock system – you could opt for some of the quality smart locks, and you should also install a deadbolt. Moreover, if you have any sliding glass doors, make sure they cannot be forced open or broken – at least not without you knowing about it. 

Add some extra light

Lighting is very often overlooked, but it can make a huge difference. The thing is, you’re not going to feel very cozy in a home that has bad or fluorescent lighting. So, opt for brighter lights, and let in as much natural light as you can in order to make your home livelier. Spice it up with some decorative lighting, like string lights and candles, which can instantly make your home cozier. You can also install dimmers, so you can control the brightness of the lights and set the right atmosphere for whatever you’re doing. Finally, don’t forget to light up your exterior as well, and not just because of the visual effect but to deter burglars as well. 

 

Making your home feel safer and cozier can take some time. However, there are things you can do to warm up the atmosphere in your home and actually make it feel like one faster. So, consider the listed ideas, apply them to your new place, and it’s bound to feel like home in no time.

* Guest Post by Sienna Penfold

Getting ready for parenthood can be one of the most exciting experiences, but at the same time, it can also be stressful especially if it’s your first baby, so you don’t know where to start. There are too many things to care about: doctor’s checkups, buying all the baby clothes, the crib and making sure that everything goes according to the plan. If you’re looking to redecorate and baby proof your apartment before your little one arrives, here are the most important things you need to know:

1. Make sure there’s enough space

Even if you live in a small apartment, it’s still necessary to ensure that there will be enough space for a crib and a changing table. If you don’t have a room for the baby, you can make enough space in your bedroom or even a living room. So the first thing you need to do is to get rid of all the unnecessary items that are making your home feel and look cramped. Of course, it would be best if you could buy the house that will be big enough for all of you, but even if you cannot afford it, a small apartment will do. Therefore, it’s important to be creative and use every bit of space in your home.

2. Don’t focus on toys

family
Every child needs and loves toys, but babies will hardly need stuffed animals and an ice cream play cart, so if your friends and relatives buy some of those, kindly ask them to get you something more useful instead. And if you get those types of presents, try to store them somewhere and give them to your kid once it’s big enough to play with them. Toys take up too much area that you can use in a much better way. If you really want to have some toys at home, get a shelf that won’t take up too much space. Babies need to bond with parents and feel loved, there will be time for playing with the toys. For the first few months, your primary goal should be making your home functional and baby-friendly as much as possible.

3. If you don’t need it, sell it

Having a lot of stuff lying around can make you feel a bit stressed out, especially if you have a newborn constantly demanding your attention. In case you have a lot of clothes and other various things that you don’t use anymore, you should sell them online as soon as your child grows out of something. If you don’t like selling stuff, you can always give them to your friends and family members who have similarly aged kids, or even better, donate them to those who need it more than you. There are many charity organization that can accept and distribute those things, while your only job is to pack them and bring them the bags or boxes.

4. Prepare the nursery

baby clothes
Although many parents love to have their baby near them, a nursery is vital if you still want your baby to have her own space. Setting up a nursery should always be done at least one month before the baby arrives, so you won’t feel overwhelmed with too many obligations. There are many available options, and your choice is largely dependent on the nursery size and how much are you ready to spend on decorating. You can choose safe options like blue room for boys and pink for girls, but if you want to be more imaginative, you can pick other, more gender-neutral colours, such as yellow, green and maybe even grey. Also, you can decide to go with a specific theme, since that can help you be more focused when it comes to picking and adding certain elements for the baby’s room.

 

In conclusion, these tips will help you get ready for the arrival of your little munchkin. There are various things you can add to your apartment, such as a baby monitor or baby proofing the home. However, even if there are certain rules that parents are supposed to follow, remember that you can do things your own way, as long as the baby is safe and well-cared for.

One of the most important principles of interior design says that every room should have a focal point. Usually, it’s the most obvious feature of the room, like a huge fireplace or big windows. However, you don’t always have such a feature. In those cases, you need to create focal points on your own. So, in order to help you do just that, here are a couple of ideas that might inspire you.

Think about the placement

room decor
The positioning of your focal point is more important than you might think. After all, it’s meant to draw the eye towards it. However, this does not mean that you have to necessarily put it in the center. Of course, you can, if the object in question is a coffee table, carpet, or a chandelier. Still, it’s not the only option, since you should take into consideration your entire room. Therefore, if you want to emphasize a certain wall, like the one above your bed in the bedroom, you can turn it into a focal point by using artwork or a nice headboard. Or, if there’s an empty corner, you can transform it into your new reading nook and turn it into a focal point as well.

Display your collection

kitchen
If you like collecting interesting items, you can create a perfect focal point by displaying them. For example, you can organize your figurines on a small table in the corner of your living room or hallway. This way, they could serve as great conversation starters as well, since they would be noticed quickly. Or, you can display your collection of teacups in your kitchen cabinet that has glass doors. So, when your guests enter the kitchen, they will have something to focus on. Books can also serve as great focal points, especially in your study room. In short, no matter what it is that you collect, there is always a way to showcase it.

Consider your rugs

room rug
This might sound surprising at first, but your rugs can be amazing focal points. Firstly, rugs with interesting textures and patterns can be very eye-catching, especially if you leave most of the area uncovered. Secondly, if you choose a bolder color and decorate the rest of the room in a bit subtler fashion, you would make the rug stand out even more. Finally, you can always layer your rugs. This would not only transform them into nice focal points, but it would also add a sense of warmth to the room.

Spice it up

bed focal point
Sometimes, the focal point is not hard to find but not easy to emphasize. For example, your bed is the expected focal point of your bedroom, but it’s not enough to just have a bed. If you want it to be an actually good focal point, you need to spice it up a bit. Therefore, you should consider getting some beautiful bedding that’ll fit the style of the room. This way, your bed will draw attention not just because of its size but because of its stylish appearance as well.

Use the fixtures

bathroom decor
If you want to create a focal point in a room without any specific details, like your bathroom, you can make use of the fixtures. For example, your bathtub or shower can be a good focal point. In order to turn it into one, though, you need to decorate it properly; buy an interesting shower curtain, use candles in the corners of your bathtub, or add some hanging storage options nearby – they can make your entire bathroom look more stylish and unique.

Play with shapes

living room
Unusual shapes can serve as great focal points because they are often very surprising. This includes furniture, of course, but also artwork and mirrors. So, you can create a nice focal point with a coffee table that has an unusual curve. Or, you can get mirrors in different shapes and place them opposite your windows. This would also make your room appear larger, which makes this kind of focal point perfect for smaller homes.

Every home needs to have focal points in order to be considered truly modern. After all, there’s a good reason why focal points are an important part of the interior design – they make your home look better. They are the first thing that your visitors will notice, and you know what they say about first impressions. Luckily, even a few small changes can make a difference. So, consider the listed tips, apply them to your home, and rest assured that it will look better than ever before.

Managing to get your own home is always a big step and a great moment in your life. It’s also a given that before you proceed with this significant decision, you have researched the market well and you have taken into consideration the hard work that comes with having your own home.

On top of that, it is no secret that in today’s world people are changing homes at least two to three times in their lives. That being said, you need to try your best in order to ensure that when the time to sell your home comes you have increased its initial value and you have cut a good deal for yourself.

Boosting your home’s value isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Nevertheless, it requires a solid plan, constant investments and a lot of effort.

Here are 10 smart tips that can help you increase the value of your home. From renovating your kitchen to extending your property.

1.  Renovate your kitchen

It goes without saying that the kitchen is one of the most crucial parts of a house. That’s why, maintain it in a good condition should always be a priority. A nice kitchen can truly boost the value of your asset and make a big difference when it comes down to selling your home. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to renovate your kitchen and choose good materials. As a rule, the more money you invest in your kitchen the more you will get back once you decide to sell the house.

2. Bathroom matters also

Once you are done with your kitchen renovation, the next stop is your bathroom. We don’t even have to mention how important a bathroom is for a home. The bigger it is the higher the price of your home. Like in the kitchen case, make sure that you invest in top quality materials and that you protect the bathroom well from humidity, bugs and any other factor which could decrease the value of your home.

stylish bathroom

3. Build an additional room

An easy and straightforward way to increase the value of your home is to add an extra room to it. It doesn’t take much to understand that a 2 room asset will be cheaper than a 3 room asset (as long as they are both in a similar condition) due to the fact that it can provide less functionality to its owners. Furthermore, by increasing the number of rooms in your home you can unlock another part of the market to which you couldn’t appeal to until then.

4. Outdoors also matters

Especially if you live in a city this parameter can truly make a difference. Take good care of the garden and make good use of any outdoor space that comes with your home. This factor could instantly increase the value of your house. By having a garden, it is most likely to attract couples and families which means that you attract a segment of the market with a stronger budget.

patio

5. Painting can make a difference

Most of the people may consider a good painting as the least of their concerns, but it really isn’t. A solid painting job can increase the value of your asset and make your home appealing to more candidates. The reason behind this is simple. You give to the buyer a full illustration of what their house would look like once they decide to proceed with it. In addition, you save them from the trouble of doing the painting themselves. More money for you less work for them. A win-win situation.

6. Decoration is important

As a natural continuation of the previous point, the interior space of the home matters a lot. Try to invest in taking good care of the interior and its decoration. This could be an additional card up your sleeve and increase the price of the home. Especially if you are planning to sell a furnished asset, this parameter is fundamental. But even if you don’t, it’s always a good idea to help the buyers visualize their new home. Thanks to your decoration, they can get some fresh ideas for their home and get excited about the option that you offer to them.

living room decor

7. Adjust to the market

The next tip is mainly for those who want to think in long-term or they have the necessary resources to make big changes in a small period of time. Adjusting to the market can take years but it will eventually help you increase your home’s value. For instance, if there is a strong request for family homes in your area, you might want to readjust your home from a 2 room to a 3 or 4 room asset. Immediately, you open a new market which has the financial capacity to buy your home and increase your earnings.

8. Be careful if you rent it

Ideally, the fewer people that have stayed in your place the higher its value in the market. However, this isn’t always possible. For the one reason or the other, you might want to rent the place. In that case, you need to be extra careful with the people that you choose to live in your home. Make sure that you mention to them the importance of taking good care of the asset from day one. If they don’t, start looking for someone new who can respect your terms. Lastly, make sure to renovate the place once they move out. In that way, you can boost your home’s value instantly.

9. Learn to market it better

Sometimes it’s not about what you have but what you show to the market. The real-estate market is no exception to that. Before you submit your ad online or to the papers, you want to be sure that you have taken good photos of the asset and that you have put together an enticing text which clearly describes the benefits of your home and why its value is as high as it is.

10. Find the right agent for the job

Last but certainly not least, finding the right person to handle your home building project is essential. A good agent can actually boost the value of your home and bring you closer to the big deal that you have dreamt of. That being said, you want to make a good market research before you end up working with one of them. Your network is your biggest ally in such cases. Gather as many information as you can and choose the one that fits better to your needs.

Final thoughts

All in all, increasing your home’s value is a long and challenging process. Nonetheless, as we showed above it can be done under the condition that you have a smart plan in place. Follow the steps above and good luck with home-selling effort!

About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is a Content Marketing Manager at GenieBelt.

Embellishing your windows can be the perfect opportunity for elevating your home décor. While an intricate design can create a whimsical effect, lush materials can add a subtle touch of opulence to your space. However, there’s more to curtains and draperies than meets the eye. From just the right length and the perfect position to a carefully chosen design and style, even the slightest detail can make a difference when it comes to their appeal.

Know your curtains from your drapes 

Although most people consider curtains and drapes to be synonymous, there’s actually a slight difference between the two. Curtains are typically made of a light material and they come in different lengths, widths and designs. They are quite popular, affordable and versatile, so they can be implemented in any room. Drapes, on the other hand, have a more formal look, which is why they are typically used in living rooms and dining rooms. They are floor-length, made of heavier materials and typically lined, unlike curtains. Since they are made of heavy fabrics, they can also be used in bedrooms to block out the light. Although this might seem like an irrelevant difference, it actually affects the general look you want to create.

Position them perfectly 

The position of your curtains or drapes will also create a specific effect. For instance, drapes should be placed as high as possible because they make your windows seem larger and the ceiling higher. In addition, when you go with a lengthy design, drapes can puddle on the floor and give your room opulent appeal. As for curtains, you can place them a bit wider than the frame, leaving the centre exposed. This is a great solution for narrow windows because this will make them seem wider. You should take some time to try out different positions and find out what works for your space.

Use length for a unique effect 

Experimenting with the length of your window treatments is another stylish way to create a certain ambience in your home. For instance, if you want to create a casual, relaxed look, you should go with curtains to the bottom of the window trim or the sill. This is a practical solution for kitchens that can create a homey vibe. If you want to give your home a formal, high-style look, lush drapes that touch the floor are the way to go. Drapes that pool on the floor are a perfect way for creating an ambience of elegance and romance in your space. However, make sure to avoid drapes with the length to the top of the floor moulding because they will seem simply awkward.

Mind the material and texture 

Curtains and drapes provide you with an opportunity to introduce layers of beautiful materials to your home, bringing their texture into focus. Sumptuous fabrics such as silk and velvet can add a touch of glamour to your home while light gauzy curtains can create a bright, open look, allowing light to permeate your home. In addition, such lush materials can create a striking contrast when set against leather, for example, softening its masculine look. A heavy, blackout material can also help you improve your window insulation and block out the light in the bedroom.  

Create visual interest with design 

If your home features a subtle, neutral backdrop and a minimalist design, curtains and drapes are the perfect way to create a stunning visual interest. When set against an understated backdrop, they can truly work as mesmerising accent details and break up the monotony of monochromaticity. You can simply use them to add a pop of colour to your neutral space. You can also pick a design with intricate patterns that can give your home an authentic character. Nonetheless, you should go with a design that complements the overall colour scheme and fits into the general style to create a cohesive, stylish look.

Curtains and drapes can help you introduce a sense of luxury to your home or create an atmosphere of playfulness. However, for a wow effect, you need to consider everything from their position and length to their design and texture.

The younger generation is well-aware of the benefits of renting. Limited responsibilities, and the freedom to pick up and move at a moment’s notice go hand in hand with the nomadic lifestyle and the delayed adulthood of the millennial generation. However, owning a home also has its benefits. Apart from the pride of ownership and belonging to a community, there are palpable financial and tax incentives to owning a home. Here are five considerations for people who are buying a home for the first time.

Find a realtor

While you can find tons of useful information on the Internet, they are hardly a match for years of live market experience. Having a professional real estate agent on your team can help you sort out what’s important, and rest assured, these people know which questions to ask and what to look for. Not only do they have access to valuable pricing information but can also rely on a long string of connections with home inspectors, lenders, and attorneys. A good realtor is more of a consultant than a salesperson. If you feel that you’re being hawked into buying anything at all cost, it’s better to move along.

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Choose the right one

You can ask your friends and family for recommendations, but make sure you ask the follow-up questions, like if they worked with them personally, how much experience they have and if they did a good job. Unfortunately, there are not many hoops one needs to jump through to become a real-estate agent, so the market is brimming with part-time and inexperienced professionals, who might be honest, but have little experience in the industry. Just because you know people who know people doesn’t mean they’ll do a great job.

Plan your budget

You’ve saved for a stunning holiday, new wardrobe or a sleek used car, but when you decide to purchase a property, you reach the boss level of all saving goals – the home loan deposit. It’s generally considered that the minimum deposit for home loans should be at 20% of the purchase price. You may already have a budget in place, but if not, it’s time to review your saving strategy. Audit all your current expenses and identify the opportunities to trim the fat. Your home-buying budget needs to work for you well after you move in.   

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Get the papers in line

When applying for a mortgage, you need to present the proof of your income and tax report. Mortgage lenders usually ask for two recent pay stubs, W-2s from the previous two years, tax returns and bank statements from the past two months. They need every page of the statements, including the blank ones. This way, they can make sure you have sufficient funds or don’t have odd money coming in or out. Having all the necessary papers in order can save you time.

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A few takes on location

For most people, their first home is not going to be their permanent residence. When scouting a location, the best course you can take is to see it as an investment, even if you’ll be living there. Unless space is your biggest concern, an inner city apartment is perfect for your first property. Aside from the building and internal features, consider the local schools, amenities, and transport routes. If there is a significant housing or commercial development in the area, your real-estate investment has a bright future.  

Home ownership is a form of saving which lets you build on equity and net worth with upgrades and improvements. With today’s low interest rates, your buying power is probably stronger than it will be in the future, and rest assured, they will keep going up, just like the rent payments.

 

If you are taking care of your backyard, front yard, walls and balcony, you shouldn’t forget to show your entrance some love as well. Even though it may not seem like a big deal, the front entrance can do wonders in terms of your home’s overall appearance. In other words, a stylish entrance can make the entire building look a hundred times better.

With all that being said, here is how to help your entrance complement your home’s curb appeal the best way possible.

Door

The first and probably easiest part of the entrance to is the door itself. Your options are pretty much limitless and entirely depend on factors such as your personal preferences, the overall style of your home, the façade, etc.

Before getting into the decoration part, make sure you are satisfied with both the condition and the color of your door, and that the color goes well with the rest of your home’s exterior. Neutral-colored doors look great on boldly colored walls and vice versa, while light colors look amazing with dark backsplashes and, again, vice versa.

Since spring is approaching, there is one great seasonal idea for you. We all love flowers, especially during spring. Go through your attic and find some old items you will use as flower pots for faux or real flowers. For example, you can hang an old umbrella with an antique watering can on your door with a wreath hanger and fill them with faux flowers. It will look so Pinterest-y. Alternatively, you can make a door flower basket and fill it with real fresh flowers. Basically, anything you can find can serve you as a door flower pot – even things that may seem ridiculous, such as your toddler’s old rain boots.

Or, you can take an old, empty picture frame, embellish it using your favorite craft supplies and, again, hang it on your front door.

On the other hand, maybe antiques and flowers just aren’t your thing, maybe you are more into minimalistic decorations such as monograms. They are easy to create, simple, but still make quite an impact. You can make a monogram yourself out of foam board and decorate it with anything you like – as long as it matches the rest of your home’s exterior: sea glass, shells, paint, twine etc. On the other hand, you can opt for a simpler version of it by painting an old tray with chalkboard paint and hanging it on your door. This way, you’ll be able to change your home’s ‘headline’ once you get bored of it.

Finally, dress down your now wildly decorated front door with a stylish minimalistic doormat to balance the whole look out.

Front porch

Whether your porch is tiny or large, there are many tips that work for both cases equally.

The first and probably the most important tip is to make sure your porch is as bright as it can be. Don’t hesitate to play with lighting fixtures or even add a pop of bright color. Also, make the most of daylight by replacing one wall with a glass wall and/or installing a mirror or two that will reflect the sunlight even more.

Besides lighting it up, you can repurpose your porch into a cool lounge area, for example. Just by placing a simple piece of furniture such as a sofa or an armchair on your front porch, you will boost the inviting feel of it and make it look so much cooler. And not to mention that your home is going to get a whole new laid-back vibe that is always attractive. After all, one simply cannot go wrong with using furniture as decoration.

Stairs

If you are blessed with minimalistic stairs that lead to your front door, consider giving them some depth and texture by installing those beautiful downward facing yellow or white lights. This solution is both practical – since it illuminates the stairs, which makes them easier to use during the night, and aesthetic – since lighting fixtures can make anything look way better and more luxurious than it already does.

Pathway

When entering a home, the pathway is the first thing you see, and if you really want to increase the beauty of your entrance, you have to make sure it is aesthetically pleasing. Lately, designers have been going crazy about Japanese aesthetics, since they are simple, easy to achieve, but still make a huge impact. Take a couple of dark geometric slate slabs and surround them with a bunch of those big white decorative stones. Finally, soften the look with a couple of tropical plants and voila – you have an awesome Japanese-styled aesthetic pathway.

And that’s it. What do you think about these ideas? Let us know in the comment section below.