Friday, December 30, 2011

Are home buyers too obsessed with Stainless Steel appliances?

English: Modular Home InteriorImage via Wikipedia
Stainless steel appliances are all the rage and an expected commodity in homes on the market, especially new homes. Older homes are also pressured to include these trendy upgrades. However, is the finish the most important thing to consider? Are stainless steel appliances better or more efficient than other new appliances? No. If history is a lesson to us, and it should be, one can look back into the kitchens of the past and also see what trends were all the rage, and most of us can use these trends to tell us exactly what decade this trend happened. Is this what will happen with Stainless steel? Should it happen? Sure. From a design standpoint, it is far more important that appliances be good quality, efficient and aesthetically pleasing but not necessarily Stainless steel. As expensive as appliances are to replace, it is unfortunate that most appliances have a relatively short lifespan. What dictates how soon an appliance needs replacing has more to do with trends than need.
American consumers have been inundated with the term "neutral" to the point they are terrified of branching out and doing what pleases them aesthetically. We all know that Stainless steel is a neutral and for many of us this takes the guess work out of design and decor. With that being said, that doesn't mean you have to remove all of your personality and love of color from a space. Enter the term "Open concept." The term "open concept" typically means a room that is open to other rooms, however this design feature also "closed" a few doors along the way. As design migrated to take down walls, and open kitchens up to family rooms, it became necessary to make these open spaces flow with one another. Unfortunately it meant stripping many kitchens of their personality along the way. Over done design in the name of making everything match is being seen everywhere and many consumer is being told to "like" this look.

If you are frustrated with trying to tap dance to what the trends are, don't fret. Use common sense and a practical approach based on your current and future needs. If you aren't selling your home in the next five years, buy and replace appliances that suit your budget, not what a designer on television tells you to buy. New appliances are always an upgrade, and there are times when other colors make more sense than "stainless steel." Case and point, white kitchens are statistically the most desired kitchen aesthetic in the US. White appliances will do just fine in this design. Perhaps your kitchen has a lot of woods, and black granite? Well by all means get black appliances if you so choose. Most non stainless steel appliances are less expensive and as I mentioned before, new appliances are always an upgrade, and that is the most important aspect.
Don't be surprised to see new trends coming on the horizon, there may be bronze and copper appliances in the future. Not to mention more "kits" that will allow for you to disguise your appliances to be another finish.
Remember to make yourself happy and the decor will always be a hit in your home. You don't have to get caught up in what others tell you to do. Seek inspiration for color through out the internet and soon you will discover some of the most attractive and creative design schemes that work are far from the "norm."
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HGTV launches 2012 Dream Home Giveaway

HGTV logo premiered on March 1, 2010Image via Wikipedia

What better way could you possibly start off the new year than winning a dream home? Well this may be your lucky chance as HGTV again presents to you their latest masterpiece in home design. This spacious home truly is a dream and with all the bells and whistles we've all come to expect from the HGTVcrew.

The newest location for the 2012 Dream Home is Park City,Utah. The lucky winner for 2012 will enjoy a completely furnished home and if that weren't enough a 2012 GMC Terrain vehicle and $500,000.00 in spending cash for a total prize package value of over 2 million dollars.

If you would like to enter this sweepstakes up to two times daily, doing so can be as easy and clicking the links at the bottom of this article. For those that won't win don't despair there is still much you can do to make your current home feel like a dream home by checking out the following links here:
If you love all things involving home design and décor, visit: Dawn's Interior Decorating Solutions.

Those wishing to make their dreams a reality have two separate chances to enter daily by visiting these two locations:
Rules for participating:
Tour each room:

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The best way to decorate a Christmas tree

Christmas treeImage via Wikipedia

Christmas trees are a beautiful sight to behold during the holidays. With all the ornaments, lights and special touches any tree can be transformed into a magical symbol of peace on earth and good will. Decorating a tree is another thing all together. It is a lot of work to decorate a Christmas tree but keeping it organized and simple will yield the best results. If you live in South Carolina and would love to purchase and pick out your very own live tree, see the *link at the bottom of this article for where to go.

Here's a few suggestions on decorating your tree:

 Artificial tree tips:

  1. If you have an artificial tree, take the tree out and assemble at least one day ahead to allow the tree to expand fully. Don't decorate.
  2. Straighten all limbs out starting from the bottom and going around the tree one level at a time. Make sure you have ample space all around so that you and others can move around your tree easily.
  3. Pre-lit trees need to be checked ahead of time for faulty bulbs and connections.
  4. If your tree isn't pre lit, consider using LED lights. These should go on your tree first. If you plug them in as you wrap them around the tree you will easily spot any gaps or sags in the line.
  5. Order of decorations to place beginning with lights : Lights, pearls, garlands,ribbons, ornaments, topper
  6. Work from the bottom up, Using larger ornaments at the bottom, medium through the middle, and smallest ornaments at the top.
  7. Finish off with all your decorative holly sticks, Poinsettia, etc.
  8. Always turn off your tree lights before going to bed.

Real tree tips:

    1. Trim the trunk of your tree at the bottom before bringing into the home. Water trunk with your hose immediately after trimming.
    2. While outside, place tree after trimming the trunk temporarily into its stand with water and examine the tree for any problems.
    3. Before placing live tree in your home, spread out newspapers on the floor to allow for trimming of the branches and for any excess needles to fall, it will make clean up easier.
    4. Make sure to keep your tree watered and check often. Large trees need a good deal of water to keep from drying out and place tree away from any heat registers or fireplaces to keep them from drying out prematurely.
    5. You may want to give your live tree a day of rest and expansion before decorating. When live trees are purchased bound up, they, like artificial trees get a little fuller if allowed a little time to spread out. This will also reveal any hidden wonky branches that may need trimming off.
    6. Follow above steps 5-8 for decorating your live tree

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kitchen design trends that need to take a break

A kitchenImage via WikipediaEnglish: The dining room, kitchen, and a porti...Image via WikipediaEnglish: Handymen can install kitchen cabinets...Image via WikipediaA small, modern kitchen with popular stainless...Image via WikipediaKitchen cabinets in a farmhouse.Image via WikipediaModern kitchenImage via Wikipedia
One common thing you have no doubt seen in kitchens over and over again in homes and on television decorating show are, cherry cabinets, dark granite counter tops, tiled back splash, Travertine flooring. While all of these choices are attractive and certainly considered upgrades, they are at risk of being over used, over done and what impact does that have on your home? Well, that is how “dating” a home occurs. When items are over used in any time frame, they will date the space.
Take for instance Avocado green, a popular appliance color in the seventies. How do I know this? Because it was in many homes. Shag carpeting, again, almost in every home during the seventies and into the eighties.

We can easily recognize finishes and designs from yesteryear because the consumer rushed out and had to have what everyone else had, yet today, we don't just see it in our neighbor's home, its on television. Television is telling you on every show, what to use, how to put it in, and how much to spend. Timeless finishes mixed with a little of old and new will be the best way not to give your home a “dated” look. Imagine in 10 years needing to sell your home and hearing the feedback from prospective buyers calling your Cherry cabinets “dated.” What won't be considered “dated” will at the very least be “expected” and that is the precursor to “dated.”

Research your kitchen remodel in advance. Don't be tempted to play it safe in all regards. Mix it up, keep it interesting. Old finishes, new surfaces work great together. Using timeless and classic design staples that have been around for 50 to 100 years along with cool innovative design and appliances will help your home stay fresh and “timeless” as well. Timeless design will always be appreciated over “dated.” So what is timeless and how do you get it? Well sometimes timeless is more work, but the reward is usually worth it. For instance, gutting a 70's kitchen down to the studs in the wall just to put in a lot of new cabinetry and appliances that are all the rage is just going to call for another gut job later on down the road.

A stainless steel countertopImage via WikipediaCabinetry-
Play it smart, not always safe (meaning following the current trend). Reface old seventies kitchens. While some cabinets are considered “builder grade” from that time era, they were usually “site built” and real wood (no MDF), and this is usually a superior product with regards to structure than factory built cabinets. By refacing your older (site built) cabinets, you not only assure the strength and integrity, but you save money. Now by the time the 80's rolled around and oak cabinets made it's splash in so many homes, the “builder grade” cabinetry used/installed were manufactured and shipped to the

builder. You saw a lot of MDF, and particle board being used in their construction. Here again, you can paint or reface to save money, but many if they can afford it do a tear out. My advice here is to make sure what you are replacing your cheap eighties cabinetry with is solid wood, and a superior product. Remember as well, colors and stains come and go, and the type of wood isn't always as important as the finish. Either way, make sure you choose a product that is great quality. Great quality is one of those “timeless” features we're aiming for. The bottom line about cabinetry- be careful, don't be so mesmerized by the trends you see today that good common sense isn't used. Being practical, and looking at a wide variety of finishes, wood types and the quality makes for a timeless addition to your home. Don't play follow the leader when it comes to what you like. There's a lot to choose from, it doesn't have to be Cherry. Just sayin...
Counter tops-
Ah granite, if your home doesn't have it, you've lost. Or have you? While granite is a long lasting, and expensive upgrade to the laminate of the 70's and the porcelain tiles of the 80's and 90's it isn't the only choice out there. Be leery of using granite that is too wild with too much movement because it is extremely hard to decorate around. What does that mean exactly? Well one big pattern in any room is about all a moderately sized room can handle. A big busy pattern on the counter means less pattern and creativity with your back splash, kitchen accessories and even in some cases your window treatments. Here you will have to decide what is going to be center stage. If the counter top is, then be prepared to limit your patterns elsewhere in the room. So is granite the only real wise choice?

Stainless steel appliances-
I know these are all the rage however, should they be a deal breaker in a home? No. Not by a long shot. Appliances in general need replacing after about 10 years of regular use and in some cases earlier. Why so many people are so obsessed with stainless steel is beyond me, well no, it's because of television. Design television is telling the consumer “this is what you want,” or “this is what you must have.” I can't help but think this will be the next Avocado elephant in your kitchen one day. I could be wrong, but as I mentioned before, anything you see in every home over and over again, becomes a trend, and a trend is a dating mechanism. I am going on a limb and saying that what I think will be the next trend in appliances will be color matching. You already see it with washing machines and dryers. They come in blues, reds and stainless steel as well. Don't be surprised if you don't see it transition to refrigerators and stoves eventually too. So what happens then? You will be stuck with stainless steel, and you're behind design times. Play it smart, focus on your new appliances energy efficiency, and overall quality and less about the finish. If you are doing a remodel look into integrating it with the existing or new cabinetry. Why should appliances take center stage anyway? Its like the television in the living room. Its meant to be used, but not supposed to be the show stopper. Men have a hard time believing this I know. Great quality, higher end, efficiency should be your main concern with appliances, and secondly it needs to work with the design of the kitchen you are after. Stainless isn't always a perfect fit. In a kitchen that is designed to be French country, integrated or white would suffice. Like I said, it will need updating after ten years anyway. It is a little more prudent to match your appliance brands than to worry about the exterior being stainless. However, here again matching brands is not a must for an object that needs replacing in 10 years.

Travertine, oh Travertine, is there any other name? I have seen this used and used and used and it is lovely! However, it is not the only flooring option out there. Research the flooring choices out there, and see which may work for the design in the room. Slate may be aesthetically more attractive in some kitchens. Hardwood may work better in others. The bottom line is make your own well researched choice and base it on your true opinion. You've got to love it, or leave it. Flooring is too expensive to not feel right about. As with all remodels and renovations and updates, remember that it needs to be balanced with not only what you love, but also what is happening around you. If everyone else has laminate, you can of course upgrade, but you may not see an instant boost in your investment. This is why I say, with flooring, or any other large expense, either love it or leave it in the store. If you aren't sure or are on a budget, research options that are more budget friendly that can give you the look for less. Don't worry Monica Pederson won't pounce on your on more Bang for your Buck and criticize your less expensive choice. The great thing about going with something budget friendly is it is easier to let go of or change in the future. That is playing it smart, in my book anyway.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday decorating and color choices


With the onset of the holidays in full swing the urge to decorate our homes is the best way to get into the holiday spirit. However, there are homeowners that are intimidated by things like color. Being intimidated by the bold colors of the holidays send some of us into a tail spin. Do I use red and green in a beige room? Will my color choices clash and be tacky with everything else in the room?
There are a few things we can do to pull off a classy, polished and well designed room or, if it suits you an old fashioned and . The first thing we have to decide is which way you want it to go, and what sort of result do you want. Do you want magical timeless and classy, or do you prefer warm, old fashioned and homespun. Perhaps you'd like to add a little modern flare to the decorating scheme.
My suggestions:
For classy and polished

Our Christmas tree at night.Image via WikipediaThis look screams magical and embodies the glow and magic that we associate with the holidays. It is flexible and the easiest because it will automatically work with your existing design scheme.
Keep colors simple, and let sparkles rule the design choices. Metallic ornaments, clear crystals, golds, and silvers and soft shades of white will give your holiday room a sparkle and refinement that will merge well with most existing designs. Use clear lights on your tree and make sure to repeat your lighting and color choices throughout the space. Keep colors to a minimum, no more than three ideally.

Designer tip- Don't be afraid to be creative. Use old jewelry to decorate mantle garlands, lamp shades, and even candles. Old dangling earrings look great hung from clear beaded garlands, and pearl strings. Just because you're going for classy and polished doesn't mean you can't be creative and use some of those wonderful jewelry pieces that have lost their mates in your jewelry box. For

For old fashioned and homespun
 A Christmas tree in the United States.Image via Wikipedia
Its all about home made and nature inspired décor.
When we think of the holidays from our youth, many times we remember that our parents decorated with reds, greens and every other color of the rainbow. Little focus was given as to whether it matched an existing décor scheme, and somehow, it always felt warm and welcoming. Didn't it?
You really can't go wrong with traditional colors if this is the look you desire. If it is somehow clashing with other things in the room, consider removing those things temporarily so that you won't feel uncomfortable with the end result. Using natural materials and homemade items in a room are an inexpensive way to get a great homespun holiday feel. Decorate mantles with pine branches, real pine cones, and candles. Drill three shallow holes in logs and inset tea light candles, fill baskets with pine cones, nuts and seed pods. Use lots of red and green checked and plaid ribbon as well. Chunky cuts of logs can be placed on your mantle and a great pedestal for large candles. Peppermint oils, nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled in baskets and vessels of pot pourrie will keep the smells of the holiday season in mind too. No baskets? Use clay pots and sit around your fireplace hearth, fill with cinnamon sticks, twigs and pine branches, and as always, finish off with raffia, or great old fashioned ribbon. If you are using a natural Christmas tree, save any branches that you may have trimmed off for decorating.

Designer tip: Polish up old candles and restore their shine and luster with a little vegetable oil on a soft cloth.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving space an identity in your home

Klosterkirche Dachboden 01Image via Wikipedia

It may be hard to fathom the idea of anyone having wasted space but many homes that are being built today have excess space in the building plans. Many spaces have no defined purpose, they are just there. With so many new home constructions overflowing with rooms and spaces that have no identity it is a challenge to know what to do with the area.

Beware when shopping, this may be just to make the buyer think they are getting more house for their money but when a house has a lot of  “dead” space the costs to fill these areas can be costly too, not to mention heat and cool.

All rooms need an identity of some kind. Whether it is a sitting room, a study, a home office, or maybe
has the potential to be extra storage space it is important for the home owner to find a use for it. Why?
Empty space has to be heated and cooled, so it makes sense to find some way to utilize the space. Open spaces with no identity that are viewable by many need to have a use that is visually appealing firstly and functionality is a bonus.

4edc These types of spaces generally can be sitting areas, or one can add shelving and convert into a reading room/study or library. Spaces that are not easily viewable by the casual guest can be used as play areas for children, a meditation room, or a “pet area.” Some spaces that are partially exposed can be enclosed and made into a large walk in closet. Consider a second laundry area for ironing and sewing, especially in a two story home that has the laundry area on the main floor, a second laundry area where the family can place hampers, store winter clothes, or iron clothes is handy. Here are a few suggestions for using wasted or dead space in your home.
Art room
play room
home office
pet area
additional storage
multi media room
meditation room
Craft room
Sewing room

By giving these areas a purpose, you are increasing the functionality of your home. Decorate these rooms just as tastefully as the rest of your home for a finished and welcoming space you will no doubt go out of your way to enjoy and use.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do you suffer from color phobia?

Jotun decorative paintsImage via Wikipedia
For some slapping a coat of paint on a wall is a funky adventure and an expression of style and color.
For others, paint colors, types and choices are a terrifying commitment to change that they are just not willing to undertake. These are lovingly referred to as the “color phobes.” There are also those that take their phobia to the extremes, no color on the walls and certainly very little color in the overall décor. As an Interior decorator, I am always shocked at how little people are willing to do to break away from their comfort zone.

So how do we correct this condition? Taking the mystery out of paint is key to at least getting a color phobe out of their shell and to tap into their creative side. Paints basically come in a few finishes, glossy, semi gloss, satin, and flat/matte. Which should be used for what? Glossy is durable and can stand up to moisture, can be washed, has a longer drying time and is great for cabinets and furniture. Semi gloss is seen often in kitchens and bathrooms for resistance to moisture and easy to wipe clean. Satin has a sheen as well and is also seen in kitchens, kids rooms and bathrooms. Flat and matte, great for walls that have imperfections. Due to the low reflective quality of flat paint, marred and damages walls will not be highlighted with flat paint. Now that dealt with the different finishes, in part so we have taken some of the mystery out of paint finishes at least, right?

The other problem is society screams that one should not dare paint any wall a color other than beige. Daring not to be neutral is scary, but can it be done? Should it be done and when should you do it? All good questions a color phobe may be pondering. When should you try a color that is on the wild side? Well that is up to you, if you aren't planning on selling your home there are a few risk free places to give color a go. Closet interiors, children's rooms and hall ways come to mind. Look around your home for some inspiration. Breaking free from color phobias requires baby steps, so try small spaces first.

Should bold colors be done at all in your home? Well again, if you aren't planning on selling, why not? Worse case scenario, you have to repaint, but at least you gave it a go, and that is important when you are afraid to take color risks. Perhaps your phobia should be toned down to colors in décor first. Bold sofa pillows, drapes or an area rug may help coax you out of your fears of using color. It may also tap into a creat at is in your home and just address the colors in or on it. Use that as your inspiration. Sometimes you discover your artistic side and that starts off a chain of events that frees up your mind, and your heart. Removable décor that has bold color statements are easy ways to break out of dull lifeless schemes and a safe way to address the problem.

Painting is only a cosmetic change, it's not a life time commitment. No more than changing your hair color is, which to some is equally daunting. Truth is, it's only color people. If painting is too scary, try the other suggestions mentioned here and see if there's a sleeping artist inside, chances are there is.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Interior décor an investment in your home's value

Hallway 4_ING interiorImage via Wikipedia

Interior decorating has come a long way. No more are the days where simply placing an item that caught your eye in a shop on a shelf was enough to make for a well decorated and designed space. Decorating today is a fine science where strategy, composition, balance and scale all come into play. Today the modern home owner is privy to tools and ideas that not only make their home stylish, but a vessel for profit as well.

Years ago, selling a home simply meant giving it a good clean, and hoping a prospective buyer liked what they saw. Today, there is a true strategy with much depending on how well versed the home owner is on décor, design, and marketing their homes best assets. Your chances of making a profit or scoring big in a soft market is hard, but it all depends on one's definition on what big is. A big score to some may be acquiring enough over their home's pay off to put ten percent down on the next home, while to others it may be recouping your improvement costs and then some.

So where do we go from here? Especially in a sluggish economy and with limited funds? Consider updating your décor if nothing else. A home painted in contemporary neutrals and polished off with a clever mix of well placed and balanced décor can go a long way. This may mean replacing drapes, removing items that are not functional nor decorative, and painting as well.

Interior shot2_INGImage via WikipediaOne thing that can not be ignored today is that home buyers today are well schooled in décor and design compared to their parents and grand parents. Not to mention they are deluged with oodles of inventory to pick from right now. Young home buyers are less interested in a home's “potential” and more interested in things like updates, location, and room to grow.

Standard is no longer desirable, above and beyond the competition is what will get your contract signed. So if you find yourself needing to sell your home remember a well decorated interior is a minimal investment, but an investment nonetheless. Sometimes, it is not the amount of money you spend, it is what you spend it on that makes
it pay off.
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Sensa Granite with SenGuard product review

When doing kitchen and bathroom renovations, it is important to check out any product reviews on any major investments. Making large purchases like cabinetry, appliances and counter tops need to be done wisely and with as much consumer research as possible. This product review is for Sensa Granite with SenGuard. This brand of granite is currently offered all over the country and in South Carolina is readily available from home improvement stores like Lowes. If you live in South Carolina, see : Lowes locations in South Carolina.

Continue reading here: Sensa Granite with SenGuard product review 

For more product reviews, see: Product Dudz

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Project: Sunroom Addition

Sun room

Is it worth it?
Definition: A Sun room, also known as Florida room, and in some cases, a 3 season room is defined as a structure which is constructed onto the side of a house, usually, to allow enjoyment of the surrounding landscape while being sheltered from adverse weather conditions such as rain and wind. However, today Sun rooms are so much more than a mere structure to enjoy the exterior landscaping. Many are also all purpose rooms, family rooms and double as a place to entertain or house overnight guests if it is properly heated and cooled. Sun rooms are seen primarily in southern regions of the United States, but they are starting to emerge elsewhere too. Many of the origins associated with sun rooms, began in Europe.
Adding a sun room on to an existing home, especially if using an existing enclosed porch is a great way to expand square footage and add much needed space. With the addition of heating and cooling capabilities a sun room can often add value to a home. How much value differs depending on what area of the country you live in, and also to what extent your addition is made livable. Sun rooms that are not heated or cooled are often called 3 season rooms and in most cases must have the ability to be closed off during certain times of the year when temperatures are too hot, or too cold to enjoy the room. Adding electric fireplaces, or window unit air conditioning may be an option to get the most use out of a sun room, provided it is well insulated and built to code.

If you are willing to do most of the work yourself, with the proper building permits obtained, enclosing a porch and making it into a sun room can be done relatively inexpensively. Do not skimp on the materials however, if you plan on this being a year around addition, as you will only add to your heating and cooling costs in the long run. If you are considering a three season room, make sure to have the ability to fully close the room off when not in use. Do not expect to receive the same return on your investment for a 3 season room. In some states, the added square footage is not included in the homes appraisal, and this could affect your ability to recoup any costs associated with it. In some states, a sun room yields far less of a return on the home value than a family room addition, so consider carefully  the definition of both before adding it on. Building inspectors and appraisers have different criteria involved for both and knowing this in advance may make a difference in what you label your room.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The importance of home accessories

Accessories are the jewelry of the home. Accessorizing a home is vital in many aspects on many levels and in fact, make the house a home. When we fail to add those little touches to the decor of a home we find a home that naturally is off putting, sterile, and it offers very little in the way of comfort to yourself and visitors. The environment will give off a negative energy in many cases. If you live in South Carolina and are looking for accessories to make a house a home, see: Pier 1 Imports in Columbia, SC for ways to become inspired.

Why are accessories Important?
Accessories add the charm, the warmth, and the visual statement, testimony of the home owner. They give the visitor insights, clues into who you are, what you value and create an environment that gives off its own energy. To understand how accessorize and decorate your home you must first ask yourself what is the ultimate goal you wish to achieve with in the space. This check list should help you get started in creating a home that you will not only love but create years of fond memories in.

1. What is my ideal home?
Defining your ideal home will give you an idea of where to start decorating and accessorizing. Many people find that the ideal home starts off with large ticket
items like gourmet kitchens, in ground swimming pools, and grand master suites. One should figure out how to prioritize big ticket items versus, smaller decorative elements
that can still give you the ideal environment.

2. What do I want my home to tell visitors about me?
The impression your home gives visitors is important. For some a home is a showcase of memories and family life, for others it is a showcase of your tastes and design style. Figuring out what you want your home to say about you, usually leads you in a specific direction in design. Example, if you want your home to say "I'm successful" you may find yourself accessorizing with valuable collections, or placing more priority on big ticket items, while another may want their home to say " I'm warm and friendly" and have a home that is filled with family relics, memorabilia, comfortable furnishings and warm colors.

3. Will I be selling this home within the next five years?
This may seem an odd item to have on this list but accessorizing a home can range from a lot of money, to very little. If you are planning to sell your home you will want to be more methodical in your approach to how you decorate and design it. Big ticket accessorizing can be mean a nice return on your investment, but it can also mean a loss as well. Smaller ways we accessories, "movable" decor means the basic home will stay the same. "Changeable" decor, usually costs a little more and involves things like wall color, flooring, and perhaps fixtures. Not all accessorizing is in art work and what nots. Accessorizing a home is also in the updates, fixtures, colors and flooring choices.

4. What function does each room fill?
Each room you plan on living in needs to have a clear function and purpose. Knowing this will help you decide what accessories will work, compliment and help
the room make its statement. For instance, a home office might be well suited for you if it is accessorized and decorated in a color scheme that is conducive to
concentration and focus. Accessories can be added that will not only be attractive to the eye but also perform a function as well. Example, a beautiful desk, is an accessory but
it also is decorative and performs a function.

5. What do I want my home to provide me with?
Whether you are retired, work all day, have a busy lifestyle, or are a stay at home mom, a home is expected to provide us with more than just a place to hang our hat. Ideally a home for most should be a place of comfort, rest and rejuvenation, safety and where family can be together and share time and space in. Knowing exactly what you want out of your house will make a big difference in where your priorities lie. If your home isn't meeting your needs, it could be due to the fact that your decor and environment has not been created to cater to you and your families needs. By following this list, you should be able to get there and create an environment that is nurturing and healthy on many levels.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pier 1 Imports store offering 25 percent off

If you are in the market for kitchen and dining items, your local Pier 1 Imports store has
a great sale on select kitchen and dining essentials that will make your home beautiful and functional.
Whether its aprons, dinnerware or even adding to a salt and pepper collection, don't miss these special
deals. If you live in South Carolina, you can find a Pier 1 in the following areas, Columbia, Summerville, Anderson and Spartanburg. To get an idea what great décor and accessories you can buy, see: Pier 1 Imports. The Pier 1 Imports online store allows customers to shop online, and pick up at the store.
For those that are looking for more than just kitchen and dinning room decor and accessories, Pier 1 offers a wide range of great decorative items for every room in your house. Whether it is decorative pillows for the sofa, window treatments, area rugs or even furniture the choices are unique and special. See the slideshow!

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Friday, August 12, 2011

HGTV announces Summer Celebration Sweepstakes

HGTV logo premiered on March 1, 2010Image via Wikipedia

HGTV is at it again, their latest Summer Celebration Sweepstakes is to the tune of $75,000.00 and you have the chance to enter up to two times daily. Interested parties can go to the HGTV website and enter for a chance at this big pay off. Enter once daily until August 15th for a chance to win. What can be done with $75,000.00 dollars? Well how about a high end kitchen renovation? How about a home addition or a grand master suite? If you are financially savvy, you may just decide to either put it into the bank or use it for bills. Pay it toward your homes balance to gain back equity or take a dream vacation. Whatever you may want to do with your winnings, the best way to have a chance is to enter daily, here: HGTV Summer Sweepstakes. For a complete list of rules for this sweepstakes, visit here: HGTV Summer Sweepstakes Rules.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Renovation points to ponder

Cherry butcher block counter top.Image via WikipediaRenovations in a down market are a scary thing. You often wonder if you are making the right choices and if you are only throwing good money after bad. With the real estate
market in such dire straits, how do you know which renovations are worth it? Do you invest in high end upgrades with the hopes that it will boost your home's value? Or, do you let your home
stay as it is and ride out the market.

If you aren't selling-  The real estate market and design industry spend a great deal of time telling the homeowner and consumer what to have in their homes. Often times you will see a real estate show where as a couple won't even consider a home without the typical bells and whistles of stainless steel and granite. However, this is what the industry has spoon fed into the mouths of the consumer. There are plenty of alternative  counter tops out there that can be used. Don't shoehorn yourself in by what the design industry dictates. You never regret what you love and if you love Butcher block, and black appliances, by all means have it. Especially if you aren't interested in selling within the next ten years. After ten years, reassess your situation and go from there. Design that you love, is never regretted. Upgrades that are part of a media induced trend could come back and bite you, so please yourself first.

If you may sell-  What does your neighbor have? If the bulk of the neighborhood has laminate counter tops, and you run out and install granite, don't expect a whopping return on your investment. Consider a high end laminate upgrade. Laminate has come a long long way in its visual appeal and many offer the exact same look of granite, but at about 45 percent less per square foot installed. If you are selling, recognize in a down market, any upgrade is a good upgrade it doesn't always have to be the high end choices. Don't over improve for your neighborhood, that doesn't mean make no improvements, just make smart ones.  If most of your neighbors have hard wood flooring, by all means you should probably follow suit. If they have carpeting, make sure your carpeting is newer, and of good quality and that will give your home the edge of the neighborhood competition. As always, all upgrades to heating, cooling, roofing, electrical and plumbing are always recommended in every instance.

Older home renovation-  If your home is an older home, think long and hard about which renovations will help, and which will hurt your home. Example, older Victorian style homes
lose their appeal if they have been overly modernized. Always think in terms of what works with your homes style. If your home has a specific Victorian style, don't muck it up with a lot of contemporary changes if you are looking to sell in the next ten years. Instead think of the upgrades people won't see, but will appreciate. New air conditioning, roof, upgraded energy efficient windows, electrical updates, plumbing, heating etc. Older homes are notoriously known for not be energy efficient, so these upgrades will be a real eye opener if you sell and won't mess with your home's design and character nearly as much as contemporary lighting, or zen inspired decor for example.

New home improvements-  Most of us may think a new home would not need any improvements, but a lot of first time home buyers can't always afford the upgrades, or may change their minds
about what they like after living in their new home. Some choices made earlier on may not work any more and it calls for a change. The question is should you make costly improvements on a new home?
If you have bought a new home within the past five years, you may have discovered that you have fallen prey to the real estate market. Some new home owners may be dealing with an upside down mortgage due to small down payments and long mortgage terms. If your home is already in this predicament, you may be well advised to hold off on any major renovations, especially if you are thinking about charging improvements, or tapping into some assumed equity you may not have. Make sure that any renovations are warranted and not just on a whim. Check your homeowners warranty to make sure you aren't waiving your coverage, and don't expect a return on your investment any time soon. If you still wish to go forward with renovation to a new home, do so, and make sure you research your project well. If you are in doubt, hire a architect before ripping down what may be a weight bearing wall, and make sure you have all the necessary permits, as well as checking to make sure your home owners association will allow for changes to your home.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Removing "popcorn" ceilings

If you watch interior design shows, home hunting shows, etc. one thing you will see time and time again is homeowners and buyers with a strong aversion to the dreaded, "popcorn" ceiling. Popcorn ceilings were popular in past decades for adding texture to what seemed at the time a bland overlooked surface in the home. If you live in South Carolina, and want to have your home checked for lead, asbestos etc. see the link at the bottom of this article. Like many design tactics, it was a design feature that would come back to haunt homeowners later on. The question is should you remove it, or leave it and avoid the mess and time it would take to remove? Before you make a decision, it is best to ask and answer the following questions.

Is your home older than 1978?
Homes built prior to 1978 used lead in the paints, removing a popcorn textured ceiling may seem like an easy update to your home, but if the ceiling was painted (and most were) it could have lead in the paint. What does this mean to you? Scraping, sanding, and repairing could release lead particles and allow them to become air born. Exposure can occur from deteriorating lead-based paint, pipes, or lead-contaminated dust or soil.

Was your home built prior to 1985?
Asbestos was banned for use in building materials in 1985, however, for homes built prior to 1985 asbestos was used in almost every aspect of building materials from insulation, to floor tiles, roof coverings, and siding. Removing the "popcorn" textured ceiling could result in gouging out part of the ceiling, and causing asbestos to become air born. If there is any asbestos, experts recommend having the ceiling removed by professionals, or go over the existing ceiling with fresh drywall.

If you live in South Carolina, and  you think your home may have asbestos or lead you need to see: EnviroDemo Contractors before you take on any construction project, even removing popcorn ceilings.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HGTV helps you become your own designer

Dawn Gagnon bedroom style board

If you love interior decorating and designing you will love the HGTV websites newest design tool Style boards.  Style boards allow you to use a wide assortment of backgrounds, and accessories to create a style board just like Interior decorators and designers use in their client presentations. These tools will let you put together a dream room, whether it is a new sleek designed kitchen, or a fabulous master bedroom retreat, you are only limited by your imagination. The accessories are expansive, including drapes, candles, chandeliers, area rugs, beds, headboards, etc.

Even if you are not able to purchase the items used in your own custom style board, it can be a great way to visualize your own style, and become inspired to create a space for yourself using the style board as a reference and template for
your real design. Whether you are in the market to renovate or redesign or not, the HGTV style board is a lot of fun to use and a great way to help you understand your likes and dislikes. Once completed, you can "publish" your creation and
have other decorating and design enthusiasts see your ideas.
To try out this fun application, simply visit : HGTV Style board and get started planning your next dream room.
Each of these designs are created at HGTV using their available tools to customize a room to suit your tastes. Even if you can't buy the items used in your creation, the inspiration to create something similar will spark your imagination and get you dreaming of what you can do with your own space.


My examples:

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