Month: November 2015

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize the financial reward when selling their home. But, how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to insuring you get the highest price possible.






1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house. (see chart)


Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

In a recent article on, they gave this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”


2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. Yet, studies have shown that typically homes sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Recent research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”


Bottom Line

Price it at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.


10 Great Painting Tips

By  – November 15th, 2015 11:23 am

Most of us dread room painting. It’s monotonous, messy, and time-consuming. If there ever was an activity that could benefit from thoughtful tips and techniques that make it easier, neater, and more all-around pleasant, it would be room painting. Here is a small collection of painting tips that we like. They mostly apply to house painting, but many of them can be applied to all sorts of domestic and hobby painting.

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite painting tips are. Please leave them in the comments below.



Instead of using painter’s tape to mask off above baseboards and other areas you don’t want painted when painting trim, use a so-called paint shield. They are inexpensive and come in various styles and sizes. You can also use a wide putty knife, a dust pan, even a piece of cardboard with a straight edge. The shield is especially useful when painting baseboard on a carpeted floor.
Link: How to Paint Trim



To raise up chairs and other pieces of relatively light furniture for painting, drill some temporary screws into the bottom. Just be careful not to split the wood. Raising the piece up will keep it from sticking to whatever you are painting it on and will raise it up a little higher for easier access. Link: Paint a Room Without Making a Mess!



To give you a better, neater way of wiping paint off of your brush (so you don’t get it in the gutter of the lid and down the sides), create a drip stopper/squeegee in the middle of the can. You can use a bent coat hanger for this or even just put a taut rubber band around the can and across the center of the top. Link: Paint a Room Without Making a Mess!



To prevent paint from pooling in the gutters of your cans (and spattering everywhere when you tap the lid shut), sink a few drain holes in the gutter with a nail or ice pick. Link: Jimmy DiResta’s Jimmy Tips: Paint Brushes & Cans



Trim the crusty, splayed edges of your rollers at a tapered angle to prevent the edge of the brush from creating tracks as you paint. Link: Secrets to Using and Preserving Paint Brushes and Rollers



For a quick and clean masking material for door knobs and fixtures, use aluminum foil to cover them. Link: Aluminum Foil Paint Protector



Aluminum foil can also be used to cover the inside pan (extending over the edges) of a paint tray so that clean-up is little more than balling up the foil. Cover will several layers in case the foil tears.
Link: Lowes Fix in Six



You can make a quick and handy paint receptacle and brush holder out of a plastic milk jug. Link: My Home Look Book



You can take your favorite acrylic paint, in any color, and turn it into fabric paint simple by adding Textile Medium to it that you can get in any craft store. Link: 10 Painting Tips Tricks You Never Knew



When cleaning brushes, you never want to let the brush rest on the bottom of the solvent container. An easy way to create a brush holder that suspends the brush to the desired height in the solvent is simply by using a splayed-out binder clip in the manner seen here. Link: Secrets to Using and Preserving Paint Brushes and Rollers

Blank Walls No More: Quick Wall Decor Ideas To Try this Weekend


Theo’s Small, Streamlined Apartment in Hell’s Kitchen

Do you have a blank wall in your home you’re still struggling to fill thanks to budget or time constraints? Are you entertaining in your home this holiday season and are looking for fresh decor ideas to update your walls? These eight ideas are cute and clever — but most of all won’t take up a lot of time or money to complete.

1. Try your hand at DIY

You might think you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, but there are actually any number of lovely art pieces you can hand-craft – just check out our (big!) list below. Depending on the materials and surface you paint on, you could have a colorful wall decor element in a pretty quick time.


Charles’ Cozy, Family-Inspired Chicago Condo

2. Affordably frame found memories

Have you collected anything from your travels that could be elevated to another level when framed and grouped together on the wall? Charles (shown above) bought IKEA frames for matchbook covers for a cute wall arrangement.


Emma & Cody’s Light, Bright Renovated Australian Home

3. Use fashion

Who says you have to use art to decorate your walls when you’ve got good-looking stuff hiding away in closets and drawers? From colorful robes to stately groupings of hats or boot collections, there are a lot of ways to incorporate fashion into your wall decor; find a way that works with your home’s style.


Laura & Bob’s Mix-n-Match Open House

4. Use patterned fabric

Forget framing big art or trying to hang a big heavy canvas on to your walls, lightweight fabric and wall hangings you buy or DIY can be an easy way to get a lot of color or pattern to your wall easily.


Hannah and Dave’s Happy Vintage Home

5. Use temporary wall patterns

Even if you rent, there are ways you can create decor right on your wall — like say with temporary wall decals or wallpaper — and you can do so in a way that is quick, doesn’t take up a lot of space but still makes a big visual impact. The triangle decals from Hannah and Dave’s home above were found at Urban Walls.


Ruth & Phil’s Smartly Designed, Eco-Friendly Family Home

6. Let the kids’ artwork shine

Find easy ways to display artwork from kids — like hanging clipboards in a grid on a wall — so you can update the look of your walls and show off their colorful and imaginative compositions.


Jillian’s Snug and Serene Studio

7. Use groups of maps

While just about anything can be hung casually on a wall and look alright if it was hung with intention, there’s something so pin up-able about maps. You can find them in thrift stores, in books — from just about anywhere — and when hung up together they make a delightful collection.


Amy’s Vintage Jewel Tone Apartment

8. Craft color

Though fiber art has more than had its day in the spotlight, the materials to make string and fiber art are still very affordable, the projects relatively easy and the results textural, colorful and impressive. In Amy’s home above, the colorful string art above the couch “was quick to make, budget friendly (under $10), and makes a big impact.”

15 Simple Ways To Deal With An Annoyingly Small Bathroom

You can do this!

You’ve got to get creative to make a small bathroom sparkle. It’s a matter of doing more with less, and finding ways to sneak in extra storage without adding clutter.

While this sounds like a challenge too great for even the space-saving pros among us, it can be done. All you have to do is get organized down to the very detail and put your imagination to the test.

To get you started, check out some of our small space solutions below.

1. Eliminate clutter on your shelves with baskets and bins.



2. Mount mason jars to manage the small stuff.



3. Add hanging storage to the side of your sink.


4. Install a sneaky shelf above the doorway.



5. Add magnets to the inside of your medicine cabinet to keep mini items in check.



6. Don’t forget about the space over your toilet.



7. Hang hooks on your shower curtain rod to keep the little things within reach.



8. Keep your counters clear by maximizing drawer space.



9. No wall space for a toilet paper holder? Using a hanging rack instead.



10. Add small shelving over your sink.



11. Use a mini bar cart for tiered, moveable storage.



12. Make the most of your medicine cabinet by adding additional shelves and using organizing containers.



13. Oversized jars keep beauty products organized in style.



14. Hang shoe racks on your door to arrange the bulkier things.



15. No cabinets under your sink? Build small standing shelves.






10 Ways to Add Personality to Your Kitchen

By Joanna Simmons, Houzz Contributor

One of our favorite spaces in the house, the kitchen can also be one of the most predictable. After all, it typically contains some countertop space, a few appliances and lots of storage. But a little imagination and some inventive styling can softly steer this room toward a look filled with personality. These smart details — some of them integral to the design, some added later — bring a fresh, original feel to a much-loved room.


Eclectic Kitchen by London Cabinets & Cabinetry British Standard by Plain English

1. Add a copper sink. Copper is a hugely popular material, with a long history of use in the kitchen. Often it shows up in pots and pans, but here it’s been fashioned into a sink. More humble than marble and nicely artisanal in feel, a copper sink is an unusual, stylish choice.


Traditional Spaces by London Cabinets & Cabinetry British Standard by Plain English

2. Seek out alternative handles. Metal, wood and ceramic are familiar choices for handles and knobs, so going with something a little more unusual will help give your kitchen its own style. Here, leather strap handles blend beautifully with the wooden counter, but it’s the element of surprise they carry that really catches the eye.

Find Trendy New Cabinet and Drawer Pulls on Houzz


Contemporary Kitchen by London Interior Designers & Decorators Blakes London

3. Light it up. Kitchens often feature integrated spotlights and task lighting, but adding a more decorative table lamp to a work surface or sideboard can instantly give a very different feel to the room.


Scandinavian Spaces by South West Kitchen Designers & Remodelers Sustainable Kitchens

4. Soften stainless steel. Stainless steel is a great material for a countertop and much-used in professional kitchens. This kitchen shows how it can be made to look soft and neat rather than seriously industrial when framed by the plywood trim of the cabinets.


Midcentury Kitchen by Other Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Designed Space Interior Exterior

5. Hang some art. In the quest to make a kitchen practical, we sometimes forget to style it like any other room. Hanging art in the kitchen, close to units and equipment, extends the style found in other areas of the house into this very practical space. The framed painting seen here beautifully matches the cabinets and backsplash.

Need New Artwork? Find Something on Houzz

Transitional Kitchen by East Anglia Kitchen Designers & Remodelers Humphrey Munson

6. Make it mirrored. Antiqued mirrored glass brings a softly reflective element to a room and makes a wonderful material for a backsplash. It’s practical and easy to wipe down, but it also boosts the feeling of space and creates depth.


Traditional Kitchen by London Cabinets & Cabinetry British Standard by Plain English

7. Work with paint. A kitchen with paneled walls is the perfect canvas for a creative paint job. Use paint to create the illusion of a backsplash running around the entire room. You can even include the lower cabinets, as shown here.


Modern Kitchen by London Photographers David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

8. Create a cool toe kick. Toe kicks can be something of an afterthought and generally match the cabinets above, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here, a stainless steel toe kick creates a reflective, almost glowing strip at the base of these wooden units. It’s a nice, subtle contrast of materials.

transitional-kitchen (1)

Transitional Kitchen by London Interior Designers & Decorators Sigmar

9. Add a vintage piece. Teaming up contemporary and vintage pieces is a mix-and-match approach that works brilliantly in other rooms but isn’t often used in the kitchen. Hanging a vintage display case to supplement built-in contemporary cabinets adds loads of personality, not to mention lovely visual variety.

transitional-kitchen (2)

Transitional Kitchen by London Interior Designers & Decorators Blakes London

10. Integrate herb storage. Pots of fresh herbs cluttering up your windowsill? Who says they always have to be kept there? A clever alternative is to design an integrated trough into a counter where the herbs can neatly sit. A simple open rack, hung on the wall, is another good alternative.

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