Down Town Amarillo

Down Town Amarillo

Monday, August 15, 2011

6 Furniture Arrangement Tips

Most homes are filled with furniture-arranging challenges. Follow these simple tips to turn your design dilemmas into successful arrangements.

1. Take Measurements

The first step in arranging a space is determining its size. Use a tape measure to get the dimensions of a room. Or, a quick tip: measure your foot and then walk heel to toe across the room. It's an easy way to estimate the basic size, and counting your footsteps will give you a rough measurement before you shop for furniture.
Always check the dimensions of the hallways, stairs and door widths leading to the space. This is the eternal challenge for the homeowner, being sure the entrance and egress of the room is large enough for potential purchases.

2. Estimate Volume

Every object has a height, depth and width. For added visual interest to any space, add varying furniture of varying characteristics. If you are going for a serene, unchallenging area for rest or recover, keep the furnishing volumes in a room similar.

3. It's All a Matter of Scale

The size of pieces relative to one another and the size of the space is their scale. Again, similarly scaled pieces are more serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates a harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the differing physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout the room. When furnishings are out of scale, you'll notice that it just won't feel comfortable or right.

4. Create a Healthy Relationship

The relationship of items to one another to form a pleasing whole is termed balance. There are two forms of balance — symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Bilateral symmetry is like the human body: there are two of everything. Asymmetry refers to an imbalance, such as two candles of slightly different sizes next to each other. Symmetry is very restful, while asymmetry is used to add visual motion and excitement.

5. Paint Your Room

Look at your space as a painter looks at a work of art. There are visual tricks that painters use to create the appearance of depth in a space. You can use these tools, too.
The first trick painters use is "triangulation". A basic example of triangulation used in interior design is the placement of two end tables on either side of a sofa with a painting over the sofa. If you can imagine this scene, it is lower on the corners with the apex of the view just above mid-center at the top of the painting.
The second trick painters use is the creation of depth in artwork, which is a two-dimensional medium. Paintings often have a foreground, mid-ground, background and vanishing point. Stand at the threshold of your room. Place a chair, perhaps at an angle, in the foreground closest to you. The cocktail table will provide a mid-ground and the sofa with the wall behind it, the background. A window in the scene will give you your vanishing point. Or, the vanishing point can be within a work of art placed above the sofa.

6. Think Gestalt

All furniture arrangements have a certain gestalt, or "totality," a "form". Large rectangular spaces can be dealt with by dividing the "form" of the space into another form. A long narrow living space, for instance, can be split in two by creating zones of function. Say, one half is for the sofa, or the function of conversing, and the other half is for a dining set, or the function of dining.

This helps you take the bite out of large rectangular rooms by dividing them into squares by zones of function. Humans tend to feel more comfortable and less formal in square furniture arrangements versus rectangular.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Interior Paint Colors That Help Sell Your Home

Maggie Hernandez recalls a Realtor telling her sister-in-law that she had to get rid of many of her personal items in order to sell her home. But the realtor was even more adamant that the sister-in-law update the interior paint colors throughout her house. In fact 94 percent of all agents recommend a fresh coat of paint for their clients' homes.

And why is painting your house in order to sell your home so important? How about a major return on investment! According to HomeGain's Prepare to Sell 2009 national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 -- which can be a 250 percent return on investment.

The Basic Rule of Thumb
It's necessary to remove all the personal touches you've made within your home in an effort to make the place as impersonal as possible when staging your home for sale. A neutral-colored palette, without all the clutter, helps potential buyers envision how their personal taste can be implemented into the house.

A bright red accent wall, or your teenager's black-walled bedroom, needs to be painted over in order to sell. "Beiges, warm beiges and yellows are great choices for wall color and making a space look more impersonal," says Maggie Hernandez, a seasoned home stager and realtor with RPI International, Inc. "Wallpaper is a deal-breaker, paint is your ally. Neutralize the color palette throughout the home and neutral doesn't mean white."

Karen Dembsky, president of Peachtree Home Staging LLC and Georgia's Real Estate Staging Association, as well as a Pro Stager of the Year nominee, has the first and most important piece of advice before even tackling the issue of color.

"A seller should always make sure that their paint has a fresh appeal, no dings, no marks. If there are any, it should be repainted or touched up because it gives the feeling of a well-maintained home," she said. "The color has to be livable and appealing, you want a color where the buyer will come in and say that it's not their first choice but they can live with it."

Repainting the Kitchen
Going room by room and making the correct decision on colors is vital and Dembsky gives her take on the best approach for each one. In the kitchen it's good to stay in the orange, red and yellow families. These work well because they're food related, but it's important to still make them soft, appealing and neutral, and keep them in the suggested food group colors. "In the kitchen, these colors will fly but keep these tips in mind to make them work well," she says.

Unique Hand Painted Tiles for your Bathroom

Repainting the Bathroom

In the bathroom paint must be light, because the room tends to be smaller, and a darker color would just make it more so. One way to infuse color into the room is through accessories like soaps or towels. But for the walls, keep it in the light yellows or tans. Perhaps you can pick up colors from the tile floors, but if the floors are hardwood then it's best to stick with neutral tones.

Repainting the Bedroom

In the bedroom it's also especially important to stay away from bright colors, since this room is viewed as a sanctuary, so choose something very neutral that will work with the flooring and also flow into the master bathroom. Bed and bath colors do not have to be the same but definitely must flow.

Repainting the Home Office

The only spot where warmer, richer colors are welcomed is in the home office, where cinnamon, dark brown or even dark blue are welcome -- these colors make the space an area in which to work and relax.

Repainting Other Areas of the Home

Other paint suggestions to help sell your home include salmon-hued paints - they make people's skin color look good. A very pale beige with a blue tone is very tranquil while a beige tone with a green tint that gives off energy and both are good choices for the living room.

And don't forget about the great outdoors and your garage. In the patio area it's not necessary to paint but do ensure that the decks and patios are pressure washed and fresh looking. For your basement and garage paint is also important. Paint the concrete floor and warm up these otherwise cold spaces with a warm neutral color like gold.

The Color to Avoid

Surprisingly, white is the color to avoid. Both Hernandez and Dembsky agree: When painting to help sell your house, the color white is not your ally. "The biggest mistake people make is painting their house entirely white inside thinking it's a neutral color. It's not, it's a bright color," Dembsky explains.

Did home staging help you sell your house? Got tips and advice to share? We want to hear from you! Add your comments in the box below.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

12 Quick and Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

Curb Appeal…if someone asks you to describe it, what would you say? It can be hard to put into words, but when a homes got it, it's easy to spot.

Houses with curb appeal “force” you to drive by them when you are in the area. There you are, simply minding your own business on the way back from an errand or meeting, when suddenly an indescribable force takes control of your car, steering it two blocks over where you find yourself slooowly driving by “that” house…the one that makes your heart pitter-patter just a little bit faster. I call those “stalker” houses because they have a way of turning this semi-normal girl into a crazed house stalker with their curb-side charm and engaging personality.

One time I discovered a stalker home in the historic district of the town in which I live. On a Saturday afternoon, I drove by it several times, trying to capture a good photo of it for my blog, Between Naps on the Porch. I was having a hard time due to the trees and foliage that were partially blocking my view of it from the road. Later that same week, a friend and I were antiquing in the area. I drove by slowly once again so my friend could see the stalker house. We laughed envisioning the owners inside saying, "There she is again...that woman in the white SUV, still casing our house. Call the police!" ;)

Is there a house you love to stalk? Or, perhaps you are the fortunate owner of a stalker house. Do folks slooow down as they pass by your home, oohing and ahhing over its beautiful fa├žade and exterior good looks?

Or, alas, do you feel your home might be missing that ooh/aah factor? Let not your heart be are 12 easy ways to bring your home up to stalker status in no time at all:

1.  Give your home a touch of romance with a climbing rose or flowering vine. It will create a warm and inviting entrance while adding charm to spare.

2.  Do you have a tree that's front and center in your yard, commanding attention? Make it a real feature by skirting it with a cute little bench. Just be sure to leave plenty of room all the way around for future growth.

3.  Consider adding a fabulous pergola. They look great on the front of a cottage, coastal or craftsman style home and will even offer a bit of sun relief for porch sitting time.

4.  Weathervanes exude the ooh, aah factor. If you have a peak on the front of your home, add a weathervane for a touch of whimsy.

5.  Topiaries, in spiral form, or really any form, add loads of style and appeal to a home.

6.  One of the fastest and least expensive ways to give your home's facade an instant facelift is by painting your front door a zippy color. Doors can be time consuming to paint, so here's a little trick I always like to use to avoid choosing the wrong color and having to repaint. Just paint a few sheets of inexpensive poster board with the paint you're considering. Then tape them to the door with masking tape and check the look from the yard or curb. You'll know pretty quickly if you've chosen the right color.

7.  Exterior lighting can really be awe inspiring, and it doesn't take a lot of lights to make a huge impact. No need to call an electrician if you just want the look without the expense. Most big box hardware stores sell outdoor lighting kits that don't require the skills of an electrician to install.

8.  Plant a flower garden along the front of your home with lots of long-blooming perennials. They'll come back year after year with their show stopping, car stalking beauty.

9.  A white picket still my heart. In my house stalking book, the only thing better than a white picket fence is...a white picket fence that's set back 3-4 feet with loads of blooming flowers planted along in front. Get ready; the neighbors are going to be talking and they will so be wishing they had thought of it first.

10.  Have you noticed all the great vinyls on the market these days? You can really dress up your front door quickly and inexpensively with these. They stick on firmly when applied as directed and add some instant panache to any front door.

11.  Window boxes are a fairly inexpensive and quick way to give your home some instant charm. The darling storybook shutters create delightful curb appeal for this home, as well.

12.  This would so be a stalker house for me if it were in my town. I just love it! But the real reason I included this charming home is the fabulous driveway. What a great way to give your home that little something extra.

So, tell you have a home in your town that is totally stalker material?