Consumer Real Estate News

    • Budget-Friendly Bathroom Upgrades

      23 January 2020

      Bathrooms, though some of the smallest rooms in a home, can require the most work when it comes to upgrades. If your budget just isn’t ready to take on a remodel, taking the DIY path can be the best choice...and the most fun! With a quick trip to your local hardware store and the will to get creative, these budget-friendly projects can spruce up your bathroom:

      Frame Your Mirror
      No matter the size, a bathroom mirror is an essential piece that all eyes are naturally drawn to. Give the room a finished look by framing the mirror. Most hardware stores will cut wood to size and offer tips for staining or painting, so you can construct the perfect frame for the look you’re going for. Alternatively, you can purchase a frame that fits your mirror and intended style. 

      Install Wall Hooks
      Instead of the old dorm-style over-the-door hooks, add sophisticated functionality to your bathroom by installing beautiful wall hooks to hang your bathrobes and towels. Get creative with placement to create an artistic flair. Search online and in local craft and hobby stores to find unique hooks that you can mix and match for an added touch of style. 

      Paint the Vanity Cabinets
      With a single can of paint, you can completely change the look of your bathroom. Choose a light color, like blue or yellow, to brighten up a tiny room and make it feel more spacious. Or, go for a deeper color, like a charcoal gray, to create a more luxurious tone. Paint or swap out hardware as a stylish finishing touch. 

      Add More Storage Space:
      For especially small bathrooms, space for storage can be limited. Adding shelves or cabinets at eye level keeps foot space free and can be done in many ways to accent the ambiance of the space. For example, a ladder shelf or floating shelves can be placed over a toilet, where wall space is rarely used. Or you can go big and install a few cabinets, giving you a hidden place to hide your towels, toilet paper and many other items you may not want on display. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Properly Babyproof Your Home

      23 January 2020

      Babyproofing your home is an essential step to keeping your child safe. All over the house, spanning from the bathroom to the fireplace, their nursery to your kitchen, there are potential threats and risks that can cause serious harm. 

      First things first, you’ll want to take a good look at common factors throughout your home, such as electrical outlets, smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors and doorways. Each of these commonalities can create a potentially dangerous situation that can be easily avoided.

      Outlets, for example, are generally low to the ground and accessible for walkers and crawlers. Cover each open outlet with a plastic cap, and for those where items are plugged in, you can either move a large piece of furniture in front to block the cord or purchase plastic cord covers.

      Be sure to check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If batteries are low or have never been changed, change them! You can also consider upgrading the tech in your home and purchasing detectors that you can keep an eye on from your phone, featuring notification updates before a service is required. 

      Baby gates are another great safety solution. If you live in a home that doesn’t have an “open” floor plan, you risk your baby crawling or walking into another room unsupervised. With a baby gate, you can keep your baby confined to the area where you can keep an eye on them, even when you’re cooking, cleaning or doing laundry. These are also important to keep at the top and bottom of a staircase, preventing your baby from a potential fatal fall or injury.

      Next, go room by room, inspecting features that could cause harm or pose a threat to your baby. 
      Start in the kitchen, where you get easily preoccupied - cooking, cleaning and conversing - and will inevitably turn your back from your child. Remove all the cleaning supplies from under your sink or any other low cabinet and place them into a top cabinet. Add safety latches to the lower doors, however, ensure that whatever is inside is safe for a baby to get a hold of, such as pots and pans and tupperware. Also purchase stove-knob covers and avoid the possibility of a small child turning on a burner. 

      Move into the living room, where there are most likely low tables and plenty of sharp corners that you will want to guard with corner bumpers. If you have a fireplace with a hearth, be sure that it’s properly secured or blocked off. Fireplaces themselves should also be blocked off, especially when lit. Buy a screen or gate to ward off babies and small children from getting close to the flames. Be sure to mount or secure large bookshelves and televisions so they can’t topple over. It’s also helpful to install cordless blinds and store away delicate items that can be easily broken.

      Now for the bathroom. Like a kitchen, a bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a home for a baby. Again, remove all cleaning supplies and store them in a closet on a high shelf, out of reach. Keep medicines and razors in a medicine cabinet with a latch for added safety. Also get yourself a thermometer to test the temperature of bath water, making sure it’s not too hot. Remember to never leave your baby or small child alone in a bathroom, especially in a bathtub filled with water, to avoid drowning. 

      Lastly, take a final look at the nursery. This room will likely be the safest in the house, as well as where your baby may spend most of their time playing and exploring. Be sure to purchase a crib that meets safety standards. If you happen to acquire a hand-me-down crib, check that all safety regulations are met before you take a chance. Keep toys and stuffed animals in reach, as long as they aren’t small enough to be a choking hazard. 

      Double check that all safety precautions are taken in each room of your house. You’ll want to avoid as many potential injuries or risks as possible, so ask other family members to play a part in making sure that your house is prepped for safety and ready for a baby.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Removable Products Every Renter Should Know About

      23 January 2020

      Renting a house or apartment is a great alternative or interim solution to buying. Maybe you’re saving up for a more permanent home or you’re just moving into your first place away from your parents. Whatever the case, the rules of renting can sometimes get in the way of you feeling “at home.” 

      In most rentals, painting, putting up wallpaper, installing floors and adding anything “permanent” is not allowed. Plus, you don’t want to spend time and money renovating something that you don’t own. There are, however, many temporary options that can keep you from sacrificing comfort and style.

      1. Peel & Stick Tiles 
      If the kitchen in your rental is a bit outdated, or you just can’t stand the existing backsplash, these tiles are a great temporary option. You can find them in almost any shape, size and design. Simply remove the film from the adhesive side of the tiles and place onto the wall. When you are ready to move out, apply heat - you can use a hair dryer - and remove to reveal a damage-free wall. 

      2. Adhesive Window Film
      If privacy in your neighborhood or apartment complex where you rent is an issue, look no further than this decorative and ingenious solution. With styles ranging from a plain frosted look to an intricate design, window film is a great way to add subtle style to a room and ensure your privacy. You can cut it to size, and with the adhesive spray and smoothing tool, you’ll have upgraded windows in minutes! And, as easily as the installation is, the removal process will take half the time!

      3. Removable Wallpaper
      It’s easier than ever to totally redesign your rental space with this incredible invention. Add an accent wall or paper the entire apartment, and before you know it, your space will be transformed. You can even use removable wallpaper on shelving, under your island or even inside drawers and cabinets for an extra pop of color. You can find almost any style, design or color depending on your style. Simply remove and ensure your full security deposit when you’re ready to move out!

      4. Faux Flooring
      Some rental properties feature older flooring styles, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, such as outdated linoleum or an unattractive tile. Temporary flooring offers an opportunity to update the aesthetic of an entire room, or even an entire apartment. From all different grains of wooden planks to desirable patterns of ceramic tiles, there are many styles to choose from, and just like a removable backsplash - easy on, easy off!

      5. Command Hooks
      No more unsightly holes will be left in the wall with this inexpensive trick. Command offers hundreds of hooks that can handle a myriad of weights, as well as outdoor options that can stand up to tough weather and humidity. These hooks come in all shapes, sizes and finishes, offering a way to hang curtains, framed artwork, coats, towels and more without leaving a trace. 

      6. Contact Paper
      Turn any surface into a chalkboard or line all of your shelves and drawers in florals with this customizable tool. Marble patterns are also available, providing an instant enhancement to your countertops, as well as a stainless steel look to upgrade your appliances. Using a similar application process to window film, this option is easy to install, can be cut to shape or size and be easily repositioned or removed. 

      7. Tile Decals
      Maybe your rental has a boring backsplash behind the stove or a plain white tile floor in the bathroom. Instead of living in a bland space, add character to your rental by decorating pieces that already exist. Take an extra styling step by sticking these to your staircase or using them to make a welcome mat in your entryway. With hundreds of colors and designs, you’ll never be short of style with the easy-to-apply stickers. 

      Personalizing your rental space is the first step to making it feel like a home. By taking these steps and utilizing these temporary tools, ensure not only the return of your full security deposit, but endless design possibilities wherever you go - with no trace left behind!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Pack Big Style in a Small Kitchen

      22 January 2020

      If you’re living in an apartment in the city, or even a small house in the ‘burbs, your kitchen is probably not very spacious. With limited storage and counter space, it’s easy to put style aside and only focus on function. 
      But, just because your kitchen is on the small side doesn’t mean you can’t give it character. Here are some tips to spice up the style in your tiny kitchen:

      Add a Pop of Color
      Adding a bright color to your kitchen can be done in many ways. If you have a small island or breakfast bar, consider adding colored stools. Display vibrant bowls and jars on your countertop and put them to use, holding fruit or storing tea bags. Even find a matching teapot to display on your stovetop. Or, you can take another approach with color and paint your cabinets for a more dramatic look. 

      Bring in Patterns and Textures
      From patterned tiles to an eye-catching backsplash, adding a pattern can easily make a small room feel larger than life. Go for a Medditerranian look with a tile backsplash either all across your counter space or only on an accent wall, just behind the sink or stove. Add a stylish rug - or two - to bring some texture into the mix and tie the room together.

      Utilize Functional Decor
      When you’re confined to such a small kitchen, especially since most of the action happens here, anything you choose to add to your countertop should serve a purpose. Utilizing your decor is the best way to ensure you’re not sacrificing style for space. Wooden or marble cutting boards are always useful and can sit on your counter discreetly, while bringing in natural elements. Also, consider using pretty bottles for products that get daily use, such as olive oil or vinaigrette. 

      Don’t Forget the Details
      When styling your kitchen, it’s easy to overlook some obvious aspects. Hardware, for example, can be changed to fit the theme or tone of your kitchen. Whether you’re going for a more modern look or a country style, there are plenty of faucets out there to completely update your sink. Also, adding new knobs and pulls to your kitchen cabinets can make a huge difference to the overall feel of the room. Though these are minor updates, in a small space, every inch counts. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Exterior Upgrades to Refresh Your Home’s Curb Appeal

      22 January 2020

      Curb appeal is important, whether you’re trying to sell your home or not. Caring for your home inside and out will not only improve the look of your home and potentially boosts its value, it will make you feel good to come home to something beautiful every day. With these touch-ups and makeovers, you can create an exterior look you’re proud to call home. 

      Get a New Mailbox
      Every home needs a mailbox, but more often than not, you’re retrieving your mail from a boring, rusty old box. DIY this upgrade by choosing a complementary color to your house and painting your existing mailbox. Or, buy new! Ranging from $20 to $200, you can purchase a stylish new mailbox - or even have one custom made - to fit the style, architecture and location of your home. A simple paint job or a unique style can do wonders for your curb appeal, especially if you plan to sell your home. 

      Update Your House Numbers
      A much ignored aspect of your front door is your address. A new house number display is a great way to freshen up your home’s curb appeal. Head over to your local arts and crafts store and find beautiful wooden and metal numbers to get you started for a weekend DIY project. Not too crafty? Try a lighted style for a fresh, modern look. 

      Replace Light Fixtures
      Brighten your entry-way and curb appeal by replacing or refreshing your light fixtures. If your porch lights are old and rusty, replace. You can find plenty of styles at your local home improvement store for less than $30. For outdated pieces, such as a ‘70s bronze sconce, simply spray paint it black or white for an easy DIY upgrade.

      Paint the Front Door
      A simple way to boost the curb appeal of your home is by giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. Whether you’re planning for a simple touch-up to the existing color, or adding a pop of color to your door, this is an easy DIY project that can be done in a weekend. Be sure to consider the style of your home when choosing a color, and even change it seasonally for more appealing and versatile looks. 

      Paint the Porch Ceiling
      Your front door isn’t the only place where paint can make a difference. If you happen to have the kind of covered front porch that features outdoor seating, freshen it up to create a more inviting and comfortable space to enjoy nature. By painting your porch ceiling light blue, you open it up visually as if you’re always under a bright blue sky, while still being protected from the elements.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.