Here’s the One Room Where Home Staging Will Pay Off the Most

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As most of us know, home staging can help sell a house—particularly in the living room, which has gotten a bad rap lately as a waste of space.

The fact is, first impressions matter, and the living room is usually near the entry point for most homes. Reality check: This room may not be the end-all, be-all area it used to be, but this is no place for your kid’s train set, your husband’s guitar stands, or any unnecessary clutter. So, it pays to do all you can to showcase this space right. To help, here are some living room staging tips buyers will love.

Remove and redistribute furniture

Amy Bell, owner of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, NC, urges homeowners to evaluate whether any furniture can be “voted off the island”—i.e., out of the room.

“I recently staged a home in which the living room contained enough furniture for two rooms,” she notes. But, as part of the staging process, she shuffled the items and placed the contents in two different places. As a result, the home sold in one day.

Once you’ve removed some of the furniture, consider making an arrangement that allows people to sit and chat.

“This often means pulling furniture away from walls, which also allows for circulation,” says Gale Sitomer of G Sitomer Design in New York City. And if you have a larger living room, don’t be afraid to create several separate seating areas, which can be defined by different area rugs.

Create a focal point

Limit your mantel to just a couple of pretty objects.

Usually the mantel, if you have one, is the first place the eye comes to rest, so make sure your home staging packs a punch here, suggest real estate agents Jonathan Rosen and Christy Berry, co-founders of The Rosen Berry Group in Dallas.

Declutter this spot by taking down wedding photos, your porcelain bird collection, and other items so it looks like a clean line. Add back a single pretty vase, a fun piece of art, or an interesting sculpture. However, if the focal point is a gorgeous garden or backyard pool, create clear views of it through the living room.

Be neutral

Choose a cool, calm color like this pearly gray.

We’re talking about colors, says Sitomer. “Stick with a neutral tone to appeal to a larger variety of potential buyers,” she notes. And if you have bold or patterned furniture, consider white slipcovers.

“Lighter, more neutral rugs are better than oriental or brightly colored ones, which don’t photograph well and make rooms look dated,” says Lisa Gulliver, a Showhomes franchise co-owner.

The same goes for your couch, she adds. “A dark sofa against big, bright windows can be blinding, but shades of gray or khaki can help eyes adjust more quickly so the buyer can take in the room and exterior views.”

Accessorize with flair

The finishing touches count for a lot when it comes to staging the living room. Put a soft cashmere throw over a corner chair to evoke a quiet place for reading, says Katie McCann, an organizing expert with Maeve’s Method.

A small vase of fresh flowers adds beauty and perhaps a soft scent (watch out for overly strong candles).

Jack Menashe, owner of the New York–based Menashe Group, likes accessories that bring the space to life, including large coffee-table books, sculptural art, and accent pillows.

Photo Flip: Behold These Bold Kitchen Backsplashes

The kitchen backsplash presents an opportunity to bring color, pattern and texture to your space, and plenty of designers on Houzz have maximized this surface area in their work. From graphic tiles to aged copper and dramatic quartz, the possibilities are many.

Here are 62 standout kitchen backsplashes that you can use as inspiration for your own kitchen renovation. Click the first image to enlarge the photo, then use the right arrow to see the photos in slideshow format. Flip through and then tell us: Which kitchen backsplash would you most like to have in your home?

1. A patchwork backsplash of inlaid marble in soft colors complements the gold details that frame the cabinetry in this Toronto kitchen.

Backsplash: Tangram, Opus collection, Lithos Design

2. Blue, orange, cream and black tiles create a graphic splash against these elegant cabinets in a Chicago kitchen. The opposing side of the kitchen has a complementary rust-orange backsplash behind the range.

See more

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/112030895/list/photo-flip-behold-these-bold-kitchen-backsplashes

Planting in a Shady Area?

Here are 7 plants that thrive in part sun to shade.  They are easy to grow perennials, so there is no need to replant them yearly.

Hydrangea ‘Bloomstruck’

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This beautiful Hydrangea is the newest of the Endless Summer series in which they bloom on new growth.  With a light pruning after their first bloom cycle they will again flower.  Bloomstruck’s Mop head bloom clusters are blue to white to pink depending on the Ph level of your soil.  The new variety has a more dwarf, spreading growth habit than the Original Endless Summer and tend to have a much higher bloom count.

Japanese Ardisia

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This evergreen is a terrific groundcover for a shady location and blooms small cluster of light pink flowers yielding red berries in the fall.

 

Philodendron ‘Xanadu’

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This tropical looking beauty is hardy in the Baton Rouge area and has a dwarf growth habit (about 3’) compared to other Philodendron.

 

Brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow)

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This semi-evergreen shrub grows best in part sun and has large beautiful blooms in cycles from spring through fall.  It gets it’s common name because the flowers change colors.  Blossoms turn from purple (yesterday) to lavender (today) to white (tomorrow).

 

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

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This new variety of Mahonia is in the Southern Living Plant Collection and is slow growing evergreen for the shade.  The soft textured foliage plant mixes great with other broadleaf plants.

The Impact of Swimming Pools on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Swimming Season Is Under Way, Are You Covered?

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Backyard swimming pools are a great place to spend time with friends and family during the hot summer months. And nothing helps beat the heat like taking a swim in your own backyard. But pool ownership also comes with responsibility. If the unexpected strikes, do you have the necessary insurance in place? Whether it’s damage to the physical structure of the pool or your own liability, you’ll likely want to have certain safeguards in place. You may want to start by considering the following questions.

Is a Pool Covered By My Homeowners Policy?

If you have a pool or you’re planning to install one, it’s a good idea to let your insurer know, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says. Pools are typically covered by homeowners insurance policies, but you’ll probably want to review your coverage to make sure you have the right amount of protection in place.

Property coverage. The property component of your homeowners policy likely extends to your backyard swimming pool, so if a tree falls on your pool, your coverage may help pay to remove the tree and cover repairs to your pool, up to the limits included in your policy. Your agent can help you determine whether you should consider increasing your policy’s property coverage limits based on the value of your pool and any accessories, such as a deck or water slide.

Keep in mind that most homeowners policies exclude coverage for damages caused if water freezes in your pool, so you’ll want to be sure you drain it at the end of each season.

Liability coverage. You’ll also want to take your liability coverage into consideration. Thousands of people go to the emergency room each year with pool-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If someone suffers an injury at your pool, you could potentially incur medical or legal expenses that stem from the incident. Liability protection is a standard part of a typical homeowners policy, but because a pool can increase your liability risk, says the III, you may want to consider increasing your coverage.

A homeowners policy typically provides $100,000 in base liability coverage. The III recommends increasing those limits to $300,000 or $500,000 if you have a backyard pool.

Do I Need More Protection?

To add an extra layer of protection, the III says pool owners should consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy (PUP). A PUP provides liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners policy — generally up to $1 million. PUP protection begins when you’ve exhausted the required underlying insurance amount of your homeowners policy. Your agent can help you determine whether you have appropriate protection in place on your underlying policy to help prevent a gap in your coverage.

What Other Precautions Can I Take?

By taking a few safety precautions, you can help reduce the risk of accidents at your pool. The CPSC recommends installing a fence at least 4 feet tall around the pool along with gates that are both self-closing and self-latching. Some states or municipalities have laws in regard to pool fences, so it’s a good idea to find out what might be required in your area.

Children should be supervised around the pool as well as taught water safety skills, CPSC’s Pool Safely program says. In addition, the program says parents should learn how to swim and make sure their children also know how to swim.

By being proactive with both safety measures and insurance protection, you can gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re prepared — and spend pool time enjoying your backyard swims.

 

Half Table Console

INTRODUCTION
Unless you want to do a lot of sawing, the likely candidate for this project will have an extending mechanism to accommodate a leaf. (Hint: Any damage or wear — a missing corner block, a major crack — drastically reduces table prices at flea markets.)

 

STEPS

  1. Simply unscrew the extension mechanism from the bottom of the table, sand the table, then prime and paint it.
  2. Nail or screw a 2-by-2-inch piece of wood to the wall at the height of the tabletop, so that the edge of the table rests on the wood support.
  3. For extra stability, screw through the top of the table to the wood support; fill the holes with wood filler, and paint over them.
  4. At last, you’ll have a place for your keys.