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Refresh Your Interior Design

Wish you could wave a magic wand and change up your décor? Well, the wand trick may not work, but reimagining things you already own in fresh and exciting ways can breathe new life back into lackluster interior designs. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of switching things up. Chances are you already have what it takes to refresh your décor. So stop taking your once-coveted finds for granted and have them speak to you again. Start by reconsidering where decorative items and furniture can relocate within your home – big change begins by making simple yet strategic moves.

Picture ThisHow many times have you passed by that painting on the wall without taking a second look? Then it’s time to let it live somewhere else. Imagine your art, framed pictures and mirrors in different rooms of your home. Try them out in areas of the house with corresponding color palettes. Soon you’ll have a newfound appreciation for those familiar – now repurposed – favorite pieces that will once again engage your attention.

Presto Chango. A little to the left … now to the right. Play this game of musical chairs and sofa for a fresh new take on your furniture placement. By simply moving key objects around most any room, you’ll discover a brand new outlook on your interior design. A fresh perspective is sometimes all it takes to shake things up.

Pillow Talk. That cushy little bundle of comfort may not get much attention, but if you swap out your throw pillows for ones in a fresh pop of color or pattern, you’ll be amazed at the impact they can create. It’s an inexpensive way to introduce a renewed sense of aesthetics into a room and enliven all-too-familiar furniture. Accent pillows and throws can be the common thread that runs throughout an interior design to tie the color scheme together.

When it comes to design, not everything should stay the same forever. So be open to the possibility of change and start moving a few things around – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how things take on a fresh new look when you switch them up.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter


The Best & Worst Home Projects to DIY

The popularity of Do-It-Yourself home improvement projects has gone through the roof in recent years. You can find step-by-step instructions on YouTube for every conceivable DIY project – and they make it look so easy! Many DIYers discover it’s often not as easy as it looks and end up calling in professional help to finish the job.

Renovations and upgrades are crucial if you want to maintain or increase the value of your home. The key to successful DIY projects is being realistic about your skills, tools, time, and budget. Some DIY projects turn out just fine. Some turn into disasters. Let’s start with those that seem to work out well.

The Best:

These are projects where homeowners report a high degree of success and satisfaction. Most don’t require special skills or tools.


This is the most common home fix-up project because it’s relatively easy and inexpensive. But experts say doing it right involves prep work such as cleaning, edging, filling nail holes and cracks, and priming. Rolling on the paint is the easy part – but will usually require at least two coats. Homeowners report their greatest DIY successes involve painting projects.

Replacing fixtures

This can be a quick-fix update. Home improvement centers abound with fixtures in every style and price range. Putting up new light fixtures normally doesn’t require an electrician. Replacing faucets and showerheads requires minimal plumbing skills, and updating cabinet hardware usually involves nothing more than a screwdriver. Just be sure to measure for holes before you buy.

Making your home smart

This is a surging trend as more products hit the market. Smart lighting, security cameras, and voice-controlled gadgets continue to be the rage. These are normally easy installations. If you get into trouble, just call in a teenager.

Adding storage

Closet organization systems are easy tasks, as are rollout under-the-cabinet storage units. Many people are also paying more attention to the space in their garages by adding organizers and shelving. Usually, only basic household tools are required.

The Worst:

These are projects where homeowners report the least success and highest frustration.

Flooring projects

Installing floor tiles and wood floors, refinishing hardwood floors, and laying carpet can be exasperating. Most homeowners rank these as their least favorite DIY projects. Chalk up floor projects to those that look easy – but are not.

Replacing ceilings

A lot of homeowners admit frustration and disappointment with self-attempted ceiling replacement. Maybe this is because you spend so much time on a ladder with your arms above your head. The project is invariably messy and requires you to remove all the furniture from the room. Ceiling replacement may also require drywall skills. “Dropped” ceilings are popular because they are suspended on grids and wires below the original surface. They make for less mess and require less skill.

Refinishing cabinets

It seems refinishing is not as simple as wiping on stain and brushing on varnish. A large number of DIYers say they forgot to sand the doors and drawers first. Some report failing to remove all the sanding dust or staining against grain. Most report dissatisfaction with the results.

Installing baths or showers

The rule of thumb is measure twice, cut once, then call a plumber. Installing bathtubs and showers requires plumbing skills and often involves carpentry. You’ll need a full arsenal of power and hand tools for this undertaking.  Make one mistake and tubs and showers will leak around the edges. Install the tile incorrectly, and you could be dealing with mold for years to come.

Drains are also difficult to install. One wrong move, and you’ll have drainage problems throughout the house.

Installing a new roof

Roofing requires a little skill – and a lot of hard labor. Often that labor is done under a broiling sun. Roofing an entire house can take days. It’s better to leave such a critical project to the professionals.

Adding or expanding a room

This is a major project and can involve demolition work. In addition to carpentry and tearing down or building walls,  it may require the skills of an electrician and/or plumber.

To make DIY projects a rewarding experience, always check local codes and ordinances before undertaking major projects. This will help you avoid fines or costly makeovers.

DIY projects are an area where discretion is the better part of valor. Be honest with yourself about the time, skills, tools, and budget you can devote to your projects.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter


Create a School Zone at Home

Help your kids get ready to make the grade by giving them all the tools they’ll need

It’s been a page-turner of a year and time once again to start hitting the books. With school being back, help your kids

get ready to make the grade by giving them all the tools they’ll need to rock their school days.

High-Demand Supplies. Stock up on all the essentials that will help them ace their classes – keep their focus on schoolwork instead of searching for paper, pens and pencils, pocket folders and printer ink. Create a school supplies station in a file cabinet, fill it with all the necessities for the new season and clearly label each drawer’s contents so your student will have easy access to all the tools they need to start out strong.

Carve Out a Niche. Set aside an area in the house exclusively devoted to concentration and contemplation. Whether that means a single desk in a solitary spot, or a remote corner of a room where traffic never treads, a place of quiet and calm will enhance their ability to learn and stay on task. Outfit the book nook with a comfy computer chair, second-screen monitor, wireless computer mouse and a power strip to avoid storm blips. Then sit back and watch the As roll in.

Ramp Up the Resources. Keep a list of invaluable learning sites on hand where students can get up-to-date information for specific classes, reference materials and resources to aid them in their studies and elevate their learning quotient.

Give your kids the opportunity to hit the ground running this school year. With a little preparation and outstanding support from you along with a good amount of determination from your student, success is only a report card away.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter


5 Things to Do to Your Grass This Fall

Fall is the best time for lawn care, so when it comes to planning your autumn projects, add these to the list.

By the time fall comes along, and you’ve tended to your grass every single week, pleasant springtime memories of fresh-mown grass smell have long passed. Still, you must get the yard grass ready for winter, especially if you’re planning to put the house up for sale next spring. Fall is the best time for lawn care, so when it comes to planning your autumn projects, add these to the list.

1. Adjust the Lawn Mower Blade

When cutting the grass in late September or early October, set the mowing blades a bit shorter than usual. Lower the blade to the shortest recommended height for your variety of grass. That will help keep grass from matting underneath winter snow, but the turf will be high enough for the roots to stay firmly planted in the soil. Preventing thatch and matting allows snow-covered grass to remain healthy, and leads to a thick, full lawn in March, April, and May.

2. Fertilize

The leaves are changing, and that means it’s time to fertilize the grass. If you haven’t done it this year, test the soil to determine its acidic balance; this lets you know what type of fertilizer to use. The pH scale is from 0 to 14; anything less than 7.0 is acid, and anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline. Whether you choose soil amendments, organic or chemical fertilizers, they must be the proper types for the grass in your yard.  You can buy a soil testing kit at your local hardware store.

3. Aerate

Speaking of soil, it needs to breathe. Soil compaction occurs in areas where kids are playing, dogs are running, riding lawn mowers are sitting — you get the idea. Compacted soil stops air and water from reaching the roots. (Even those squirmy earthworms can’t get very far!) Fertilizer won’t soak in very well. In short, compacted soil is bad for grass.

Aerating the lawn provides air that lets grassroots thrive. You can do it yourself by hand, but really, the best way to aerate the yard, especially a large one, is to hire a landscaper with the right kind of equipment. Hundreds to thousands of small, cork-like plugs of dirt are removed from the ground, allowing the grass to spread, thicken and breathe. 

4. Reseed 

The type of grass and condition it’s in determines reseeding requirements, but in any case, this project is better for autumn than in spring.  September is ideal for overseeding cool season and warm season grasses. Because we live in an area prone to snow, you’ll want to reseed the entire lawn before the first frost.

5. Weed Control

The first thing to remember is that weeds will never completely go away, so don’t make yourself crazy over it. But you can control the first outset in spring by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall. It can give you a head start on next spring’s weed-reducing efforts. Follow directions carefully.

As if this weren’t enough, here are a couple more autumn yard projects for you.  Rake and remove fallen leaves so they won’t create a thick mat that will suffocate your lawn over the winter. Continue to water the lawn if you’re not seeing enough rainfall — if it hasn’t entered dormancy, grass should get an inch of water per week.

One thing to note: If you start a project too late in the season, your efforts are wasted. The grassroots will need time to absorb the nutrients from fertilizer. Tender plant seedlings from reseeding won’t survive the cooler temperatures. For a healthy lawn in spring, develop a fall schedule, and stick to it.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter



4 Ways to Revamp Your Long-Forgotten Garage

Has your garage been left abandoned and unloved for far too long? You’re not alone.

A home organization study from Moen found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes. Join us today in exploring 4 tried and tested methods you can use to show your long-forgotten garage some much-needed TLC, revamping your cluttered space into one fit for function.

Reconsider your storage 

When was the last time you saw your garage floor?

Garages far too often serve as a dumping ground – a place to keep those countless boxes full of sentimental keepsakes and, let’s be honest, junk you can’t bring yourself to throw out!

Luckily, revitalizing your garage space doesn’t mean you have to begin a clearout and start planning your next yard sale. Instead, reconsider your storage solutions to achieve a more optimized and efficient means of storage.

The best way to do this? Utilize vertical space! Purpose-built garage shelving units are your best bet here. They’ll clear up valuable floor space and enable you to implement a logical organization plan. Regardless of whether your garage is merely practical or purpose-built for a specific use, increasing your storage capability is a must – trust us, you’ll thank us later!

Get decorative

One of the biggest appeals of a garage is that the possibilities really are endless. From workshops to games rooms, the purpose of your garage is completely up to you. But of course, in order to revamp it successfully, you’re going to want to breathe a new lease of life into the space. So, it’s time to get creative!

Your options here are twofold:

Option A

Option A entails decorating based on purpose. For example, no games room is complete without arcade machines, pool tables and the likes, but don’t forget about trendy extras like beanbags, mini fridges and gadgets. Ultimately, it’s all about decorating the space with you in mind.

Option B

Alternatively, a general interior update will be equally as effective in revamping your garage space, and is often a great way of boosting your property’s value in the process.

Never underestimate the power of a new lick of paint. Opt for clean and crisp colors to make the space look polished and better organized, being sure to consider interior cohesion by matching your aesthetic with any features and appliances you may have on display. As a potentially damp space, to ensure functionality in the process, we recommend using moisture-blocking paint.

Evaluate your lighting

What use is a trendy new garage interior if it’s hidden by dingy garage lighting? Look to re-evaluate your garage lighting to bring a little extra shine, both figuratively and literally, to your garage interior.

Again, there’s a whole range of options at your disposal, and picking the right one will depend on how you intend to utilize your space. As a rule of thumb, lighting should always be bright, efficient and easily accessible – particularly if your space is functional and prone to hazards.

Think about more than simply overhead lighting. Lighting above doors, on walls and beneath storage systems can be an effective way of ensuring practicality and style.

If your space is being used for entertainment, consider bringing an extra dimension to your space through snazzy features such as voice-activated colored lighting. Not only will this do wonders for your garage’s aesthetics, it’s also sure to become the envy of any friend who comes to visit! 

Alternatively, functional garage owners should focus more on their lighting’s practical properties. For example, opt for lighting fixtures with electronic ballasts to ensure a more reliable performance than traditional fluorescent lighting, which often becomes temperamental in conditions below 50 degrees.

Strengthen your security

A slick new garage interior deserves protection – particularly if it’s housing valuable items, whether that be in monetary or sentimental value.

An automatic garage door with remote sensors is a good place to start, providing you with both convenience and peace of mind.

For added reassurance, pair with a CCTV system – there are plenty on the market right now at cost effective prices. What’s more, contemporary systems are even compatible with smartphones, allowing you to stream the feed directly to your phone through an app. Again, convenience and peace of mind guaranteed.

Revitalizing your garage interior might sound like the mammoth task you’ve been putting off for years, but with the right know-how, it’s not as tough as it sounds. We hope the above tips give you the inspiration you need to turn your garage into the space you’ve always wanted.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter


Fun and Simple Summer Entertaining Tips

Summer is the ideal time to invite friends and neighbors over for a get-together. Here are six tips to guarantee your summer gatherings will be a hit.

1. Break out the party games

If some of your guests don’t know each other, set up a few backyard games to help break the ice. Croquet, badminton, bocce ball, spike ball and horseshoes are all good choices. For an easy DIY project, paint a wood pallet and cut a circular hole in the middle for a fun beanbag-toss game, also called cornhole. 

2. Fire up the grill

Nothing says summer like a casual barbeque in your backyard. Be sure to include classic fare like burgers and hot dogs, but feel free to get creative with salads, side dishes, appetizers and other fun bites. Try to prepare as many dishes as you can the night before your get-together — you want to enjoy the party too.

3. Host a luau

Treat your friends and family to a night in the tropics with a Hawaiian-themed luau. Set up some tiki torches, sport your best Hawaiian shirt and serve tropical drinks. Make a playlist of island-themed music to set the perfect mood for the evening. For an additional treat, wrap up your get-together with a blazing bonfire.

4. Hit the pool

A pool party is a great way to stay cool and comfortable when you’re entertaining in the summer. Light foods, like salads, chicken and fish are perfect choices when guests will be doing a lot of swimming. Always keep plenty of water bottles and other refreshing drinks on hand to keep guests properly hydrated. Pool floaties are always fun to have on hand when you want to relax and get some sun in the pool!

5. Show a movie

The days of drive-in movies are in the past. But, it’s still possible to enjoy an outdoor movie on a warm summer evening. Get some sturdy wire and a blackout shade and set up your own DIY screen. All you need is a standard film projector and you’re ready to screen your favorite movies in the comfort of your own backyard. If you’re feeling really creative, you can serve snacks that match the theme of the movie.

6.Set up a popcorn bar

Between food allergies, picky eaters and other dietary restrictions, it can be tough to come up with a menu that pleases a crowd. Popcorn is a low-calorie, gluten-free and budget-friendly treat that’s likely to work with most people’s diets. Set up a variety of seasonings and toppings and let your guests create their own savory combinations.


Summertime entertaining doesn’t require a lot of work to be successful. With these easy ideas in mind, you’ll be ready to plan fun get-togethers all summer long


Staging Tips to Enhance Your Home’s Appeal

Whether on television, at an open house or on the pages of a magazine, we’ve all seen stunningly outfitted estates that deliver a true wow factor – and listing price – that properties without staging just cannot match. Buyers quickly fall in love with homes that have a strong character while wordlessly conveying the lifestyle they would enjoy if they lived there. Before listing your property, consider that proper staging is one of the most important factors in enhancing your home’s appeal and most flattering features.

First Things First

In order to entice potential buyers, you must think outside the box – but to start, examine what needs to be done to get your home in showplace shape. Check under older carpets for lovely hardwood, survey the ceiling for cracks or leaks to seal, and focus on boosting your curb appeal. Once your home is a clean slate, you are ready to begin.

Neutral Rules

When using achromatic tones on painted walls and furniture, ensure that the staging pieces do not distract from the form of the home. When staging for luxury, colour psychology can signal buyers that they’re working with a discerning seller who has elevated the home to its full, indulgent potential.

In the world of interior design, fashion and luxury vehicles, neutral colours have always made a recognizable statement of power, sophistication and confidence. Once you’re prepared to stage your home, you’ll want to highlight those qualities with the crème de la crème of design – blacks, greys and whites.

While buyers will always notice houses with splashy displays, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will find them appropriate for their tastes. Staging experts often use furniture, rugs and paint in neutral hues (also consider beige and pale, cool colours) to help buyers overlay their own creations onto the scene and more easily discover the home could be the perfect fit.

Character Is King

Often, a seamless introduction to the home involves pairing décor with architectural personality. Envision how Old-World pillars and stonework are beautifully complemented by gold-framed art and Turkish rugs, and contemporary interiors effortlessly show off leather, wool or velvet furnishings and unique accents as statement pieces. When hiring an interior designer to get the job done, seek out a professional with not only expertise, but also an imaginative mindset.

Now to address spatial issues. For smaller sitting rooms, offices or charming nooks, instead of cluttering the area to make it appear as if much can be done with the layout, ensure that each piece has room to breathe and directs attention to the space itself.

On the other hand, if you have a cavernous room, think about creative ways to section it off and separate it into more manageable areas with rugs or furniture in unique arrangements.

Attractive Accents

While a visually busy room is an easily avoided faux pas, keep in mind that going completely neutral is not the answer either. In order to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between sensible furnishings and handsome décor, decorate with stylish accents that lend a perfect finish to any lifestyle.

Any artwork should be minimal and tasteful, so buyers can picture how they will customize the space, and personal items like family pictures or sports memorabilia should be stored.

When a buyer enters your front door and explores the home room by room, they’ll be thinking about how they will personalize it with their own touches, and how much of a transformation might be needed to get it suited for them. With beautiful furnishings in place and just the right level of flair, they won’t have to work very hard to visualize their new life – and that gets them one step closer to making your house their new home.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter


Size Matters: Finding the Perfect Size Home for You

If you’re house shopping, there’s probably one question that’s been on your mind often: “What size home should I buy?” At a glance, the answer seems obvious: as big as you can afford! But that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. Home size matters on many levels from personal preference to resale value, future plans, your budget, and more.

How do you find the ideal home size for you and your family? Here are three things you need to consider:

The Truth About Square Footage

A foot is a foot, right? When it comes to the square footage of your future home that may not be the case. Measuring the size of a house isn’t incredibly precise. More often than not, the size will change depending on which appraiser is measuring and what mechanism they’re using to determine the square footage: measuring tape, laser measure, or eyeball. The reality is that there are no universal standards when it comes to measuring your home size.

What does this mean for you? You need to choose your home size not by the numbers but by the feel. Don’t put too much stock in the listing size on paper, but instead find out in person if each room, bathroom, and living area is large enough for your needs. It’s not about how other individuals answer the question, “What is a good sized house?” It’s about you, your family, and how big a place feels in person.

Your Budget

While your budget isn’t the only thing you should consider, it needs to be one of the critical factors in determining your ideal home size. And that may be little more complicated than you think. What matters when it comes to your budget?

  • Loan Size: The larger the house, the more expensive—most of the time. Make sure the average house size of your real estate listings fits with your pre-approved loan budget.
  • Monthly Budget: Large houses are expensive to keep up. As you increase your square footage expect to pay more in electricity, water, gas, cleaning, and more. If you have a tight allocation for monthly expenses, don’t go overboard on a large house without factoring in these other costs.
  • Your Future: Are you planning to have more kids? Do you need a new car? Are you counting on getting a raise at work? If you’re expecting your financial situation to change, make sure your home budget fits the modifications.

Your Preferences and Needs

Your particular wants and needs should have the most significant impact on the home you choose. Make sure you’re truthful and honest with yourself about your expectations and needs. For example, if you eat out regularly and hate cooking, there’s no need to spend on a gourmet kitchen! You’d be better served looking for a home with a smaller kitchen and a bigger living room.

To help you determine your preferences, here are ten questions you should ask yourself:

1. Do you like small and cozy or do you need room to spread out?

2. How many people are in your family and how much space does each person need?

3. Do you have any hobbies or jobs that require extra space? (If you work from home, you’ll need an office. If cars are a passion, you’ll want a more substantial garage)

4. How often do you have visitors over? (If you have parties every few weeks and relatives visit a few times a year, you might want more space for guests)

5. Are you planning to have more kids or have an elderly relative move in with you?

6. What size of house have you been excited about in the past?

7. How much storage do you need? (Closet space and built-ins can be a big space saver)

8. How large is your furniture, and how much do you have? (If you have a king-sized bed, you want a big master bedroom)

9. What’s your five-year plan? (Upgrading your home to a larger size can be difficult; make sure the home you choose can last for years)

10. How much outdoor space do I want?

The key to purchasing the right-sized home for you is being realistic. Make sure you really sit down with your family to discuss what you need, want, and can afford.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

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