Just like fashion, home designs come and go over the years. There are many styles that simply never need to be done again, but there are also some that come back into the home, even when you least expect them. This year, especially with more nostalgic-generations buying and designing homes, many home design trends are drawing inspiration from the past decades. Here are six home design trends that are making a comeback in today’s modern homes. 

Floral Wallpaper 
Wallpaper, in general, has made a massive resurgence when it comes to modern home design. From accent walls and ceilings, to covering every single wall in a room, this nostalgic trend has taken on a modern twist. Floral wallpaper, specifically, is impacting home designs across the country. However, you won’t find the same patterns that your grandmother had in her kitchen, but rather more modern patterns featuring bolder color palettes, unique designs and, of course, a wider range to choose from. Today’s wallpaper options have also grown in utilization, as you can now find both permanent and removable options, which are great for renters or those who like to constantly change up their home decor.

Wood Paneling
A popular and budget-friendly option throughout the 60s, wood paneling definitely had its place in home design. Over the years, it became dated and boring, and more and more people opted to remove it for a plain wall with no character. However, today’s homeowners are revisiting this texture-rich option and bringing new life and character back into their home design. Whether painting over existing wood panels with fresh, trendy colors, or installing them in unique ways, such as a shiplap style, diagonal or even chevron, this seemingly out-of-date wall treatment is here to stay.

Macramé Decor
Fast-forward another decade where you may have seen plenty of macramé decor all around the house. The 70s was a time where home design featured a lot of unique colors and textures, and macramé was a staple in almost every home. Nowadays, this woven decor is being revived, making its way into living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms all over the world. From plant holders and pillows to wall hanging and window treatments, macramé adds a bohemian flair to any space, full of texture and the feel of nature inside the home. Many people have even started making their own pieces of artwork, tying knots into cording to feature unique, handmade creations throughout their space.

Brass Elements
For many years, decades and centuries, brass has almost always had an impact in home design. Depending on your style, or the outdated style of a room, brass has been known to make a home feel drab and old. However, this exquisite metal has made a big comeback, especially in kitchens where chrome and nickel have been the statement metals for the last 10-15 years. From light fixtures to faucets to hardware, you can mix brass into a room with ease. When mixed with warm wood and simple, classic palettes, such as a black and white kitchen or a gray bathroom, brass finishes can make a dominating impact that brings a whole new level of character into a space. 

Rattan Furniture
Another staple throughout the 60s and 70s was rattan, a lightweight, woven material that brings the outdoors inside. Because of its texture and muted palette, this furniture became quickly outdated as more modern pieces made their way into home design. However, with a resurgence of people wanting to mix their indoor and outdoor spaces, plus adding more plants to the home, rattan furniture has made a major comeback for a more casual and nature-inspired design. From baskets to hold your plants to seating options for the head of the dining room table, these pieces offer a modern twist on eclectic tastes.

Art Deco Motifs
100 years have gone by since the roaring 1920s, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t still dazzled by the glitz and glam of this era. From unique shapes, like arches and curves to metallic finishes and bold lines, this luxurious design trend has made its way back into the home. From entryways to dining rooms, even bathrooms, this vintage trend introduces a sense of luxury into any space. Though traditionally the color palette for art deco design sticks close to black, white, gold and silver, today’s homeowners are adding in their own style, choosing to highlight these motifs with bold jewel tones for an added flair that showcases their modern personalities. 

Read full post

If you envision your future summers filled with sunset happy hours over the glittering water, sun-soaked days on the boat, and an open door for friends and family, creating a plan to purchase a lake house is the first step. There are many factors to consider from the location, size, water quality, and the surrounding town. However, it ultimately comes down to prioritizing the most important factors to you and your ideal lake lifestyle. If you’re planning on purchasing a lake house soon, below are the most essential points to consider before putting in any offers. 

Location
The proximity of your lake house to your primary home is one of the most important factors to assess. While a two-hour drive may not seem that long, if you’re planning on going back and forth every weekend, this may start to take a toll. However, if you plan to stay at the lakehouse for more extended periods and return to your primary home for equally long periods, a two-hour drive may seem like a breeze.

Hire a Local Agent
While you may have a real estate agent you know and trust, hiring a real estate agent who is innately familiar with the areas you want to buy may be more advantageous. They are likely more familiar with inventory that may be hitting the market, the lake’s rules and regulations, and other nuances of the area that an out-of-town agent may not know.

Create a Must-Have List
Everyone has different motivations for purchasing a lakehouse. If you dream of watching the sunset every evening, ensure the backyard faces the west. Visit the house during the sunset, so you can be sure this is the view you want to enjoy for years to come. Or, maybe you envision long days of your family swimming and playing in the water. Inspect the water quality and depth off the pier and assess if the bottom is rocky, muddy or sandy, so you can be confident the water is safe to swim in. Perhaps your ideal lakehouse is a home that is always filled with visitors. In this case, the number of bedrooms may be more important to you than the size of the communal living area square feet. You may also want to build a separate structure to accommodate your guests. Be sure that the property has enough acreage to fit another dwelling

Check Zoning and Lake Regulations
Before you make any offers, check the zoning and building codes for any significant construction you want to do. For example, if you’re set on installing a pool in the backyard, check with the village to confirm that you can install a pool in the backyard. If you wait until after the property is yours and find out you can’t implement your dream project, it can completely alter your vision for the home.

Also, confirm the types of water vessels and sports allowed on the lake, such as boating, sail boating and jet skiing.

Visit the Local Town
If being close to local attractions is important to you, be sure to visit the local downtown to get a better understanding of the dining and shopping scene. Also, consider if there are other sources of entertainment for rainy days. However, the downtown area doesn’t matter for some, as they are perfectly content relaxing at home.


Read full post

Your bedroom should be a place of refuge and relaxation. It should be a space void of clutter, and just because it’s not a high-traffic space, doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought. A luxuriously restful bedroom can help you recharge and start your day successfully. Read on for inspiration on the elements every luxury primary bedroom needs to create the relaxing oasis you deserve.

Choose One Focal Point
Whether it’s a glamorous four-poster bed, a pair of plush velvet armchairs or a stunning shagreen dresser, choose one piece as your focal point and have the rest of your furniture complement this one piece. This approach will reduce visual clutter and create an understated, serene vibe.

Softness Underfoot
If your home primarily consists of hardwood and tile flooring, low pile, wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedroom will feel like the ultimate luxury. However, if you prefer to not cover the wood floors, a wool rug underfoot will create a similar feeling. Size up on the rug, so you can ensure that the softness extends beyond the bed.

Invest in Art
Going to sleep and waking up surrounded by your favorite art pieces will positively impact the way you end and begin your day. So, instead of saving your best works of art for the high-traffic areas, allow these types of pieces into your bedroom so you can personally enjoy them.

Hang a Statement Light Fixture
Instead of relying solely on recessed lighting and table lamps, install a hanging statement light fixture for elements of romance and glamor. Bedside sconces and art lights also add additional lighting layers that contribute to a bedroom’s overall coziness.

Keep the Surfaces Clear
Nightstands can quickly become catchalls for your odds and ends. Make it a point for your nightstand to be a sacred space. Keep the surface as clear as possible, with a water carafe, small clock and a tray for your book or tablet. Keeping a clear nightstand will create a vibe of luxe simplicity and make your room feel lighter.

The same goes for the dressers. Keeping this space minimal, including only a tray with your necessities, a picture frame or two and a small lamp, results in restrained elegance.

Incorporate Greenery
Fresh greenery or a weekly bouquet of fresh flowers adds freshness and depth to any room. Greenery is often the finishing touch that a space needs, and it will make an average bedroom feel more luxe. As a bonus, it will help purify the air, which is advantageous for sleeping.

Choose Overfilled Pillows
Overly plush pillows will elevate your bed from a basic bed to a cloudlike destination. Overfilled, plush pillows will make you feel like you’re sinking into a bed in a five-star resort and provide the ultimate in relaxation.

Design a Custom Closet
A custom closet allows you to maximize your space and organization and makes getting dressed feel like a luxury. Whether the closet is a full-sized room or a walk-in closet, you’ll find that getting dressed becomes an experience in itself. Designing a bedroom and keeping luxury top-of-mind will result in restful sleep and an overall sense of well-being. 

Read full post

Even if you’re working closely with an interior designer or a kitchen design firm, understanding what goes into a kitchen design is an integral part of the process. Before working with a design professional, it’s helpful for you to understand the different components that go into the planning stages of designing a kitchen to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. If you have a kitchen redesign planned soon, read on to learn more about everything that goes into a kitchen design project.

Make a List of What You Want
Assess your current kitchen, and make a list of all the missing features and functions. For example, if you entertain often, perhaps you need an additional prep sink or a second dishwasher. Or, if you love getting the newest kitchen appliance, you may need extra storage to conceal these larger appliances. If you have a busy household, maybe you need warming drawers built-in to the cabinetry to keep everyone’s meals warm. Or, if your family tends to gather around the island, perhaps you need more creative seating options. Whatever you feel like your kitchen is missing, write it down. It’s easier to scale back than add to your list once the design process begins.

Set the Budget
No matter how high-end your kitchen is, every project has a budget. This will make the project easier to design and implement, giving your designer better insight into selecting materials. Plumbing, electric, appliances, materials and labor all go into the kitchen design budget. To cover any unexpected costs, it’s wise to build in an extra 10-20% into your overall budget.

Visualize the Layout
While your design professional will create the layout for you, it’s your job to thoroughly think through how you use your kitchen. For example, if you and your partner like to cook together, you’ll need ample space for two cooks. If you have younger children who like to be in the kitchen with you, you’ll require plenty of room to move around. The working triangle is a long-standing guide to laying out the kitchen. This means the sink, refrigerator and oven range are in a triangular shape and help create a more seamless cooking experience. 

Factor in Lighting
Don’t let lighting become an afterthought. As you plan the layout and cabinetry design, consider where you want light sources. For example, you’ll likely want recessed lighting in the ceiling in addition to pendants over the island. You may also want to include sconces and picture lights into your design to add a visual element.

Think Through the Creative
Gathering as many inspirational photos as possible is the best first step to take so you can start to shape your kitchen’s design vision. Whether you prefer white, colored or natural wood cabinetry, selecting the cabinet color is the best place to begin to determine your kitchen’s design aesthetic. The cabinet color will help guide your decisions on the wall color, flooring, the countertop material and shade, the backsplash material, the hardware finish and the lighting options. 


 
 
Read full post

Whether from work worries, other stressors or just a too-busy to-do list, everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But nutritionists tell us that making the right food choices can help us get a better night’s snooze. Try upping your intake of these common vittles and see if your sleep quality improves.

  • Bananas – Besides its big helping of potassium, the humble banana offers a good amount of vitamin B6. Eating one before bedtime can boost brain-calming levels of serotonin.
  • Salmon – The vitamin D and omega-3s found in salmon is another way to increase the production of soothing serotonin. It’s best eaten no more than twice a week, however, because of concerns about the mercury it may contain.
  • Almonds and Brazil Nuts – Both are packed with magnesium, which can enhance levels of sleep-regulating melatonin. A study reported by the National Library of Medicine reported a 10% drop in the number of students reporting insomnia after eating 10 almonds a day for 14 days.  
  • Crab – Low dietary intake of the mineral selenium has been linked with difficulty nodding off. Eating more crab meat is one way of getting your selenium fix, plus crucial sleep nutrients like calcium and vitamin B6.
  • Soy Foods – Greater intake of isoflavones, found in soy products such as tofu, are linked with higher chances of getting optimal sleep. Just one daily portion of soy, which could be tofu, a glass of soy milk or a serving of edamame, made it more likely people got enough snooze time.
  • Butter Beans – Also known as lima beans, and delicious in soups or salads, these humble beans contain phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6, making them a powerhouse when it comes to inducing better sleep.
  • Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese on crackers or crispbread is an ideal bedtime snack, providing a balance of tryptophan for initiating serotonin and melatonin formation and carbohydrate, needed to transport this amino acid into the brain.
Read full post

During the winter, you may find that most of your house is nice and warm, but one or more rooms are colder. There can be several reasons for that. You may be able to address the problem yourself, or you may have to call an HVAC technician. 

Things You Can Try Yourself
A colder room may have drafts. In some cases, closing the curtains or hanging heavy drapes can help retain heat and keep the room warm. If one or more windows are old and damaged, adding caulk or weather stripping may eliminate drafts. If those strategies don’t work, you may need to replace old windows. 

A vent that provides warm air to a room may either not be fully open or there may be an obstruction. Check to see if the vent in a cold room is open and make sure that there is no furniture blocking it. 

If necessary, use soap and water or a cleaning solution to clean the grate that covers the vent. Use a vacuum to remove whatever dirt and debris you can from inside the vent. If you think there might be something deeper inside the ductwork that is blocking airflow, have an HVAC technician conduct an inspection. If you look inside the vent and see rodent droppings, contact a pest control company.

Your HVAC filter needs to be replaced regularly. A dirty filter can reduce airflow. Check the filter and replace it if necessary. That may take care of the issue.

Sometimes an HVAC system needs to be balanced to give each room an appropriate amount of airflow and keep the entire house at a consistent temperature. HVAC systems have supply runs that come off the supply trunk and provide heat to individual rooms. If your system has dampers in the basement or attic, you can adjust them to regulate airflow to different parts of the house. If your HVAC system doesn’t have dampers, you may be able to make adjustments at the supply registers. 

When to Contact a Professional
Ductwork may be damaged and may need to be repaired by a professional. In some houses, ductwork was installed in a way that makes it difficult for adequate airflow to reach certain rooms. In those situations, an HVAC professional may have to repair or modify the ductwork. 

The location of a room may be responsible for the difference in temperature. If a room is located along an exterior wall in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, if it’s poorly insulated or if it’s above an uninsulated space, such as the garage, you may need to hire a professional to install more insulation.

Read full post

Investing for a long-term goal, such as retirement, requires a sound strategy. All too often, people make investment decisions based on current market conditions and recent changes. That approach can backfire. You’ll generally be better off if you decide on a long-term strategy and stay the course.

Stocks Usually Do Well Over Time
It’s common for individual stocks and the stock market as a whole to experience wide swings. That can make investors nervous, but it’s a normal process. 

Although the stock market goes up and down, over a period of decades, it tends to follow an upward trajectory. Even accounting for periods of significant economic decline, if you look at the big picture, stocks tend to perform well over the long term. If you invest in stocks and hold onto them for several years or decades, you will most likely see a substantial return. 

Reacting to Market Fluctuations Can Backfire
Investors often get worried when the stock market dips or a particular company that they own stock in is struggling. They sometimes think that it will be better to sell stocks before things get worse. 

When people try to time the market, it’s hard to get things right because there are so many factors at play. Investors have limited information, and circumstances can quickly change. When investors sell stocks during a market downturn, they typically earn less overall than they would have earned by staying invested and waiting for the market to rebound.

Making Emotional Decisions Can Cost You
If you get nervous when the market is in decline, you may sell stocks when the price is falling and get less than you initially paid for them. When the market begins to improve, you may decide to buy back stocks and pay more than you sold them for previously. You would be better off just holding onto those stocks and riding out the storm. 

If you sell stocks, you will have to pay taxes. Your tax rate will depend on how long you owned the stocks and your income tax bracket. You can also incur fees when you sell and buy stocks. All of those costs can eat away at your investment portfolio’s balance. If you stay invested, on the other hand, you can earn dividends and reinvest them to grow your nest egg.

Get Financial Planning Advice
Your individual investing strategy will depend on your goal, how much time you have available to invest, how comfortable you are with risk and other personal factors. If you need advice on how to save for retirement or another goal, consult a financial planning professional. 


Read full post

Most people who purchase a house take out a mortgage, but some can pay the entire cost upfront and buy a property outright. If you have the funds available to pay cash for a new home, that can give you some distinct advantages, but it’s also important to consider the risks.

Benefits of Paying Cash for a House
If you can afford to pay cash, you can avoid all of the hassles and costs associated with getting a mortgage. You won’t have to shop around for the best rates, submit applications or wait for approval. You won’t have to pay fees associated with a mortgage at the time of closing, and you can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest. 

Being able to pay in cash can make your offer more appealing to a seller. Sometimes two parties agree on a purchase price, but the deal falls through because the buyer can’t get financing. If a seller gets multiple offers, you can pay in cash and others can’t, the seller will be more likely to accept your bid. Even if another buyer offers more money, the seller may accept a lower price from you if you can pay in cash and the other buyer can’t. 

Owning a house outright can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about the monthly cost of a mortgage and will have room in your budget to focus on other priorities.

Downsides of Buying a House With Cash
You may have additional financial goals, such as investing for retirement and your kids’ college education. If you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash for a house, you won’t be able to put those funds toward your other long-term priorities. 

If you itemize your tax deductions and you have a mortgage, you will be able to deduct interest. That may significantly reduce your tax liability. That won’t be an option if you pay cash for a house and don’t take out a mortgage.  

Buying a house with cash can leave you with little money in savings. If you lose your job, the house needs major repairs or you face some other type of financial emergency, you may struggle to make ends meet. 

If you buy a house with cash, a large sum of money will be tied up in a single investment. If you fall on hard times and need to sell your home, you may not be able to find a buyer quickly or you may have to accept less than you paid for the property. 

Weigh the Pros and Cons
Everyone’s situation is different. Think about how much money you have to work with, how much you have already saved for retirement and other long-term goals, and how comfortable you would be having a large sum of money tied up in a house. If you need additional advice, consult a financial professional.

Read full post

When you’re planning to put your home on the market, you have to look at it through the eyes of potential buyers. Things that don’t bother you, or things that used to bother you, but you got used to, can be immediate turn offs for buyers. Replacing light fixtures can make your house more appealing.


Replace Fixtures That are Broken or Outdated
Buyers will notice light fixtures that don’t work and may come away with a negative impression of your house as a whole. A broken light fixture can be more than an inconvenience; in some cases, it can be a symptom of a serious electrical problem. Buyers may wonder if the house has other maintenance issues that were overlooked.

Sometimes light fixtures work fine, but they’re relics of a bygone era. Lighting that was stylish when it was installed may now make your house look dated. If that’s the case, replacing those fixtures with more modern or timeless ones can make your home more attractive to prospective buyers. 


Think About Energy Efficiency
Buyers aren’t just interested in a house’s purchase price. They’re also thinking about how much utilities and other expenses will cost them each month. If your house has light fixtures that aren’t energy efficient, replace them with new, more efficient lighting that will save the future owners money on their electricity bills. 


Consider Increasing the Amount of Interior Lighting
Go through each room in your house, see how bright it is when all of the lights are on, and look for any areas that need additional lighting. It may be a good idea to add lighting in areas where you prepare food in the kitchen, in the bathroom above the sink, in closets or in places where people read, work and play. 


Evaluate the Exterior Lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, preventing accidents should be a top priority. Medical bills can be expensive. If a guest gets injured on the property, the homeowner may have to file an insurance claim and pay a deductible, as well as higher premiums later on. 


The walkway leading to the front door should be well lit so that family members and visitors don’t trip and fall. Other outdoor areas, such as the driveway and patio, should have adequate lighting.

Look at your current outdoor lighting with security in mind. There should be enough lighting to deter burglars. If you don’t already have motion-activated lights, consider installing some so that the future owner will know if anyone approaches the house at night. 


Ask Your Real Estate Agent for Advice
You may not be sure if you should replace specific light fixtures or add more lighting to a particular area. Your real estate agent understands what buyers are looking for and has seen many other houses in your area that are currently on the market. Your agent can advise you on whether you should install new light fixtures and may recommend specific styles or features.  

Read full post
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.