Monthly Archives: December 2016

5 Design Ideas That Will Increase Your Property Value

When it comes to selling your home, everyone knows about the importance of curb appeal. But according to real-estate experts, small updates can be made inside that are less costly and time-consuming than an exterior overhaul but will still increase your odds of fetching a good selling price. We turned to Jennifer Titus, a real-estate agent with Compass who works in the competitive Boston market, for her tips. Some changes take five minutes, some are weekend projects, but all of Titus’s ideas are likely to deliver a high return on your investment by wooing buyers and increasing your property value.

Make a big first impression
There’s no better way for a guest to be greeted than with a statement-making decorative chandelier, says Titus. “It’s eye candy, but it also brightens up a space that tends to be underlit and underdecorated.”

Kick the bathroom vanity to the curb
A great way to refresh a home is to switch out boxy (and often timeworn) vanities with sleek cast-iron white pedestal sinks, says Titus. “The bathroom will feel bigger, fresher, and more modern.”

Refresh kitchen cabinets
“One of the highest returns on value for a small money investment in a home is to paint kitchen cabinets that are either aesthetically dated or have excessive wear and tear,” says Titus. Although she recommends having a pro do it (an amateur paint job can make them look worse), she estimates that painting is still 10 to 20 percent the cost of buying brand-new cabinets.

Swap hardware everywhere
“It can be costly to keep up with design trends, but one solid investment for modernizing a home is to replace hardware,” says Titus. “It’s like a simple T-shirt and jeans looking fabulous because they’ve been paired with fashion-forward shoes.” Swap out doorknobs, handles, and knobs on built-ins and shutter latches; polished nickel or bronze are both on-trend and in demand now, she says.

Paint, paint, and paint
Repainting your home is the best way to freshen up an interior. Play it safe with your color choices, though. “A neutral paint can reflect light and make a room appear larger,” Titus says. “But the wrong color palette can define and weigh down an entire space.”

Types Of Water Filtration For Your Home

Water is vital. We use it to drink, cook and clean with. Of course, we want the best for our families and that’s why having clean water is so important. It impacts the health of all those who enter.

Do you stop to consider where your water comes from? This all differs on where you live, but tap water is treated with chemicals to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants. Some of these chemicals, however, you may not want in your body when you reach for a glass of water. If you’re ready to take control of what’s coming into your house, see a few water purification options for your home.

What’s In Your Water?

While you may be comfortable drinking water directly from the tap, depending on where you live, you could be ingesting harmful materials. You might not be able to taste or see it, but your tap water can contain chemicals, bacteria, debris and more from your municipality. Here are few contaminates you can find in tap water according to the EPA:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Viruses

Water Filtration System Costs

The best way to eliminate unwanted chemicals and contaminants from the water is with a filtration system. This helps rid tap water of impurities and can provide peace of mind that the water you’re drinking is safe. There are many ways to treat tap water at home. The average cost to install a water treatment and purification system is $1,517, with most homeowners spending between $997 and $1,742.

Pitcher & Faucet Filtration Systems

The most common and cheapest option for your home is a pitcher or faucet filtration system. These use charcoal filters to remove contaminants from tap water. The pitcher must be refilled when used while other methods involve asimple faucet attachment. The filters must also be changed regularly.

The drawback to this system is that it does not remove all the chemicals and contaminates from the water. It will reduce the amount of added chlorine and may improve the taste. These tend to be the budget-friendly options for homeowners, with systems costing between $30 and $100 as a first investment, but will require more filter changes and purchases over time.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System

As a more permeant filtration solution, some homeowners opt for a reverse osmosis system. This system includes a tank that is typically situated under the sink. While osmosis is a naturally occurring process, reverse osmosis requires a pump that is used to reverse the effects. Water molecules will pass through the semi-permeable membrane and contaminates stay behind. It can remove up to 99% of salts, bacteria and pollutants in water, however, it also has been known to remove vital minerals water carry that our body needs. Additionally, most systems include various filters to remove other impurities. Often, a reverse osmosis system must be installed by a pro to guarantee it works properly

However, this system is a low maintenance and will result in better tasting water. It’s a great option for those looking to easily improve their water quality.

Carbon Block Water Filters

Another common option is a carbon block water filter, typically sitting near the sink on the countertop. This is a safe and natural way to filter water, retaining all the healthy minerals. This affordable option will also remove any bad tastes from tap water. However, if fluoride is a concern, you should know that it will not remove this from the water. You’ll also have to actively fill up this container, though some models will carry enough for a week’s worth of water, depending on the size of your family.

Entire Home Water Filtration System

After learning about the harmful impurities tap water can contain, you may decide that all the water entering your home should be filtered. This ensures peace of mind as you shower, cook and clean and that it’s only the best water coming into your home. Most water filtration systems are installed directly to the water tank, so no need to worry about bulky top-of-counter systems. While there are many styles available depending on your water purification needs, most offer a multi-filter system. This allows multiple chemicals and bacteria to get caught as the water flows through each chamber.

Unlike the above options, an entire home water filtration system is a costlier investment and must be installed by a pro. However, it has less long-term maintenance outside of routine filter replacements and could improve the value of your home.

Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

Whether you’re a senior looking to sell your house in the near future or are looking for practical updates that will make it more appealing to buyers later on, there are all kinds of ways to increase your home’s value. Some changes can be made quite easily by homeowners themselves, and certain projects will take no more than a weekend to complete. Other updates are better left to a professional, be it due to safety precautions or special training that’s required to do the job. This guide will discuss the best value-boosting modifications to consider for your home so that when the time comes to sell, you’ll get the highest return on your investment.

Keep in mind that every homeowner’s needs will be different, and you may want to ask a real estate agent or local interior designer to evaluate your home. They can offer valuable insight on the areas of your house that would best benefit from an update, as well as when to preserve the integrity of a particular style of home, some modern renovations may detract from a colonial home’s appeal, for instance. Getting personalized advice about how to best add value to your home is never a bad idea!

Kitchen

An updated kitchen is the number one wish list item for young buyers and an excellent place to start when boosting your home’s value. The best part is that your budget doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. Even small changes can make a world of difference in giving an outdated kitchen a facelift. Of course, if you do have a large budget to work with, you may want to consider investing a good amount in your cooking space.

Cabinets

Consider your basic kitchen hardware: cabinet door knobs and drawer handles. If they’re the same as when you moved in, and especially if there’s visible wear and tear, it’s likely time to switch them out for a fresh, modern look. Changing them is simple and often low-cost. This small change can completely transform the look of your cabinets and create cohesion in the space, particularly if you opt to match the hardware to your appliances.

If your cabinets are in need of more than just a minor update, you can still make alterations to update them without breaking the bank. A good scrubbing is a great first step! Sanding out rough or worn spots, new contact paper lining, and a fresh coat of paint are all simple ways to elevate old cabinets. If the cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can remove and refinish the doors and drawers for a brand new look without the overhaul of a total remodel.

Replacing your cabinets completely might end up being the best option for a particularly worn-out kitchen. Most home improvement stores come with entire units you can install yourself, but it does require significant time and skill, after all, you have to rip the old ones out first! Keep in mind, however, that if your home is on its way to market, it’s wise to be conservative with brand new cabinets. New homebuyers will certainly appreciate seeing an updated kitchen, but they still may opt to make their own changes. Shanty cabinets can be a major distraction to would-be buyers and prevent them from seeing the space’s potential, but you shouldn’t devote your entire budget to new cupboards that may ultimately get altered.

Countertops

A kitchen’s countertops can be a major indication of an older, worn-down space, but it can be a costly update to make. Laminate is one of the least expensive material options, but you lose durability, which could be a significant downside for potential buyers. Ceramic tile comes in all colors and sizes and is easy to clean, though you may want to opt for dark-colored grout to conceal stains. Corian is a great, albeit more expensive, alternative, because while it’s stronger and easier to clean, it can come in varieties that look identical to expensive granite or marble countertops. Consider your budget and how long you’ll be in your home before selling it; if you’ll be living there a few more years, go with what will meet your culinary needs best.

If you do opt to install new kitchen countertops, your main focus in choosing a material should be practicality. Keep in mind your area’s climate. For instance, if you’re near the coast, choose a material that holds up well with high humidity and salty sea air. Most buyers will appreciate something that’s easy to clean, and ideally, a surface that’s at least somewhat heat resistant.

Light Fixtures

A kitchen’s lighting can be a dead giveaway for the era in which it was built. Fluorescent soffit lighting in particular screams the 1970s. A large budget will allow you to update however you like, ideally with a balance of natural, ambient, and task lighting. Undercabinet additions can do wonders for a dim kitchen, especially if there’s little to no natural light to work with.

Because the kitchen is one of the most utilized spaces in the house, it’s also worthwhile to consider making it more energy efficient with lighting. Look for ways to maximize the sunlight it receives during the day, and consider adding a single, bright overhead light for nighttime use. Be conservative with your choice in fixtures if your home is headed to the listings page: buyers tend to be turned off by those that are overly ornate. If your budget allows, have different fixtures linked to different switches so lighting can easily be adjusted according to the task at-hand. Perhaps the easiest lighting update to make is to switch to LED bulbs that not only last longer, but actually use significantly less energy than standard bulbs.

Appliances

Updates you make to your kitchen appliances will greatly depend on your budget, and it’s important to consider the investment. If you’ll be living in your house for several more years, it’s probably worth it to spend the money to replace an old refrigerator or stove since you’ll use its replacement. Even anew microwave can make an older kitchen look more modern, so if you’ve been putting off replacing yours, it can be a handy home value-booster; best of all, if it’s not mounted, you’ll get the elevated look and still get to keep the unit once you move out!

If you’re not looking to replace the appliances, simply swapping out the front panel of your stove or dishwasher can elevate the room’s overall appearance. Some dishwashers actually come with two-sided face panels that you can easily switch without professional assistance. If you’re buying a completely new panel, stainless steel tends to be one of the more contemporary options.

If you do opt to replace any of your kitchen appliances, look for those that areEnergy Star certified. This will keep your energy bills lower while you’re still living in the home and can be incredibly attractive to new homebuyers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are often the second most important room to update in the interest of home value. The changes can be as simple as replacing the toilet seat, installing a new faucet, adding modern tap handles, or updating the hardware on cabinets. If the plates on your electrical outlets and light switches are old and dingy, spend a few extra dollars on fashionable new plates for easy accents. If you’re planning ahead, make gradual changes over time so the work will feel a lot less overwhelming. Plus, your wallet won’t face any major blows!

Flooring

No one wants to see a dirty bathroom floor, especially in a home they’re contemplating buying. Replacing it is actually a lot easier these days than it used to be. Many vinyl tile coverings can be fitted directly over existing floor. Half-bathrooms can even be fitted with laminate or hardwood, but for full bathrooms, you’ll want to ensure the material is water-resistant and won’t warp from humidity in the air.

Contemporary Home Decor Ideas

If you were to describe your ideal style, what words would you use? Sleek, simple and bold may imply that you have a more modern taste in home décor. Contemporary home décor is a great foundation for almost any style. By incorporating contemporary accessories, you can give any room in your home a trendy feel.

Many homeowners are scared of the price tag when it comes to modern home décor. However, by choosing the right accessories, colors and finishes, you can have affordable modern home décor. Here are a few tips to help you get the style you want in your home.

For a truly modern style, you may be considering a remodel for a new look.Contact a remodeling pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

What Is Contemporary Style?

Not to be confused with modern décor, contemporary incorporates the look of what’s trendy in unique and interesting ways. It’s often defined by straight and clean lines, geometric shapes and open spaces. Often, the focal points of contemporary style is the unique artworks and accessories in the room. The room color is white or gray, making it a perfect backdrop to highlight fur nature, wall art and other accessories. It also makes it easy for homeowners to refresh their décor as trends change.

This style is great for anyone who likes a clean and open space, as well as someone who is up for the task of staying on trend. This style is ever-changing, so be ready to change out certain features as times change.

Contemporary style might be confusing for some who aren’t sure what’s hot right now. If you love the look, but are uncertain about what to purchase, an interior decorator can help. The average cost to hire an interior decorator or designer is $4,776, depending on how many rooms you’ll be redecorating.

Black & White

A staple of any contemporary look is the use of black and white. This allows the homeowner to rotate out decorative elements when they become less trendy for something more in style. Most contemporary rooms are painted in a flat white. Lately in contemporary trends, light gray as a neutral has been making a comeback, also allowing for accessories to pop.

Furniture such as couches, coffee tables, bed frames and bookcases are often black to showcase the other decorative elements. When it comes time to sell your home, black and white is a timeless color combination that buyers will love.

Pops Of Color

Now that you’ve created the perfect canvas, it’s time to decorate with color! Contemporary styles typically incorporate bold and bright colored accessoriesinto a space, without overdoing it. Living rooms and bedrooms are often where many start incorporating this style, because throw pillows are one of the best ways to utilize colors without being permanent. Consider a bright colored rug or window treatment that will pop. Plants are also a great way to incorporate a pop of green, naturally.

In a contemporary kitchen or bathroom, choose items that can stand out but are also functional, such as a tea pot or soap dispenser. Kitchen and bathroom rugs can easily be changed and updated as trends change, making it easy to incorporate the contemporary style.

Choose Your Finish

Regardless of the room, contemporary style will likely incorporate some pieces that need a finish. Chrome and stainless steel is the way to go when creating this look in your home. Table lamps, faucets and other appliances should have a uniform look with whatever you choose.

Recently, bronze and gold have been making appearances in certain accessories and features throughout the home. Try to utilize these where possible in the kitchen and bathroom.

Light Fixtures

For a contemporary room, your light fixture is more than just a utility. The chandelier, floor lamps and other fixtures are pieces that bring the room together and enhance the style. Consider incorporating a statement chandelier that is unique to your space, with straight lines or geometric shapes. Or, try an interesting table lamp that is a subtle touch to how you’ve styled the room.

Wall Art Décor

No contemporary room is complete without wall art. From photo gallery walls to intricate metal pieces, wall art can feature some of your favorite items. Geometric shelving is one way to not only decorate your wall, but display knickknacks you love in a unique way. Even better, you don’t have to break your budget to incorporate contemporary designed wall art in the home. There are many DIY options that can fit your budget and your style. Add a colorful feature to your wall with DIY tutorial on yarn art from Oleander & Palm.

Minimal Clutter

The perfect contemporary look starts with minimal clutter. Get rid of any unnecessary items that don’t need to be in that room. This can be a challenge for some kitchens and bathrooms, but proper storage can help. If you’re completely transforming your style, you might want to contact a pro who can help. The average cost to hire a cleaner or maid service is $157, with most homeowners spending between $122 and $167.

Consider Materials

Contemporary décor can sometimes have an industrial look due to the variety of materials it incorporated. Unlike other décor themes, items like coffee tables or wall art can be made from metal, wood, glass and acrylic that work together to create a unique feature for the contemporary space. A popular feature in many contemporary living rooms is a clear glass rectangular coffee table, that is sure to impress all. In the kitchens, contemporary design is defying traditional thought by mixing marble countertops with dark wood features. Keep an eye out for these decorative elements to include in your home.