Friday, February 27, 2009

The 5 Top Things I Can Do to Improve My House

Well, this one is easy for me. Mostly because we do this type of work day to day, we know what impact these five things can have on your home. Today, we will keep it to simple, easy things you can do. We will deal with the bigger items on another day.

1. Paint.

Ok, now I have to ask - How long have you been in your home and when was the last time it was painted? More than 3-5 years ago? Well, that's too long. I have an active family - two little boys, a messy dog, two cats and then there is my husband and I. My boys are the ones that will go out in the yard, with the dog - find the only mud puddle in the back of the yard - jump, stomp and then come into the house to tell me about it...bringing the dog and mud with them. Since we have moved into our home, we have almost painted every room. The main areas which we painted first, only 2-3 years ago already need a new coat. The fact is that paint is the foundation of the your home, so you need to maintain it. That means walls, trim and CEILINGS! Most people paint their homes the basic ceiling white. Oh my, there are so many whites out there. Benjamin Moore Paints ( has an entire section devoted to them. Two of my favorites are Lemon Chiffon (OC-109) and Spanish White (OC-35). While they won't work with every wall color, it is amazing the effect that they have.

2. Window Coverings.

There are so many ways to dress your windows, the combinations can be mind boggling. Simply put - there is an inside mount treatment. This tends to be a shutter, wood blind, woven wood or soft shade product. They all have thier purpose with decoration. The choice will center on your style; traditional, transistional or contemporary, and your privacy needs. They all have thier place. Then there is the outside mount treatment. Ok, if you have painted, but not done your curtains or drapes... guess what is next? Really, this is the difference between living in an apartment and living in a home. Look at these before and after pictures.

3. Change every, single light bulb in your house.

Especially if they are more than six months old. We all probably by our light bulbs (technically lamps) the same way - How long are they going to last and by how efficient they are. While there have been some tremendouse improvements in lighting efficiency, you will still experience dimming. Most bulbs dim over time, and at different rates; causing the overall light brightness to go down. Can't do every bulb in the house at once? Then go room by room.
4. Change the View.

Most of us hang pictures and then feel committed to the placment of the art or mirror. There is no reason that we can't switch out like sized arts and mirror to give the room a fresh take.

5. Clean the clutter.

When we do consultations with our clients, I am amazed how often I hear. "Well, I really don't like that piece, but...." So here is some freedom. If you don't like it - don't keep it. Or if you simply must keep it, put it away. We give importance to the accessories in our homes by giving it precious space. Keeping items out that you don't like, is like filling you home with people you can't stand. Why waste the space?

Another common occurance is collections. Many people feel compelled to display their collections, both personal and inherited. Put some organization to the collection and edit. Show only the most fabulous pieces, or the ones that mean the most to you. Try not to show everypiece, it is confusing to the eye and doesn't give the viewer something to focus on. This is a great example from Traditional Home Magazine.

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