One of the most iconic parts of the holiday season is the décor. People decorate, inside and out, to give their home the perfect look for the season. By decorating for the holidays, the look of a home can match the magical feeling this time of the year brings. The spirit of the season flows through the home, as each decoration is placed. Turning homes into a winter wonderland will help everyone get into the holiday spirit and truly enjoy this time of year.
Choose a Décor Style
When it comes to the main décor style, there are two categories that each style falls into. Most homes are decorated either in a traditional fashion or a contemporary one. Both styles can be done beautifully, and the choice ultimately depends on the decorator. The styles can also be tastefully mixed. Mixing the traditional and contemporary style can result in a unique, beautiful home.
When picturing traditional décor, most people think of the traditional holiday colors. These are red and green for Christmas, and blue and white or silver for Hanukkah. Even secular décor tends to borrow from these traditional colors. Traditional décor may include neatly wrapped presents, big bows, natural wreaths, and winter-themed figures. Decorating in a traditional style is a tried and true classic.
With contemporary décor, there are no set rules for which colors or pieces are used. Contemporary décor may borrow from the traditional style, but put a twist on the decorations with bright, bold colors or patterns. The contemporary style can be a fun way to switch up the mood for the holiday season.Set a Focal Point
Though holiday decorations may span the entire home, there should be a focal point in each room. A focal point is an area or object that the eye is automatically drawn to. Focal points should tie into the overall theme of the room, but stand out enough to attract attention. For more traditional décor, a focal point may be the Christmas tree, Menorah setting, a Nativity scene, or a fireplace. Though these may be the most common focal points, anything can be used to draw the onlooker’s eye and tie the room together. Decorators should pick their favorite piece in the room and center the decorations around it.
A few common focal points include:
- Stacks of presents
- Religious holiday décor
- Accent wall with holiday decorations
- Christmas trees
- Large wreaths or topiaries
Expand the Color Palette
Many people get stuck in a certain color palette when decorating for the holidays. The red, green, light blue, and metallic decorations that often line store shelves can leave something to be desired. Instead of trying to use the same colors as everyone else, decorators can tie in other, unexpected, colors. By painting a few pieces of décor bright pink, neon green, or any other color, the whole look of a room can be transformed. It is also a great idea to pull in an unexpected pattern, and use it for a few small pieces.
For a unique look, try the following color schemes for holiday décor:
- Deep red and beige
- Hot pink and bright green
- Purple and silver
- Light blue and gold
- Black and bright red
Bring the Outside In
Taking the beauty of the outdoors and bring it inside is a great way to make a home stand out. Using natural elements, like snow, live pine, poinsettias, pinecones, and berries, will make every room feel like a winter wonderland. Things like string lights and lawn decorations can also be brought inside, to make the space feel more cheery and festive. Having elements of the outdoors inside of the home can also give the entire space a more cohesive feel. This is especially true in homes with large, picturesque windows.
Some things to avoid when using outdoor items indoors are:
- Untreated wood that may have termites or other bugs
- Plants that are poisonous to pets, such as poinsettias, Jerusalem cherry, and mistletoe
- Motorized lawn ornaments indoors, because the noise from the motor may be loud once inside
- Large decorations that may overwhelm the room
- Many different fragrant plants and berries, because the smells may be unpleasant when mixed
Use Everyday Items
Using items that are already on hand can be a unique, and money-saving, way to decorate for the holidays. For example, families that enjoy winter sports may have a lot of skis and skiing equipment, ice skates, or sleds lying around. These items can be staged inside and outside of a home, to create a ski-lodge-inspired décor. Collections of other things, like figurines, stuffed animals, or anything that is near and dear, can help to reflect the decorator’s personal interests throughout the home.
Some everyday items that can be used for holiday décor include:
- Dolls or stuffed animals
- Small figurine collections
- Hardcover book displays
- Sports memorabilia
- Antique tools or signs
Increase the Ambiance
The lighting in a room can completely change the way the decorations are seen. The decorator must decide if the space should have mood lighting, or be bright and cheery. For areas that should have lower light, relying on fireplaces, small lamps, and even string lights, is a great way to make the ambiance flawless. For brighter spaces, natural lighting and the use of mirrors or metallic objects can make the space feel perfectly lit.
The right ambiance in a room can:
- Set a cozy, casual mood
- Bring attention to the décor
- Give the home a cohesive look
- Increase appetite and the enjoyment of food
Don’t Forget to Decorate Outside
Décor shouldn’t stop at the threshold of the door. Having a few decorations outside, even if it’s just a string of lights or a few lawn ornaments, can give the entire home a more cohesive look. For a budget decoration item, try building a snowman in a visible part of the yard, and don’t forget the carrot nose!
Some common outdoor décor includes:
- String lighting
- Light projectors
- Sleds and other outdoor equipment
- Lawn ornaments
Use Food as Décor
When hosting a dinner party, many people fret over the décor on the table. They often overlook the fact that the food they serve can do double duty as the perfect décor. By placing appetizers and desserts on elevated or tiered settings, they can serve as décor for the room. Also, the main course of the dinner can be placed on a beautiful serving dish in the center of the table to create the perfect centerpiece.
Some ways to present food in a decorative way are:
- Use cookie or appetizer trees
- Elevate plates to different levels on a table
- Make pie crusts and cookies look more festive with seasonal cut outs or confections
- Place holiday candy on dessert trays
- Use holiday spices, such as anise and cinnamon sticks, as garnishes
Sweat the Small Stuff
When decorating, it’s important to mind every detail in the home. Often, the bathroom, hallway, and other small areas, are overlooked while decorating. As a rule, every common area should have at least a few pieces of holiday décor. In a hallway, wrap existing picture frames in holiday paper and hang them back up. In the bathroom, a holiday-themed hand towel and a holiday candle can transform the entire space.
Some commonly overlooked details include:
- Tissue boxes
- Kitchen and hand towels
- Hand soaps
- Welcome mats
Set a Festive Table
When serving dinner, though the food can be décor on its own, it’s a good idea to have a few small décor pieces present. Pieces should be small and short, so they do not get in the way of serving or conversation. Scattering pine cones, garland, or berries along the table can make a great impact. Also, individual place settings with an ornament or another holiday item will give the table a great look.
Common table setting mistakes are:
- Centerpieces too large
- Glitter or other small particles near food
- Overly-fragrant flowers on table setting
- Candles on the table may be a fire hazard
Enjoy the Holiday Season in Style
By decorating a home for the holidays, the homeowner is creating a beautiful, inviting space for themselves and all who visit. They can either stick to the traditional style, or make exciting choices to represent their own interests. Either way, the season will feel more magical and exciting when surrounded by beautiful décor.
Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you’ve added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it’s important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.
Remodeling or Renovation Work
Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.
Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline
Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they’re labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there’s ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.
Acquiring New Valuables
Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.
Starting a Home Business
Many home-based business owners don’t realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.
You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.
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Do you have a list of changes you’d like to make to your home this year? Completing cosmetic updates is easiest when the weather’s in your favor. In honor of May’s National Home Improvement Month, here are four upgrades ranging from curb appeal projects to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.
- Replacing doors and windows: Homeowners are often encouraged to consider projects that boost overall curb appeal. Swapping out a wooden front door for a steel model or replacing front-facing windows can pack more of an ROI punch than renovations made inside the home.
- Constructing a deck: Create a beautiful transition from your back door to the outdoors by building a deck. The update turns into a major selling point that can recoup your initial investment when it’s time to move on.
- Adding insulation: Of all the projects listed in Remodeling magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is the only one with returns that exceed 100 percent of the cost. It can also help reduce year-round heating and cooling costs.
- Building a second-story addition: Even with a slight increase in construction costs, completing a significant two-story addition resulted in a substantial year-over-year increase in value from 2016 to 2017. Adding the extra space will likely catch the attention of buyers.
Home renovations and repairs are on the rise and expected to peak this year. Now’s the time to start planning your investment-savvy home improvements.
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The real estate market has a way to speeding up and slowing down, and when the market gets speedy, homebuyers can have trouble buying a home they’re interested in before someone else snags it. We want to help! Here are some tips to help you when the market is fast paced.
Photo Credit: AKZOphoto on flickr
Know The Market
Download apps that will alert you the moment a home hits the market. Most reality websites and apps will have an option for this, USE IT. It was put there for a reason. Email alerts, app alerts, anyway to be sure that you are notified within minutes of a new home becoming available.
Find An Aggressive/Quick Agent
In a fast paced market, you want an agent on your side and who puts in the work. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money on someone who will do their job right! Make sure they not only are quick with the market, but can simplify it all for you as well. Seems like a tall order, but really if you are paying, you order it!
In a market that is fast, you have to be prepared to make an aggressive offer on a home you are interested in. In a market like this, there is no time to be picky, because before you know it, that home will be under contract with someone else.
Hopefully these tips help you with your home purchase!
From backyard and rooftop gardens to community plots in parks and vacant lots, urban agriculture has become a nationwide movement, and more homeowners have taken an interest in producing their own food. For many urban homesteaders, it stems from a desire to know where their food comes from and live more sustainability.
Are you interested in participating? These three small-scale projects are great places to start.
Raising Backyard Chickens
Chickens provide a relatively inexpensive, low-maintenance way to feed your family, plus they act as complimentary fertilizer and chemical-free pest control. Before you buy baby chicks, make sure you research and follow local laws, city ordinances and homeowner association rules.
Taking Up Beekeeping
In the 1940s, America had five million beehives, and today, roughly half of those remain. A growing awareness of this drastic decline has led to an increase in urban beekeeping, to the tune of approximately 120,000 backyard beekeepers.
Becoming a beekeeper starts with a lot of research, followed by choosing the right equipment and bees. Don’t want to care for an entire colony? Plant native flower and weed varieties that help encourage bee pollination and reproduction.
Gardening and Canning
Whether it’s a large plot or a small section, a personal garden gives you control. Plus, you can preserve fresh fruits and vegetables via the canning process. While many homesteaders use yields from their garden, others buy extra produce in its peak season. Canning veggies and fruits is a family-friendly activity that lets you enjoy seasonal produce all year long.
Though urban homesteading may seem intimidating at first, it’s easier to start small. The projects above can help minimize your impact on the environment and allow you to take part in your own food production.
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