The 9 Hottest Interior Design and Decor Trends You’ll See in 2018

When it comes to home design and decor, we’ll be the first to tell you to stick with what you love, no matter what the pros say. But if you can’t escape that sinking feeling each time you walk through your front door that your decor is looking a little tired, well, don’t despair. We’ve got you covered! From splashy color palettes to bright yellow sofas and mixed metal everything, our stable of designers and tastemakers have given us the ultimate insiders’ scoop on what’ll be hot in 2018.

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Online Resources for Caring for Your Home

The internet offers so many resources, it’s hard to know where to begin: endless images for inspiration and even step-by-step how-to videos to walk you through projects. Here are our favorite places to get started.

For cleaning advice:

The experts here have been helping people clean up their acts in one form or another since 1885, so you can be sure they know their stuff. The site features everything from recipes for DIY household cleaners to answers to age-old questions like: Does microwaving your kitchen sponge kill the germs on it?

While this site’s main focus is matching homeowners with professional service providers, it offers a handy library of articles about cleaning, including not-so-stainless stainless steel appliances and hard-to-reach windows.

For decorating advice:

With a highly searchable index of over 11 million photos of professionally designed homes, this site provides inspiration and nuts-and-bolts practical design advice. Want to know how a dark-colored hardwood floor will look with stainless steel appliances? Search and browse tons of examples.

Whether you live in a house or a high rise, you’ll find nifty décor tips and inspiration to make your home more beautiful and livable. If you’re having trouble envisioning how things will look in your space, choose from a variety of free virtual room-planning apps to help you design room layouts, choose appropriate furniture sizes and even see what different paint shades will look like on your walls.

For landscaping advice:

A resource from Garden Design magazine, this site offers instruction on landscape design principles in addition to inspirational pics and solutions, so you can begin developing an understanding of outdoor aesthetics before you start buying and digging.

For maintenance advice:

Here you’ll find a massive wealth of information about how to fix, renovate and maintain nearly everything home-related along with tons of videos (of course) that show you how it’s done.

The Family Handyman experts have been helping homeowners DIY since before the Property Brothers were born. Their website offers practical advice and step-by-step instructions and videos to help you do everything from fix a running toilet to install a dimmer switch.

3 Design Tips to Enhance a Home’s Good Vibes

A space can have an instant effect on your mood. How can you make sure a home gives off positive energy and style? A recent article at The New York Times shares tips from designers on creating a home that supports a person’s well-being. Some of these tips could also apply to creating a more welcoming vibe in the staging of properties.

Embrace the two-foot rule.

Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, abides by a rule that passageways within the home be at least 24 inches between furnishings. “Even in small spaces, if you can leave two feet for these passageways, you tend not to bonk as much and get as cluttered,” she told The New York Times.

Let more light flow in.

“If I had to pick one tool that makes a home feel good, I would pick natural light,” Blakeney says. “Having a big window where there was none is a huge game changer. I would choose that over the sofa of my dreams.” Mirrors can also help add in more light by strategically reflecting whatever natural light the space does have.

Add in more plants.

“Anyone who spends a day hiking in the forest can attest that being in nature is good for the soul,” Blakeney says. “Why not bring that feeling home?” She has 52 houseplants in her 1,100-square-foot home. The plants range from small succulents to large palms in every room. “Living energy in your home is positive energy,” she said. “It’s people, pets, and plants that make a home.”

Source: “Designing a Feel-Good Home,” The New York Times (Jan. 23, 2018)

4 Feng Shui Staging Tips

The Chinese system of Feng Shui is believed to bring people into harmony with their environment. The practice uses design to manage the way chi, or energy, flows through a building. Could feng shui help you, your guests and potential buyers enjoy your home even more? Here are a few general tips:

  1. Energize your entry

Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a color that contrasts with your siding. This helps invite energy (as well as guests and prospective buyers) into your home. Add a potted plant on each side of the front door. The living plants attract energy. Plants with rounded leaves are more welcoming than plants with sharp, spikey leaves, which can give off a more aggressive impression.

  1. Create a “room of first impression”

Draw everyone to the most attractive room in the home by arranging the directional flow of furniture toward it. Or hang a bright piece of art in the room where it can be seen, like a beacon, from other parts of the home.

  1. Produce positive energy

Clear your kitchen counters of clutter and set out a bowl of fresh fruit. Food, especially round produce, symbolizes wealth and prosperity.

  1. Lids down

Martha Stewart would surely tell to you to close the lid on your toilet. Feng shui advocates the same, but for a different reason. The philosophy holds that water, energy and good fortune can swirl right down the drain.

Considering a new home, or know of someone who is? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

5 Holiday Recycling Tips

After the holidays, your home can look a bit hung over, with piles of wrapping paper and fallen tinsel trailing under everyone’s feet. It all feels like a hazy eggnog memory. You may be wondering how you’ll possibly clear out all the trash. Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be trash. Here are five tips for keeping the planet in mind as you clean up this holiday season.

1. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper with glitter and foil is fun, but unfortunately can’t be recycled efficiently. Don’t just toss it in with your everyday recycling. Check with your sanitation department for seasonal recycling guidelines.

2. Christmas Trees
Many communities provide a service that will compost or chip your holiday tree into mulch for free or a low fee. Be sure to remove all tinsel, lights and wires before taking advantage of this opportunity.

3. Cardboard boxes
If you don’t need them to store your new goodies, cardboard boxes can usually be recycled curbside.

4. Ribbon
Ribbon generally can’t be recycled, so save it! Curling ribbon can be “re-curled” for another special occasion by zipping it along a scissor blade.

5. Electronics
You’ve unwrapped this year’s latest gizmo, now what should you do with last year’s model? Many computer companies, like Apple and Dell, will recycle your machines, and box stores such as Best Buy accept phones and all sorts of gadgets for recycling.

If your home still seems too cramped after you complete your holiday recycling and you’re considering a move, contact me; I’ll be happy to help!

13 Tips Before You Leave for the Holidays

Leaving your home during the holidays? Follow these tips to keep it safe and save a few bucks on bills while you’re gone.

1. Put mail on hold
An overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves. Not only is it a sign that no one’s home, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. Go to to have the US Postal Service hold your mail, and also check on your options for holding newspaper delivery.

2. Put lights on a timer
It makes it appear that someone is home. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.

3. Check batteries
Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they function.

4. Remove valuables
Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for several days, thieves have more time to hunt through the house. If you can, place jewelry and important documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.

5. Grab your spare key
Bring inside any keys that are hidden outside. You can give one to a neighbor along with your contact information where you’ll be, just in case there’s an emergency.

7. Unplug
Your electronics will still suck energy while you’re gone. Unplug the biggies, like your TV and computer.

8. Don’t advertise your trip online
At least until you return, when it’s safe to make your Facebook friends jealous with photos from your holiday beach vacation. Don’t post the dates when you’re leaving your house vacant.

9. Switch your water heater to “vacation” mode
It won’t turn off completely, but it will still save energy.

10. Lower your thermostat
Keep it warm enough to prevent the pipes – and the goldfish – from freezing. Your energy company can recommend a temperature that’s appropriate for your climate.

11. Deodorize the sink
To avoid returning to a kitchen disposal that belches up the stench of your pre-vacation dinner, run it with a half-cup of vinegar, or lemon peels and ice cubes, before you leave. To keep things smelling fresh, it’s also a good idea to throw out any food that will go bad while you’re gone and make sure to take out any trash.

12.  Bleach the bowl
Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing.

Searching for a home you’ll hate to leave alone? Or know of someone else who is? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) worked throughout the tax reform process to preserve the existing tax benefits of homeownership and real estate investment, as well to ensure as many real estate professionals as possible would benefit from proposed tax cuts. Many of the changes reflected in the final bill were the result of the engagement of NAR and its members, not only in the last three months, but over several years.

While NAR remains concerned that the overall structure of the final bill diminishes the tax benefits of homeownership and will cause adverse impacts in some markets, the advocacy of NAR members, as well as consumers, helped NAR to gain some important improvements throughout the legislative process. The final legislation will benefit many homeowners, homebuyers, real estate investors, and NAR members as a result.

Read the National Association of Realtors article…