There’s a big design trend in homes these days to use more neutral tones for certain rooms; a lot of whites, off-whites, and beiges to create a more ‘subdued’ look.
It’s a look that goes great in a lot of rooms, but if you’re the sort that fancies yourself an interior designer you might notice that it can be a little hard to decorate with sometimes. The neutral colors can find themselves oddly contrasting with anything you try to decorate with, and it can make it more difficult than you expect to arrange things in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.
We think we have just the thing: wood shelves! Wooden wall shelves are a good, neutral way to add more ‘rustic’ looks to a room and add storage space without worrying about contrasting colors or mismatched tones. The possibilities are nearly endless, but here’s a few ideas we’ve seen and liked:
- Mirror storage: A good way to open up any room, especially one with solid lighter colors, is with strategic placement of small mirrors to make the space feel bigger. Use wood shelves (or other wall shelves) to hold mirrors and expand a space.
- Coordination: For more neutral-colored rooms, an easy solution is to use earthy tones splashed about the room to provide greater contrast. Pair wood shelves with darker, wood-colored dining room furniture or living room furniture to get a more cohesive look.
- Bathroom spas: For master bathrooms (which are generally white or lighter in color anyway), wood shelves are a great way to create a more relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. Use them to keep things like bath salts, lotions, and anything else you need to relax.
- Office nook: Unless you have a dedicated office in your home, converting an unused corner in another room into an office can be a good way to maximize space but it can feel ‘forced’. Wood shelves can help complement your home office desk and maximize your space without the bulk of bookcases or other big shelving installations.
- Room to sit: If you have larger bay windows or an unused corner in a larger living room, wood shelves are the perfect complement to a couch. Set up a couch or loveseat in front of the window and place wood shelves around it - if the couch matches the white room, wood shelves will help add a pop of color and give you somewhere to keep your books.
Have you used shelves to decorate a primarily white or neutral-colored room in your house? Drop a comment below and tell us how it went!
Much like Uber and Lyft encouraging us to share our cars (and our rides), AirBnB has become an increasingly popular way for people to make money by renting out a space they’re not using to travelers and other guests, often at better rats (and higher quality) than a nearby hotel stay.
Maybe you have a spare bedroom because the kids are at college, or you finally renovated that guest room nobody ever used, and you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money. Using a room as an AirBnB is a great way...but where do you start with getting it ready for your guests? We’re glad you asked:
- Fix any obvious hazards: Both inside the room you’re renting and any space that will be visible to your guests (entryways, hallways, bathrooms, etc), make sure to repair any visible, obvious damage that could prove harmful. Exposed wiring, loose steps, leaky pipes, and the like.
- Safeguard valuables: If the room you’re renting is inside your home (as opposed to a vacation space or apartment you’re not currently using), try to keep your valuables and personal possessions safe. Odds are your guests are just going to be some nice twenty somethings on vacation, but it’s better safe than sorry—keep expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, and similar items in a locked safe in an area of the house they can’t access (or in a safe deposit box in a pinch).
- Declutter for company: Think about your AirBnB customers the way you’d think of a houseguest: you’re going to want to tidy up a little bit first—especially in the room they’ll be staying in, but it’s good to keep in mind for all areas of the house they’ll see during their stay. Try to remember to dust, clear off tables, toss out old magazines, and the like. Again, a good rule of thumb is to pretend that you’re getting ready for company to come over, except they’re paying you to be there.
- Provide for your guests: Ask yourself: what would you like to see in a hotel when you get there? Now, imagine that hotel is a room in someone’s home—what’s changed? Try to provide the creature comforts you’d expect from staying in what is essentially a guest bedroom, such as bedroom dressers, nightstands, and the like. This sort of thinking could extend to the rest of the house depending on how much room you’re renting out; a little extra living room furniture and bathroom shelving could go a long way towards keeping your guests happy (and willing to drop those 5-star reviews).
- Safety first: Not unlike leaving your kids alone for the night with a list of emergency numbers, try to make sure your guests can reach you if needed. Leave your contact information in the event of an emergency like lost keys, mark everything with your address and phone number, and make sure things like smoke detectors are up and running.
- Leave a little extra: If your AirBnB setup is big enough to include a bathroom and kitchen, try to drop some amenities where you can. Soap, toothpaste, hand lotion, condiments in the fridge, and so on—they’ll remember it for next time.
Have you started renting out part of your home as an AirBnB lately? Leave your tips below!
Whether you’re trying to keep the heat out or in, no matter what time of year it is, it can feel like utility bills are a constant struggle.
The heater runs up the gas bill, the air conditioning runs up the electric bill, and either way it can get difficult to manage that balance between keeping your utility costs down and having a home that’s a temperature comfortable for everyone.
Sure, you can ask anyone for solutions to this issue, and you’ll get a variety of responses—thicker insulation, installing a new heater, and so on. And as well-intentioned as that advice might be, it’s not always viable due to finances, schedules, and other life concerns.
So what are you to do? Luckily, with a little imagination and some patience, there’s ways to cut down on utility spending with simple reorganization and renovations that are far cheaper, and it’s never too late in the season to give them a try:
Keep heat-generating devices away from the thermostat: Thermostats work by detecting the heat nearest to them and turning the heat or AC up until the desired temperature is reached. What a lot of people don’t know is that the thermostat can be easily influenced by heat-generating objects near it, like TVs and lamps. If you have any floor lamps or TV stands near a thermostat, try to renovate your living room/bedroom/etc a little bit to make sure these electronic devices aren’t accidentally causing your thermostat to go into overdrive.
Remember your window shades: Now’s a great time to show off those curtains and blinds. Well-placed window dressings can help reduce the temperature in your home during the warmer months (and prevent cold air from coming in when it cools down) and stop the thermostat from pumping out too much air.
Don’t clog the vents: A big part of thermostat overuse comes in when the vents are prevented from distributing air properly through the room, resulting in too much adjusting of the current temperature and forcing your bills to climb up. Don’t let things like couches, bedroom dressers, or other bulky furniture take up too much room around your vents—try to swap out these installations for something more open like wire shelving or any kind of open-backed cabinet to let the air flow freely. This goes for other tables in the room as well; if you can swap out your bigger tables for things like wall shelves to hold onto everything, you can help the air move around more easily.
Cook lightly: There’s a big reason grilling outdoors is a popular solution for dinnertime in the summer, and it’s not just because charcoal makes everything taste better. Overuse of ovens can actually cause excess heat in the kitchen, which (as you can guess) your thermostat will interpret as excess hot air and try to work harder to overcompensate. Use the microwave or the toaster oven when you can.
Turn off and unplug everything you can: It’s a lesson you heard from your parents growing up too, but not leaving lights on when you don’t need them is a great way to cut back on both utility bills and errant heat production throughout the house. If you’re really looking to save, remember to unplug everything too—‘phantom power’ can cause devices like cell phones and computers to keep drawing power when they don’t need to. Turn off desktop computers when not in use, don’t leave things like tablets and phones plugged in longer than they need to be, and make sure everyone is being smart about lightbulbs.
Have you done anything in your home to help reduce utility usage? Leave a comment below!
Whether you’re looking to rent out your entire home while away on vacation, have an extra property nobody’s permanently living in yet, or just have a room to rent out for a little added cash, getting your home ready for rent can be a bit of a process.
Don’t despair just yet! There’s plenty of easy ways to declutter your home and get it ready for rental no matter how big or how long you’ll be renting it out—it just takes a little motivation, imagination, and the right organizational supplies. Read on for a few tips on preparing your home for rental and figure out how to get everything clean for your new guests!
Protect your damage-prone items: We all have a few things in our house that we have to be a little more...careful with. That coffee table where the glass falls out if you bump it, that stain-prone carpeting, the couch with one foot missing that squeaks a little if you sit on it too hard—you know what we’re talking about. Budget allowing, replace some of these items with newer living room furniture to better entice renters (and prevent further damage!) And for everything else, just make sure everyone is as careful as possible. Let your renters know about the door that sticks or to use a tablecloth to prevent further scratches on your mom’s old dining room table.
Repair major damage as able: Of course, some things are too big to throw a tablecloth over, and these issues should be patched up as fast as possible before your renters settle in (or before you even put the house on the market, ideally). Take a look around for big structural issues like leaky roofs, musty basements, broken doors/cabinets/etc, and get those repaired before you welcome your new guests, or before they move in at all.
Declutter what isn’t needed: There’s going to be something of a balancing act to strike when it comes to decluttering your home for renters. Some things may be better left for them—excess plates and dishes, that stack of bath towels you never use—but some items could get tossed out no matter who’s renting from you. Ditch things like stacks of old magazines, dead batteries, ancient phone chargers (you know, what you could be decluttering anyway) to both free up space and make your home a little more appealing to potential renters.
Work on curb appeal—but not too hard: Speaking of, a good tip for renters is to try and make your home seem aesthetically pleasing and comfortable from the first glance, like a mowed lawn and trimmed hedges. That being said, try to avoid making it look like it’ll be a pain to upkeep. Not every renter is going to want to take over your gardening duties, and having an overly-complicated front yard could be a turn-off for some potential tenants. Stick with the easy stuff like a neat and tidy yard, leave out some entryway furniture to make it look more welcoming, and maybe skip the rhododendrons until the rental period is over.
Leave behind some creature comforts: As opposed to an apartment, a lot of renters move into a home expecting it to be at least partially furnished if not fully. Even above and beyond the big obvious fixtures like beds and couches, make sure to provide things like coffee tables, nightstands, and the like so they’re not forced to bring in a bunch of their own furniture (especially for shorter-term rental periods, such as vacation homes). Things like closet storage and wire shelves for the basement are always welcome in rental properties to help them organize whatever it is they’re bringing with them.
Don’t leave anything too personal: Finally, it’s a tip that might sound obvious but is worth mentioning—don’t leave anything too personal behind in your home while you rent. This can run the gamut from a number of things, but it’s important to ask yourself: is this too valuable for me to leave here (ie expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, etc), not something you want leaving unsupervised (medical records, sensitive documents), or just plain old too personal (pictures of you on vacation)? These are all good candidates for taking with you or moving. Get a safety deposit box for your valuables and needed documents, or take them with you if possible, and clean the wall shelves of those pictures of your last family trip to Myrtle Beach. The memories might be important to you, but the person renting it probably doesn’t care.
Have you recently rented a room (or your entire home) and have some decluttering tips? Leave a comment below!
You’ve done it! You’ve finally decided to sell your home!
You’ve got a realtor working out the deals, you’ve got listings all over the place, and you and your partner either have your new place picked or are still checking out spots in the new neighborhood. Either way, you’re all excited about the move and ready to go, until something dawns on you:
You really should get this place cleaned up a little before you try to sell it.
We’re not here to judge! We do know, however, that a lot of houses can use a little tidying up before showing them off at an open house, and during all the chaos of a move it can be hard to know where to start decluttering. Scan this checklist below and see what you can do to get a home that anyone would be happy to buy:
- Front Yards: Any real estate pro will tell you that one of the biggest factors in a successful home sale is curb appeal, and that means you should make sure your home looks great on the outside. At your earliest convenience, make sure your front yard is neatly kept and presentable looking, and people will flock to your door.
- Entryways: In a similar vein, the entryway is going to contribute to a potential buyer’s first impression, and making it clean and inviting is going to help a lot. If you have any entryway storage like coat racks or shoe benches, consider leaving them there for the duration of the sale to make your home seem more inviting and show off what can be done with the space—and if the seller seems really interested in them, consider cutting a deal to leave them behind after the sale. (You’ll have plenty of time to get more when you’re done moving!)
- Smaller Storage Areas: Especially these days when space is at a premium, a lot of people are going to prefer houses with smaller storage options all over the house to help organize things like coats, clothes, cleaning supplies, etc. If you have any smaller closets (hall closets, space under the stairs, places like that) make sure to clean off any available wall shelves and storage space to make them look as useful as possible.
- Living Rooms: This is one of the big ones. A lot of people base their home purchases around one or two rooms, and more often than not the living room is high on that list right alongside bedrooms (which we’ll get to later). Unless you’re already far into the moving process, you should consider leaving your living room furniture like end tables and coffee tables where they are so people can see what they do with the space, but try to remove any excess clutter (magazines, books, empty soda cans) to make your house more presentable. You also might want to move out any unused chairs and throw pillows and cut down on the amount of rugs to avoid making the space look too ‘heavy’ and give the illusion that it’s smaller than it actually is—the key is to show people what they can do with the space, not brag about what you did with it.
- Backyards: While the backyard might not make as much of an immediate first impression as the front yard does, you’ll still want to keep it presentable and tidy to show off its size and design potential. Make sure the yard is mowed, try to empty out any available storage sheds, and...well, there’s no polite way to say this, but try to clean up the dog mess.
- Kitchens: Kitchens are a big one for many home buyers, and there’s a lot you can do to make yours more appealing. Take whatever kitchen organization you have around (wall shelves, kitchen carts, etc) and purge it of anything that’s too gross, expired, or near-empty to be of use to free up space and make it look like a more professional kitchen. (Or at least as professional as you can get at home.)
- Hallways: Most hallways in homes aren’t going to be the roomiest, and likely only exist as a small space between rooms. Maximize this by removing any kind of visual clutter from your halls like wall hooks, pictures, dividers, and the like to help the hallway look less cramped.
- Bedrooms: Right up there with kitchens and living rooms, the bedroom is one of the most favored rooms when shopping for a house, and prettying yours up will do wonders. Clean your nightstands free of pictures, extraneous lamps, and excess cables to free up space, try to take down any art you might have hanging up, make sure your dresser drawers are all tucked in, and don’t leave any excess clothes on the floor. (Of course, that’s a pretty good idea in general.)
- Home Office: If your home has more bedrooms than you know what to do with, one of them probably wound up being a home office at some point—and the next buyer is probably going to do exactly the same! Try to purge this room of anything but super relevant office supplies (desks, file cabinets, etc) to show how much space it has and maybe plant some ideas in the heads of potential buyers.
- Kids’ play areas: Finally, if your home has (or had) a room given over to a kid’s play place, keeping it intact could help nudge any potential buyers with a family of their own into making a purchase. Of course, by now you’re already well-versed in how hard it can be to keep these rooms clean, and now might be a good time to try and make one big sweep of it all. Limit the number of toys on display (to better show off the space potential of the room), clean off any bookshelves you might have in there, and don’t let your kids put any new toys in there until the house is sold. That’ll both keep it clean and make it easier to move in the long run.
Have you had any luck selling a house lately and have a tip you want to share? Drop a comment below!