Your home should be a space where you can unwind, be yourself, and find peace. A lot of that has to do with your personal circumstances and style – but there is something to be said for setting up a space intentionally to help promote calm and peacefulness.
I’ll fully admit that that may look different to each person; for example, you could find peace in a minimalistic environment, while you’re friend or even partner feels more comforted with their belongings surrounding them and tidily arranged.
A lot of that, obviously, has to do with personal preference, but regardless of your personal style and home setup, there are steps you can take to promote a relaxing atmosphere by arranging your furniture in a way that encourages qi (energy). But how? Well, start with the basics.
Clear the Clutter
Whether or not you’ve jumped on the KonMari train, there’s still something to be said for understanding that a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. It’s difficult to relax in a space that is cluttered and unorganized. So whether or not you subscribe to the ‘spark joy’ method, you should still take some time and get rid of unnecessary clutter and rid your space of items that are not useful or are just taking up space. Consider it starting with a blank slate.
Consider Light and Air Flow
Feng Shui attributes a lot of energy power to the ability to utilize natural light and clean air flow. Whenever possible, avoid blocking windows and open them if possible to let in fresh air. If that’s not possible, consider incorporating air-purifying plants or even purchasing an air purifier. Avoid blocking your natural light sources with heavy curtains or drapery – allow the external elements to bring energy to your home.
There are 5 natural elements that Feng Shui utilizes to bring good peace and energy into your home. How you utilize them in relation to your space, each other, and even the areas inside your home helps promote particular energies. Being mindful of those relationships can help adjust the energy in your home.
Wood: creative inspiration, motivation, passion
Represented by plants, trees, green objects.
Direction: East and southeast
Fire: energy, passion, expansion, transformation
Represented by candles, or red, orange or yellow objects.
Water: money, career, and release
Represented by water features, aquariums, crystals, artwork, or blue objects.
Metal: brings all energies together, stimulates strength and intellectual abilities.
Represented by white, silver, gray, black and metal objects.
Direction: West and Northwest
Earth: grounding and safety, security and comfort.
Represented by rock features, pottery, thick rugs, old books and muted colors.
Season: End of summer
Direction: center, northeast and southwest.
Be Conscious of Your Energy
Understanding that you have the power to alter the energy in your space can help you alter the way you approach your life and your home. It’s also important to be mindful of the energy that you bring into your home and work to maintain the balance that you’re working towards.
How do YOU utilize feng shui to bring good energies to your life?
Have you ever heard the term FF&A? If you spend anytime in Real Estate or the Interior Design industry, then you probably consider FF&A the cornerstone of a well-designed home.
Obviously, it’s not literally the cornerstone – because, well, that would be the actual cornerstone’s job, but just go with me on this.
FF&A = Furniture, Fixtures & Accessories
Sometimes you’ll even hear FF&E, which stands for Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment. But this generally applies in construction contracts and commercial real estate where the equipment stands more for functional pieces of furniture (think desks + filing cabinets as opposed to sofas and ottomans).
The fun part of buying a new or new-to-you home is being able to style it just right so that it reflects who you are when people walk through that front door. The tricky part is making sure that it’s not only stylish and relevant, but cohesive and quality.
So – where do you start with FF&A in mind? I’ve got a few tips to help you get started bringing some personality and style to your home without overwhelming your senses (or bank account).
Start on Paper
Before you hit the store with your wallet and good intentions, take some time to measure the room and sketch out what you want things to look like. Where would you put a sofa? Is there going to be a focus point – like entertainment center or fire place? What about rugs, curtains and side tables? What shape sofa works best?
Take the time to sketch out your ideal room on paper so you know just what you’re shopping for, and don’t forget to take a measuring tape with you when you finally hit the store!
Take a Look at What You Have
Do any of your existing pieces work? Do you have a sofa or a table you like as-is, or that would be easy to reupholster or refinish? What pieces do you already have that fit the style you’d like to convey without having to start from scratch? Add those into your style plan you’ve already sketched out, and then make sure you create a shopping list with dimensions and armed with images to help match what you have to what you still need to purchase.
Ground the Room with the Big Pieces
Decide whether your big pieces of furniture will serve as statement pieces or subtle background structure to help you give your room dimension. If your sofa is a bold color or patterned, make sure that your rug and accessories don’t outshine or clash – but instead add depth and support the pieces you choose. Use your big pieces to decide what goes where.
Make sure that you know which walls will showcase art and which will be taken up with big Armoires or half-covered by a sofa-table. Use your furniture to help strategically design the space, not just fill it. Use your big pieces as an outline for the supporting pieces.
Choose your Art + Rugs
After your furniture is chosen, measured and placed, move forward with rugs that will help pull things together and artwork that fits perfectly in the space that it’s designed for. This is the time when you can either make or break a design – always ensure you know exactly what size and space you’re shopping for to avoid things looking haphazard.
Be Strategic With Accessories
There’s a difference between a strategic cluster of beautiful vases or candlesticks and a room full of random hodge-podge tschotchkes. The depth of a room can be decided by the accessories. Remember – just because you have a shelf doesn’t mean it has to be full. Pick pieces that have function and interest, that don’t draw from the atmosphere of a room, but instead tie it up neatly.
Questions or tips? We’d love to hear what works for you when designing the perfect room-in-progress (because if you’re a designer, the job is never ending!)
You’ve probably heard that spring is the perfect time to sell your home. Guess what? It’s true. In fact, did you know that there’s actually a spread of two weeks during which homes typically sell the fastest? It’s true. And if you hadn’t guessed it – that time is smack in the middle of spring – and it’s coming up quickly.
Between May 1st and May 15th, homes traditionally fly off the market faster than any other time of the year – it probably has something to do with all that spring motivation we’re all feeling. Time for change, time for growth, time for new. Right?
But before you can get new, you’ve got to get YOUR house ready for that super-important 15 days, so let’s make an action plan.
PREP TO SELL! GETTING YOUR HOME SPRING-MARKET READY
Everything seems just a little cheerier and brighter in the spring – and the best way to take advantage of all those rose-colored lenses people seem to be sporting is to make sure that your home is shiny and ready for it’s would-be buyers. Even if your home doesn’t need a major overhaul, there are a few quick fixes you can make to get it curb-appeal and first-glance prepped without breaking the bank (or your back) in the process.
- Wash your windows. I mean until they sparkle. There’s nothing more distracting than fingerprints or smudges on a window, and clean windows change the whole look of the front of a house. Believe me. So clear the palette and let the sun do it’s part in helping your home look it’s best.
- Take a step back. Like, literally. Walk across the street and look at your house with a critical eye. What stands out? What could be improved? What will new home-buyers see first when they pull up? Start with the basics – rake, mow and hedge. Trim bushes and pull weeds. Pressure wash the exterior and the driveway.
- Fresh paint. Does your front door and shutters look a little faded? Make a huge impact with a fresh coat of paint.
- Update your hardware. Update exterior light fixtures and house numbers.
- Take advantage of the season. Fill pots and planters with bright, colorful blooms and update your front walk and porch. Make an impact with some fresh plantings in strategic places around your yard that will make a big impact when people first lay their eyes on your home.
- Welcome Mat. Seriously. It’s the little details that make the biggest difference.
It may not seem like a lot, but if you put a good weekend worth of work into your home, it will be ready to put it’s best face forward when those two big weeks roll around.
Looking for some other tips? I’d be happy to stop by and help you figure out how to get your home spring-market ready! Give me a call – let’s do this, together.
If you’re anything like me, you’re dying for spring. I think I’m just going to go along like spring is well on it’s way, and maybe it will follow suit. Good plan?
I think so. I think it’s a really good plan.
So with that in mind, let’s go ahead and consider what kind of spring projects should top your list this year.
Whether or not you’re considering putting your home on the market, you should want that first impression to be something that people remember. The easiest way to do that is to add some curb appeal that makes your home stand out among all the neighborhood contenders.
It doesn’t have to be over the top and it doesn’t have to break the bank, but if you’re looking to make a big impact with your home this spring, the best place to start is the first place people see.
I’ve gathered some great getting started ideas for things that have a huge impact (as well as a good ROI) for those with a little bit of spring-project fever like me.
Break up your flower beds and lawn with some low-maintenance and beautiful ground cover – particularly if you’ve got spaces where a natural divide would make it easy to break up your existing landscape.
If you’ve got big areas where grass or flower beds aren’t flourishing, consider separating them, giving them some height, and filling them with ground cover and interesting pots, trees or large flowering bushes.
This is particularly good for hilly areas separated by retaining walls!
Cluster your Planters
Have you heard? Planters aren’t just for the porch anymore. Adding some well placed planters in strategic areas around your yard can have an incredible effect and aid in dividing spaces or giving visual interest. And aside from that, putting several different planters together with different types, heights and colors of plants and flowers gives so much interest to your yard! A few well placed clusters can make an enormous impact in your landscape design.
Make a new pathway to a favorite spot, or even just fancy up your flower beds with some homemade stepping stones. Favorite sayings, children;s handprints, pets paw-prints or even just stamped stones give such variety to your yard without overburdening your garden with too many lawn ornaments or overbearing structures.
If you don’t watch yourself, you can spend hundreds of dollars every year on bringing spring and summer to your yard. If you plan ahead and plant perennials, you won’t be taking all that money for something with a short life span. Plan for perennials, and then once they’re established, split them and transplant at year end – that way you can change up your garden without eating into your budget. Supplement with potted and planted annuals and make each year a new visual masterpiece!
Buying a home is one of the biggest – and most overwhelming – tasks you’ll undertake in your life. And if it’s the first time you’ve walked the path to homeownership, chances are you’re feeling pretty beside yourself with what’s coming next and who’s doing what and just how much it’s all going to cost. Am I right?
That’s okay, though. The smartest thing you can do is get yourself a licensed professional (in the shape of a Realtor® to help walk you through the process), but that doesn’t mean that you yourself should be kept in the dark. After all, it’s your home, your dollars, and your future that are on the line. I’m a big advocate for proper education, even though I’m happy to take the reigns and help my clients through the process. It always helps to get yourself a good understanding of the process from start to finish – so with that in mind, here’s a high-level overview of what a homebuyer can expect, from start to finish.
HomeBuying 101 – for the Smart Consumer
Step 1: Laying the Foundation
Before you can hit the pavement looking for that perfect home, you need to take a good solid look at your personal financial situation. There are a lot of things to consider here: first, how prepared are you to purchase a home? You’ll need to consider your credit – get a copy of your credit score and history and go through it with a fine tooth comb. Make sure to note any discrepencies and get them taken care of ASAP. If you need to, take steps to help improve your score. A good way to do this is to talk to a mortgage professional – they can help you understand where you need to be and what steps you can take to get there.
Once your credit is in tip-top shape, then comes the budget. Ask yourself questions like:
- What am I currently paying in rent/mortgage? Am I at the top of my budget, or is there wiggle room there?
- What can I afford to pay – monthly?
- Consider home upkeep – what type of utilities and maintenance costs will come with a new (or new to you) home.
- Don’t forget things such as mortgage insurance, property taxes, and homeowners insurance.
- Determine what that new budget translates to in terms of home prices. What is your budget range to be sure you stay in those monthly payment parameters you’ve set?
Then you get hooked up with an amazing mortgage professional and get pre-approved.
Step 2: Make Your List
This is where you decide how important your must-haves are in relation to really-really-wants. How many bedrooms do you need? Are you planning to expand your family? What about closet space, garage stalls, land size? What matters to you, and what could you do without?
Make yourself a list, and make sure you keep it handy for the next step so that you can keep all those homes you’re likely to start walking through clear in your mind. Here’s an idea:
This is the fun step – this is where you get yourself an outstanding professional (ahem – raises hand!) and talk to them about what matters. With that pre-approval letter in hand, you’re ready to hit the homebuying ground running!Step 3: Get Looking
Step 4: Getting You Home
Once you and your Realtor have found the home for you, you’ll submit an offer. There may be counter-offers and negotiations, but once that offer is accepted, there are still some steps that will be taken until you get that key and find yourself in the home of your dreams. It may vary depending on your situation, but that timeline will likely look something like this:
- Mortgage Application
- Title Search + Survey
- Apply For Homeowners Insurance
- Submit Loan to Underwriting
- Home Inspection
- Addendum of Repairs
- Final Walk through
- Clear to Close
- CLOSING DAY!
It’s a whole lot of action in a short amount of time – but when you’re waiting for that final step, it can feel like it takes forever! That’s why it helps to have a good understanding of what comes next, plus a really solid professional to help you along the way.
I’d be honored to be that professional!