Avoid These 4 Design Mistakes in Your New Home

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So you just bought the prettiest home on the block and you’re moving in and getting settled? Congrats! Now it’s time for the best part … the decorating!

It’s the furniture and home decor that really brings a space to life and tells the story of the people who live there.

4 Design No-Nos We See All The Time

But there are some big design no-nos that we see a lot of people make in their new homes. Even if you just bought the most beautiful house, you can instantly bring it down a notch if you commit any of the following 4 design mistakes.

Don’t worry, all of these have easy fixes (and we even included pretty pictures of the right way to do it!), giving you have a clear visual for avoiding these commonly made mistakes.

1. The “Too-Small-Rug”

Bigger is always better when it comes to rugs!

This design mistake just might be the most common one we ever see: the “too-small-rug”. If you’ve purchased a 5-by-8 or 6-by-9 rug in your lifetime, chances are it was not the correct size for your room.

And we get it, large rugs can be expensive. But using an 8-by-10 or 9-by-12 rug in your room is going to make your space look much, much more high-end.

To make your rug shopping a bit easier, here are the design rules you can follow to ensure you buy the correct size.

  • In a family room, find a rug that is large enough for the front legs of all the furniture to sit on the rug. Even better if all pieces of furniture can rest on top of the rug!
  • Avoid the “floating” rug look when a rug is just sitting in front of a sofa.
  • In dining rooms, rugs should be large enough to fit all chairs (even when they are pulled out) on the rug. This means at least 24-36 inches out from the table.
  • In the bedroom, your rug should extend 18-24 inches on each side of your bed. If you have a queen size bed, an 8×10 should work. If you have a king size bed, try a 9-by-12 rug.

For more tips buying the perfect rug, check out this blog post.

2. The Matching Bedroom Set

So you just moved into a new home and you need furniture, stat! Why not head over to the discount furniture and buy an entire bedroom set for a low low price?

Eek … please don’t do that. Yes, it may sound like a good deal, but we promise you can create a good looking bedroom (on a budget!) without going the matchy-matchy route.

And don’t get us wrong, having some matching furniture is not a bad thing. But you probably don’t want your loveseat, couch, coffee table, and side table to all match. Some of them can match to keep a cohesive look, but if everything is the exact same, you’re going to end up with a cookie-cutter look that lacks personality.

Completely matching rooms you buy as a package are very out of vogue.

Take this bedroom above, for example. It has an upholstered headboard, a leather bench, white nightstands, and a wood dresser. This creates an interesting and layered look!

If you do have matching furniture all over your house, we’re certainly not telling you to get rid of everything. Instead, think about moving things around. Bring a dresser from one room into another or swap your night stands.

You just might love all of your gorgeous furniture a bit more when it doesn’t get lost in a sea of it all being too samey.

3. The Flooded Curtains

Hanging window treatments is an intimidating task. Of course, their main objective is to be functional, but you also want them to look good. And let us tell you, most people are hanging their curtains all wrong!

High and wide. Repeat after us: high and wide. (Check out the image above.)

That’s generally how you need to hang your curtains. Many people opt to install their curtain rod directly above the window and a couple of inches outside of it, which isn’t doing your home any favors. Why? Curtains are the key to making your ceilings appear much taller and the room bigger.

Here are things to consider when hanging.

  • Mount the rod up to a foot on the outside of the window. This allows the curtains to drape down without interfering with the light when they’re open.
  • Hang your rod almost to the ceiling. Go about 4-6 inches below the ceiling and that’s how high they should be.
  • Once you have your curtain rod hung, you can figure out how tall your curtains should be. You will probably have to purchase XL curtains. They’re harder to find, but they’re out there (IKEA sells them on a budget!).
  • Your curtains should “kiss” the floor or you can have them puddle (about 1-2 inches longer than the floor). Make sure your curtains are not too short! For no-sew hemming tips, check out this blog post.

4. The “Too-High-Art”

When you’ve just moved in, you probably have a lot to hang on your walls to really make it feel like home. But please read these tips first. Most people hang art way too high! The last thing you want is for your guests to have to crane their necks to see your gorgeous pieces. 

Follow these tips for perfect hanging every time.

  • Don’t go with eye level (if you’re tall, that will make things way too high!). Instead, the center of your piece should be 57-60 inches off the ground.
  • When hanging a gallery wall, think of the entire collection as one piece of art. Therefore, the very top and bottom shouldn’t be hung too high or too low.
  • When hanging above a couch or dresser, go 4-8 inches above the piece of furniture. If you go higher than that, it will look disjointed.
  • For gallery walls, 2-3 inches in between pieces is plenty! No more than that. If you’re nervous about hanging a gallery wall, check out this foolproof way to do it!

Believe in us and avoid these design mistakes whenever possible. With the right furniture, art placement, curtains and rugs, you are well on your way to a great looking new home!

8 Jobs That Are Great If You Move A Lot (And How Much They Pay)

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Do you long for a job that pays you to travel? If you’ve been stuck in the endless nine to five slog for a long time, the idea of traveling the world can seem like a distant and unattainable dream.

However, thanks to the internet and our always-connected world, there are plenty of jobs out there that can offer the freedom and fun of being constantly on the move alongside a regular paycheck. It’s true! Here are just a few of the remote-working jobs that will take you out of the cubicle and into the world.

Web Designer

This classic, on-the-go title is a classic for a reason.

Thanks to the wonderful technology of the internet, many jobs no longer require you to be physically present in the company you’re working for, which has created a generation of people who call themselves digital nomads.

What do web designers do?

Web design is the process of creating websites, from the aesthetics right down to navigation logic and, by its very nature, is done entirely online. This means that if you’ve got a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection, it usually doesn’t matter where in the world you are.

How do I get started?

There are a number of routes you can take to become a qualified web designer, and because they’re so different, each employer will tend to have their own explicit definition of “qualified” which will often be detailed on a job listing. 

For most employers, entry requirements include skills in visual design, UX, SEO, coding software (like HTML, CSS and Javascript) and design software (like Photoshop and Illustrator). Many websites curate freelance job offerings, like the site Working Nomads, allowing you to make sure you’ve always got another project in the pipeline.

Want to start taking classes? Know that some employers may only be looking for a candidate with a college-level certificate in web design or a multimedia subject.

Once your skill set is up to par, you’ll be greatly rewarded. According to Payscale, entry-level salaries for full-time web designers can start around $33k, but quickly rise to $73k with more experience.

If you’re going freelance, you can set your own rates that reflect your level of experience, how picky the client is, how difficult the project is, etc. According to NJ Creatives Network, the average rate per hour is $59. That’s not bad going if you’re a nomad on the move.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) work remotely, and their job is to carry out administrative tasks for various clients. These tasks could be within the professional, technical or creative sectors and could include anything from bookkeeping and data entry to social media management and desktop publishing.

What do virtual assistants do?

Businesses tend to hire VAs because they don’t need someone full-time and in-house to do certain admin tasks. By taking on a VA, this saves the company money on space and providing full-time benefits.

To get started as a VA, you will need a reliable phone and internet connection, and at least five years of experience in a senior admin role within an office environment. If you can’t deal with a PC meltdown on your own, or can barely stay on top of your own to-do list, this may not be the role for you.

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How do I get started?

But if you are an organized person with in-house admin experience and a decent understanding of word processing, email and contact management software, you’re on the right track to becoming a VA. Bear in mind that your prospective clients will want to be sure you know what you’re doing before employing you. Therefore, getting some experience within a VA company, such as Zirtual, is also a good idea before you take the plunge.

Once you’ve learned the ropes, it’s fairly easy to fly solo. First steps include deciding your niche, setting up your brand and website, marketing your services, and getting your kit ready, such as a work phone and laptop.

But you’re not doing this job for free—so you’ll need to decide your rate too. Though the earning potential at a basic level is low, you can make up to $100 an hour for a specialist virtual role, which is why it’s important to seriously consider your niche before you launch your brand, rather than take on any client that needs a hand with admin.

Source: Indeed

The real appeal of being a virtual assistant is working at home, working when you want, and supreme job flexibility. Also, if you find that freelancing as a VA is not working for you, but you love the job, you can always transition agency-side and reap the benefits of a permanent position once again.

Digital Marketer

Digital marketing is another job that perfectly suits remote working, as all you need is a laptop and a café or hotel with a decent Wi-Fi connection.

Digital marketing is a branch of marketing that sits under the umbrella term “online marketing.” Working inside the digital marketing industry involves developing a range of multi-channel communication strategies, such as social media, SEO, PPC, email, mobile marketing, and affiliate marketing. You can work horizontally across all of these things, or you can specialize in a certain vertical.

What do digital marketers do?

As a digital marketer, general duties include, creating and uploading website copy, writing and sending email campaigns, designing website banners, communicating with affiliate networks and partners, and managing contact databases, just to name a few.

How do I get started?

Start by getting some full-time, in-house experience. While employers will take on entry-level professionals with no experience, many seek candidates with a business, marketing, media, or journalism degree. If you lack this certificate, there is a broad range of digital marketing taster courses available online, such as the free courses from Google Digital Garage, which will help boost your skills for the digital world and help you land a work placement.

This time spent boosting your knowledge, ability and experience will eventually pay off. The average entry-level salary is only around $28k, but it quickly raises to at least $50k with a little experience.

Source: Payscale

Online Tutor

Did you know that you can teach online too? There are places on the web where tutoring is a viable job, and it can be a great job to have if you’re moving a lot.

What do online tutors do?

Traditional tutoring involves one-to-one teaching sessions with a student, helping them improve academically. As a tutor, you may go through the class material, homework, or help your pupils improve their note-taking.

Online tutors, or “e-tutors”, conduct the same line of work, but via online media. Sessions are typically carried out through video chat, but also phone calls and email. This means you can be anywhere in the world and still communicate.

How do I get started?

To become qualified, you tend to need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject, but be aware that the credentials to teach as a tutor vary from state to state. You need to be aware of homeschooling laws which may interfere with your work, as they are a completely different ball game regarding qualified teacher status.

If you’re inexperienced, it may be worth working for a tutoring company as it will deal with finding your clients and paperwork. Alternatively, you can go solo. Both options involve the potential to tutor on the move.

Online tutoring is well-paid work when you consider how few hours tutoring can take up. Glassdoor reports that the average hourly rate is $12 per hour, but salaries can go up to $55k in certain areas of the U.S.

Freelance Photographer

Becoming a successful freelance photographer requires tenacity as much as talent, and an income is never guaranteed. But travel photographers and photojournalists see some of the most amazing parts of the world, as well as some of the most distressing.

What do freelance photographers do?

Studio photography, product photography, stock photography, nature photography, pet photography … there are as many different types of freelance photography as there are things in the world! There are also some incredible options for travel, and quite often all you need is a camera and a laptop, enabling you to send your photographs to editors across the world in mere moments.

How do I get started?

A photography degree will be useful but not always necessary, as the most important thing is a good eye for a shot and a well-put-together portfolio demonstrating your talent.  

Pricing photography is quite a difficult task for any professional. Put your rate too high, and you may scare your prospect away. Too low though, and you could end up forcing yourself out of business.

Advice from photography expert Rosh Sillars states that if you’re an amateur, you should aim to charge between $25 to $100 an hour. You should go for the higher end if you have an online portfolio or dedicated website for your services.

If you’re a student photographer, shoot for anywhere from $35 to $90 per hour. This should increase to $50 to $160 per hour for semi-pros, and to $75 to $300+ per hour for the seasoned professionals.

Translator

Whether you can speak one other language or many, your skills as a translator are invaluable. How invaluable? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is currently set to grow 46% by 2020, with the projected workforce of interpreters reaching almost 93,000 strong.

What do translators do?

The work usually involves converting written material from a “source language” to a “target language,” which is done on a computer and doesn’t require you to be physically present.

There is a variety of content that translators work with, including commercial, educational, legal, literary, and scientific, so previous experience or expertise in one area will be necessary, and you will have to do some training in translation before you take on any clients. 

How do I get started?

Translate Media boasts plenty of research for in-house translation opportunities, internships, and yes, freelance translation.

Translators can make a lot of money, especially if you specialize in a more difficult or in-demand language. Most translation agencies allow people to work at home, and freelancing is widespread throughout the industry. Here is a handy map of translation salaries from 2014, ranging everywhere from just under $30 thousand a year, to just over $70 thousand a year.

Freelance Writer

Are you reading this right now? Do you read articles online often? Thank your local freelance writer, and they’re easy to find, as many of them work remotely filling up coffee shops all around the world.

What do freelance writers do?

The internet is made of words, and somebody needs to write them. From copywriting to ghostwriting to content writing, there is an abundance of freelance writing opportunities if you know the right places to look.

How do I get started?

It can be difficult to get a freelance writing career off the ground, as most potential employers will want to see a large portfolio of good quality writing before they agree to give you a gig. But if you’re prepared to start small and put in the effort, this is very achievable.

If you have very little experience, the easiest way to gain some is by contacting small blogs and the websites you love for guest writing opportunities. While you may have to do a small amount of freebie work, it’s the simplest way of boosting your portfolio without enrolling in a course. You just need the drive and basic knowledge of spelling and grammar to succeed.

Your freelance career will take off more quickly if you have a background in writing, such as journalism. Job sites like Upwork are a great place to start getting clients and building your portfolio as you can advertise your services and display your most recent projects.

Most freelance writers charge by project or per number of words. The rate you should choose all depends on your years of experience and your subject matter knowledge. Typically, entry-level freelance writers can earn $30 per 800 words, whereas experienced writers can earn up to $100 for the same project. While you debate your rate, it’s also worth checking out the site Who Pays Writers to see what businesses are willing to pay for your talents.

In other words, that means that the average freelance writer makes .17 cents a word.

Caption: Venngage

While you’re at it, if you’ve got solid writing skills, setting up a website of your own is a great way to monetize your talents. Blogging is big business.

You might consider running ads on your blog. These “Ads by Google” will appear on your website and reflect the content you post—therefore, they don’t interfere too much with the aesthetic or branding of your blog. Every time a blog visitor clicks on one of these ads, you earn yourself some cash.

You can also monetize your blog by writing affiliate reviews. That means you write a review of a product on your blog. In your review, you insert a link that users can follow to buy the product. If a user clicks that link and makes a purchase, you can receive up to 10% commission. Now that’s easy money for a remote worker.

E-commerce Merchant/”Dropshipper”

One final flexible income route to go down if you move a lot is creating a dropshipping store. That might sound like a bunch of buzzwords, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

What do e-commerce merchants/”dropshippers” do?

This job involves displaying products from someone’s digital store on your site. Once a customer buys one of these products, you place the order with the third-party supplier, and then the supplier pays you, as you’ve just given them extra visibility and a sale. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get set up as an e-commerce seller (other than selling on Amazon using their Fulfillment By Amazon option).

How do I get started?

This is less of a job you seek and more of an additional income if you have the right avenues open to you. But it can be underutilized.

E-commerce is a potentially lucrative market to get into—if you get the product price and value proposition right. Though the initial investment in time and strategy can be hefty, the potential for earning a solid monthly revenue is high:

Just remember to keep innovating and listening to your customers, and e-commerce could be the key to your remote work success.

These eight jobs are just a few of the options available if you’d like to make the leap from desk-bound worker bee to free-flying digital nomad. Especially as freelancing is convenient for the worker and reduces costs for the employer, it is an increasingly popular method of employment, offering you an incredible opportunity to travel while still earning a good salary. That’s what I call a win-win for everyone involved.


Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offers tips on how ecommerce business owners can take advantage of the latest technology in the industry.

We Try out the App That Digitally Arranges Your Furniture With Just a Picture

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As DIY’ers and decorators, there’s nothing we love more than an empty room just begging to be styled and filled with beautiful pieces. But some rooms can be a little tricky. Do you put the couch over here? Or maybe you need a small table over there? It can be hard to visualize how pieces will work in a space, especially when you’re starting with a blank canvas. Plus, if you’re buying a few new pieces of furniture, it can be difficult to tell if they’ll really fit and work well in the space. No one wants to purchase a dresser only to find out that it’s actually way too big or small.

An Online Tool to Help You Arrange Furniture

Luckily, there’s a new tool out there that takes all of the guesswork out of the arranging furniture process. It’s called Modsy, and this growing service is changing the game for decorators… but also for new homeowners trying to decide on new furniture or anyone else who has a room that needs some TLC.

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Essentially, you can “try on” certain layouts in your specific space in order to visualize how it will work in that room before you move things around, or before you buy anything new. The service costs about $70 (which isn’t exactly free), but in the long run, it may help you avoid design regret (like when you buy a piece that simply doesn’t work for the room), leaving you with a space that is much more functional for your home.

Here’s how it works: You send over photos of your space, some measurements and details on both your vision and style. They then send over a professional 3D rendering with a 360-degree visualization tool.

Real Life Spaces Using Modsy

When we first heard of Modsy, we weren’t quite sold. How could it actually work? But then we saw that a few of our friends in the blogosphere used this service when working on room makeovers. We could hardly believe these photos…

Photo by Bower Power Blog; 3D Rendering of Bedroom via Modsy

Above is the 3D rendering of our friend Katie Bower’s bedroom. She used Modsy to visualize the furniture setup in her bedroom before buying all of the pieces.

Here’s what that space now looks like in real life…

Pretty crazy, right?! Here’s another one.

Photo by Chris Loves Julia; 3D Rendering of Room via Modsy

Above is the 3D rendering from Chris Loves Julia’s nursery. Below is how the actual room turned out.

Let’s Give It a Try

We’re currently working on a living room makeover for a friend, and their tricky living room layout had us questioning where exactly we should place all of the furniture in the space. So we figured this was the perfect time to give Modsy a try and find the most functional livingroom layout. Here is how the website lays out their service:

After setting up an account on our phones, we sent in photos and measurements and they then gave us a blank room to review. 

Because we weren’t totally sure on the style we wanted for the space, we had them give us two design options. One was a bit more glam and feminine, the other a bit more contemporary. This was their interpretations:

We ended up loving the second design, and realized how easily a sectional could fit in the space! We also didn’t realize we would have enough room to add a bookshelf next to the couch, and this helped us view the space in a whole new light. 

This was another rendering from a different angle. We were able to plug-in a few pieces that the homeowners already own to make sure they could continue to work in the room. 

In the end, we were left with a functional layout that we’re confident will work as we help to design this room. It actually worked! While we still have a-ways to go with their space, we are both so excited to get to work and bring this vision board to life.

You Too Can Master the Art of Arranging Furniture

As two gals who can’t seem to get enough of home design and decor, we were incredibly impressed with this visualization tool. Here are our takeaways:

Pros:

  • Surprisingly easy to use
  • Slick, modern app design
  • 3D renderings are professionally done and easy to grasp (and amazing to look at!)

Cons:

  • It ain’t cheap. $70 per rendering (and $199 to include an adviser!)
  • It takes a little over a week to get renders and operates within business hours, so plan ahead
  • Recommended furniture through Modsy store can be great, but also a bit sales-y

If you’re struggling to decorate your new home, we hope you’ll give this tool a try. Hopefully, it will help you determine the best layout for the rooms throughout your home while providing you with design inspiration that is specific to your taste. Plus, you may even gain some confidence when it comes time to buy new pieces of furniture in your space, because you can try before you buy! Happy decorating!

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