Avoid These 4 Design Mistakes in Your New Home

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Category: Home Decorating

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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!

The Do’s and Don’ts For Shooting Your Own Real Estate Photos

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Category: Buying & Selling a Home

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When it comes to selling your home, it’s all about making that good online impression. The only way to get serious buyers to physically see your home in person is to hook them online. And honestly, the quickest way to do that is with some amazing real estate photography!

But let’s be real – hiring a professional photographer isn’t always in the budget. If you’re looking to save money by snapping your own pics, then we’ve got some great tips for you to keep in mind when you’re roaming your place, camera in hand.

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Keeping Print Photographs Protected

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When was the last time you bought a roll of camera film? When was the last time you even saw a roll of camera film? About the same time you last used a pay phone maybe? But do you also have – in an old album if not in a shoebox in the back of a closet somewhere – a bunch of old print photographs that you just can’t get rid of? So do some of our customers. Today we go over a few tips on taking care of those irreplaceable, ancient keepsakes.

Photos Already in Albums

…are the easiest to pack – usually. But there are a couple of things to watch out for.

Like books and papers, photo albums fare best when they are placed flat in the carton. Unlike books and papers, photo albums contain materials – like the photos and their plastic sleeves – that can become hopelessly stuck together under certain conditions: pressure from having an apartment’s worth of furniture and books on top of them along with extreme temperatures and humidity.

To keep the pressure off them, pack photo albums in something other than a book box. In between sweaters and t-shirts in a 3-cube isn’t a bad idea – as long as you mark the carton properly. Guarding against the elements can be a tougher proposition. Mention to your customer that environmental factors can affect their photos, and if they are concerned about the weather or the time their photos will be in storage suggest climate control for their storage unit and a general awareness while they are in transit. If conditions outside – and thus inside the back of the truck – begin to get extreme, taking those packed up photos to a milder environment couldn’t hurt.

A Few More General Tips

Packing Photos in a Shoebox for a Move

Avoid stacking unprotected pictures – in those aforementioned harsher conditions, even if they aren’t all that harsh, those unprotected photos can easily stick together and be ruined. Suggest to the customer (even if they’ve had those photos in a shoebox since the last time they saw a pay phone) that separating their photos with packing paper is a great way to help keep them protected from the elements – though doing this with even just one shoebox of photos can take a load of time. Tell them you’d be happy to do it, of course, but also remind them that they are paying you by the hour.

Avoid wrapping photos (or photo albums) in plastic – the possibility of trapping moisture resulting in mold is too great.

If you have a habit of using foam peanuts when packing certain items, avoid using them for packing photos and photo albums. The peanuts and particularly the crumbs can get static clingy and are a pain in the neck to have to pick off all the photos and their plastic housings.

For those special photos your customer wants to take particularly good care of, consider placing them in between the pages of a hardcover book – between pieces of packing paper as older books’ ink might rub off and the glossy pages of newer books, not to mention those big coffee table picture books, can wreak havoc on a photo, especially in hot and humid conditions.

* Note: Most types of packing paper are acid-free and lignin-free…which is good news for those photos.

Packing Photos in Frames

Yes, we do it all the time, with rarely a nick or scratch. Be aware, though, that the glass of the frame actually makes a photo more vulnerable to damage, not less, and if the frame seems delicate or the glass thin and fragile it is always an option to take that extra-large family portrait from 2002 out of the frame and pack it separately.

Preserving Those Most Precious Photos

If no digital copy of the last photo ever taken of your customer’s dearly beloved Grandma exists, suggest scanning it and creating a digital file, along with any other treasured photos that have no digital counterpart. When packing such photos, if they are not in frames or otherwise fully protected, it shows extra care if you wear gloves to keep the oil on your hands from damaging the photographs.

Packing Digital Photos

Okay, we don’t exactly pack digital photos. But we do pack the devices they are stored on. Packed correctly, these devices and thus the pictures stored in them should arrive safe and uncorrupted. But occasionally things happen. Even people who are not in the middle of moving have seen their external hard drive crash.

Two ways to help prevent the loss of all those gigs of images: Suggest a backup on another external hard drive (nothing groundbreaking here) or (maybe more helpful) uploading their archives to a cloud storage site. Using a cloud service (like Dropbox, Windows SkyDrive, Apple’s iCloud) will incur a monthly charge for anything more than a couple of gigs. Online photo storage website Flickr offers 1,000 gigs of free photo storage. Shutterfly offers unlimited photo storage for the same low price.

Your customer may be fine with a shoebox full of stacked and unprotected photos. But for everyone else, a few preventative measures can help preserve a lifetime of memories.

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