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Showing posts from 2010

Tips for Decorating a Christmas Tree

Happy Holidays to all! If you're ready to start decorating your holiday tree, here are some hopefully useful tips:



Beginning the task: When decorating your Christmas tree, put lights on first, then the garland, and finally the ornaments. I think of my tree as a three-dimensional painting. Do you have a color scheme or theme that you want to follow? Sometimes having a plan for your tree makes it more fun to decorate – at least in my opinion. You can spend all year collecting items for your tree – but a good time of year to find bargains is, of course, the post-holiday sales.

Ornaments: Begin by hanging "filler ornaments" and evenly space them around the tree. They could be basic solid color balls that are easily found at discount stores in a wide range of colors to coordinate and enhance your decorating scheme. You'll need about 20 "filler ornaments" for every two feet of Christmas tree. Don't hang all your ornaments on the tips of the branches. …

Decorating Your Holiday Table

Looking for some suggestions to decorate your home for the holidays? If so, here are some ideas for you for this holiday season.

Welcome your family and friends -- and get in the spirit yourself -- by beginning your holiday decorating in your family’s usual gathering spaces - the living room and dining room.

If you’re planning for an intimate gathering or a large feast, this season is the time to have fun and go “crazy” in your decorating. This year, the color selections are wide and beautiful – from traditional, reds and green; to the serene, blue and silver; to the trendy, fuchsia and teal.

My first suggestion is that you pick a theme for your holiday decorations – I usually select the colors and motif that will dominate the d├ęcor. If you are very ambitious, you can adjust the theme from room to room by focusing on one idea.

One popular decor is derived from the colors and motifs connected with the North Pole. The red, green and white color scheme, with accents of gold, a…

Decorating Your Thanksgiving Table

It's only a week before the big day! If you're still scratching your head for decorating ideas for your table, here are some suggestions:

1. You can either make or purchase a fall-inspired or Thanksgiving centerpiece. Make one yourself by using a traditional cornucopia centerpiece (similar to the one featured on my blog) with fruit or a fall floral arrangement made with clippings from your garden! Believe it or not, my mums and marigolds are still in bloom! Or, you can then scatter some fall leaves from your yard, very small pumpkins, berries or nuts on the table around the centerpiece to highlight it around your centerpiece (remember to wash your yard-treasures thoroughly before adding them to your table). If you don't feel adventurous in making your own arrangement, then I encourage you to get one from a local florist.

2. You can add candles to your table in fall colors - shades of golds, rusts, greens or browns - or use a set of rustic wooden or metal candleholders…

Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas for the Exterior of Your Home

Do you want to create a welcoming and exciting home for your Thanksgiving holiday? If your answer is, yes, here's some tips to say "welcome" to your guests the minute they arrive at your front door!

1. Start with the exterior of your home with a simple wreath in the colors of autumn - gold, rust, green and brown. Add a colorful ribbon and attach other fall touches such as nuts, gourds, and raffia.

2. To perk up the area leading to your front door, place one or more gorgeous potted mums and pumpkins near your door. After the holiday, you can plant the flowers. They may pop up next year to provide you with flowers you can use inside.

3. Cover your front door with gift wrap in fall colors for Thanksgiving.

4. Add a "welcome to our home" sign or banner and attach your ribbons or raffia or fall leaves which you've gathered from your yard or garden.

5. Create a grouping of pumpkins, mums and vines for display on the porch or by the walkway to your front …

Purple is the new color for 2011!

Recently, on my "A Goode Start Decorating and Home Staging" Facebook page, I predicted that in the New Year, the decorating world will embrace "purple" as the newest, popular color for 2011. As a result of my premonition, I decided to do some research on the color which I will share with you below. What I found out is that purple is no longer just your grandmother's color!

Throughout the ages, purple has been associated with royalty. In ancient times, the dye was extracted from mollusk, was extremely expensive and therefore, only available to the rich and to royalty.

On the color wheel, purple is a mixture of the red and blue. Various amounts of red or blue can result in different tints and shades of the color - ranging from the red violet spectrum to the blue violet spectrum: for instance -- magenta (which has a reddish tint) to violet to plum to aubergine (which has a bluish tint).

Although the deeper shades of purple still signify richness and luxury, …

Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays (or to Sell)

Whether you're getting your home ready for the holidays or ready for sale, I'm hoping the 10 tips and tricks below will help make preparation quicker and easier. In addition, all of these tips are green, so they are much healthier for your family than using the alternative, chemical-based products.

1. Clean your glass windows, doors and mirrors with a mixture of white vinegar and water and wipe with newspaper for a beautiful, streak-free shine.

2. Freshen your garbage disposal by putting a lemon wedge in and running the disposal. This will neutralize odors and create a fresh, lemony scent. Fresh lemon can also be used to scrub kitchen counters and salt can be added as an abrasive for stubborn stains.

3. Remove crayon from walls with toothpaste (not the gel type). Simply put a small amount of toothpaste on a damp sponge and wipe gently, then wipe away any remaining residue with a clean sponge.

4. Refresh watermarks on wood surfaces by rubbing in a little mayonnaise and then buf…

Decorating with Different Patterns and Prints

One of my friends asked me to write an article about mixing patterns and prints in decorating. So... if decorating with many different prints appeals to you, here's my advice on mixing prints in a room.


Go ahead and be adventurous! But, in my opinion -- as a decorator for the past 20 years -- I would keep these things in mind: stick to the color scheme in the room; limit the types of prints or patterns to three or five at the most (in decorating “three” is a magic number); and keep proportion and scale in mind. So here are some tips to remember for the "novice":


1. First, visual your room as a large picture on canvas. Key colors in the room should be repeated throughout the room, in your upholstery, your throw pillows, your window treatments, in your artwork, on the walls and on the floor. Select a dominant color, a secondary color and up to two accent colors to anchor the palette.

2. Choose one multicolored pattern as your primary print and pull different…

Tips for Selling Your Home: Stage Your Basement and Laundry Room!

If you're trying to sell your home right now, you already know that it's still a tough real estate market out there.

As a home stager, I have one piece of advice for you -- make sure that EVERY room in your home looks great -- even the basement and laundry room!
So, here are a few ideas to get your basement and/or laundry room in shape for prospective home buyers:

1. Clean up your basement or laundry room by beginning with the piles on the floor. Put away items neatly in closets and cabinets and add new shelves if you need to. Give away, donate or throw away items (or even consider selling items) that you do not want to take with you when you move. Store large items in storage units or PODS off of your property if possible - they are a distraction to a possible buyer and can be a eyesore to potential buyers when they do a "drive by."

2. Paint the walls - even the cinderblock -- if the room seems a little dingy. Consider freshening it up with a coat of paint. …

"Fall" For Organizing Your Home

Autumn is time for changes – the leaves are turning, the kids are back in school, football games are on TV, and you start looking toward the upcoming holidays – which will be here before we know it!

If your house needs a little TLC before the fall football get-togethers and the holiday season begins, here are a few ideas to help you:

1. Begin your task with one room at a time – so you do not feel so overwhelmed.

2. Identify the problem area(s). And ask yourself - are there too many books, magazines, dishes, knick-knacks, blankets, toys, etc. around? Does something need to be repaired or fixed before you can start organizing? If so, try your hand at the repair, hire someone or bribe your significant other to help you.

3. Next, start looking for some storage solutions to organize your belongings. This could range from bookshelves with canvas or wicker baskets to under-the-bed storage containers (I bought lifts at Bed, Bath and Beyond for my bed so I could squeeze some storage conta…

Top Staging Tips for Home Sellers

It's almost fall and the race to buy a new home is on! If you're a homebuyer, you definately are on a house-hunting mission! If you and your real estate agent do "drive bys," you've probably eliminated a few properties based on their exterior appearance - including broken railings, children's toys in the yard or an unmowed lawn. Curb appeal is so important to the prospective homebuyer. It could mean the difference between a "sale" and "no sale."

If you are the home seller, here are some recommendations to keep your home in pristine condition and appeal to the prospective homebuyer's "drive by":

1. Make sure that your lawn is freshly cut and that leaves in your lawn are raked. If winter has set in, please make sure that the snow has been shoveled in the driveway and on walk-ways and sidewalks.

2. Your home's entryway should be attractive and welcoming. Consider a potted plant by the entrance, repaint the door, ad…

Decorating Ideas for College Dorm Rooms

It's that time of year again when the kids will be going back to school! For a lot parents, you're breathing a sigh of relief that the kids will be back in school again. But if you have a son or daughter who is going away to college for the first time, you may be feeling some trepidation.

Most teenagers are anxious for a new adventure and to be free from their parent's watchful eye. However, they may also be feeling a little uneasy about being away from home for the first time. If this is the case and your teenager wants to make his/her dorm room more cozy, here are a few tips on making their new abode feel more like home:

1. Purchase a twin-sized comforter in their favorite color or design -- most dorm room beds are extra-long twin beds;

2. Buy rod pocket curtains for the windows (of course, color-coordinated with the bed comforter!);

3. Buy a spring curtain rod (it fits inside the window frame - no need to drill holes in the window frame or wall); it that does not wor…

Keeping Toys Under Control While Your House is on the Market

Moving is one of the most stressful times in your life, and if you are trying to sell your house during the summer months when your kids are at home, you may feel like pulling your hair out, strand by strand. Especially if you're trying to stay ahead of the of the toy clutter. Well, I have a few suggestions that may help you wage attack on the toys and win!

1. Try to keep a box for the toys for each child in your house. I'd like to suggest that you keep the rest in storage or alternate the toys (in storage) if your house is on the market for more than a few weeks.

2. Try to limit the games or building toys with small pieces to ones with large pieces. This will facilitate the daily clean-up.

3. Limit toys that are large and have lots of parts - such as kitchen sets and kid's furniture - suggest that you keep those in storage since they may distract the potential buyer and prevent them from envisioning themselves living in your home.

4. In the front yard, keep outdoor toys…

The Art of Downsizing

There can be many different reasons for downsizing – but moving is probably the most common. Well, I’m not moving, but the older I get the more I get annoyed at all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. Does this sound familiar to you?
In the past, I would move to a different home every four years. And every time I moved, I would sort through my stuff, donating lots of bags to the Salvation Army, Purple Heart and Goodwill. As you can tell, my love of shopping for clothes, shoes and decorative items has always gotten me in trouble.

However, now that I’ve been living in the same house for the past five years, my “stuff” has been multiplying exponentially. Not only is the crawl space under the house filled up completely, but we now have a garage that has no more extra room – especially for a car. And it's migrating to my two spare bedrooms and the closets are bulging at the seams. I'm really tired of the piles which seem to grow on a weekly basis. And even more frust…

Decorating Your First Place

Decorating your first place. No, I don't mean your dorm room or the home you share with your roommates or your relatives, but your first home away from home.

Your first home is a symbol that you're finally independent and can begin interjecting your own creativity into the place where you live. In my opinion there's nothing more exhilarating than decorating your first place. I was reminded of that old feeling because my niece is getting married in two weeks. She exclaimed to me how much fun she was having decorating their first apartment. After reflecting on my past experiences, I thought I might outline a few tips that may help with this task while decorating on a tight budget.

1. Many of us start out with hand-me-downs, garage sale or flea market finds. Although we appreciate the generosity of the "giver," it can be a challenge to incorporate them into a cohesive decorating plan. Luckily the "shabby chic" and eclectic styles are still in vogue!

W…

Color Your Life

Color. What a great five-letter word. Color has long been associated with a person's mood. It can make you hungry. Cheer you up. Make you blue. Energize you. Make you relaxed or transport your thoughts to another place.

There are three different types of colors: warm, cool and neutral.

Let's start with warm colors. Orange and red are generally chosen by restaurants because they are known to stimulate the appetite. Yellow is known as the "happy" color because it is the color of sunshine. In homes, these colors are commonly used in dining rooms and kitchens.

Cool colors -- green, blue and purple -- are considered to be "relaxing" colors and are great for bedrooms and living rooms.

If neutral colors are your favorite -- such as white, cream, grey, brown and black --you're in luck because they are very popular in decorating right now.

In selecting the colors for your home, it is a safe bet to pick the colors you really like because whatever you choose…

Get a New Look for Your Home With Paint

Do you want to change your home's ambiance for the least amount of money? If your answer is, yes - here's how: Paint!

Changing the color of a room can transform the overall feeling of a room. First, you need to decide on a new color. I'd like to suggest a couple of options:

1. Before you buy the paint color that you have selected, I recommend that you purchase a sample in order to paint it on your wall to see if you like it. Most brands of paint these days have samples available for purchase. This is a good idea because you'll get to see the color on the wall in your room in different lighting - morning, afternoon and evening light. Paint colors can change according to the light in the room, and you can make sure that you like the way the new paint looks during the different times of day.

2. If you'd rather not paint samples on the walls or a sample color is not available, I'd like to suggest that you attach several large swatches of the new paint color (available…

How To Give Your Home A New Look For Less Money

How do you make your home feel "new" without spending too much money? Well, here's some budget-wise decorating tips to give your home an updated new look:



1. Accent Pillows. Furniture is usually the most costly item. So if your furniture still looks acceptable, you can give your room a boost with some new accessories. Add a few new color-coordinated throw pillows to a sofa, a chair or on the bed and they can perk up your room without breaking the budget. A few new pillows can give old, tired upholstered furniture a new look.



2. Flowers. Buy a new flower arrangement or make one yourself. It's easy these days. Visit a home decor store (for example, Michaels) and buy silk flowers for as little as $3 a stem. Buy a vase (they are very reasonable at Michaels or in a consignment shop), add some pebbles in the bottom to help hold the flowers in place (again, buy them at a home decor store) and start adding silk flowers.
Flowers can add a punch of color to a dining room table,…

Selling Your Home? Five Reasons Why You Need a Home Stager in a Slow Market

If you have decided to sell your home, you probably are trying to prepare your home to sell in this slow market. Here are five reasons a professional home stager can help you sell your home:

1. Outshine your competition.

The real estate market is still slow. Most homes will sit on the market for months because there are so many homes for prospective buyers to consider. Today, there is so little incentive for buyers so, as home owner, you need to stand out from the rest! Consider hiring a home stager/ real estate stager to evaluate your home and give you an objective point of view with their recommendations on how your property can outshine the rest.

Recently, my clients spent less than $500 to have me stage their home. I helped them declutter, used most of their belongings and added accessories for punch. Their condo received two contracts in 10 days and sold for more than the asking price. The feedback from these prospective buyers was very complimentary, while their neighbor's cond…

How Home Staging Aids Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Foreclosure. The word even sounds daunting.
So many people around the country are facing the possibility of foreclosure. If you're in this category, my advice to you is be proactive.
Contact your mortgage lender immediately and politely and clearly explain your situation. You may be able to negotiate a modified mortgage payment plan. I know people in Florida who didn't contact their mortgage company in time to save their home. Sadly, their story did not have a happy ending, so call your lender as soon as possible -- and don't wait for them to call you back. Remember the old cliche -- the squeeky wheel gets the grease!
If you've decided that you need to sell your home to avoid foreclosure, please, please hire the best real estate agent in your area. Ask your friends for referrals or call the Real Estate Association in your state for the best reference! A real estate agent needs to have knowledge of your area, be able to provide you with comparable home sales and make this …