10 Decorating Do’s when Selling Your Home

In today’s post “real estate bubble” housing market, attention to details sell a home. Homes that look great sell quicker. The fresher your home looks, the more it appeals to buyers.

10 Do’s

1- Purchase the best quality carpet pad which makes any grade of  carpeting “cushy.” Buyers will feel great when walking on it.

2- Take the time to paint walls, trim and ceilings that are dingy.  Keeping adjoining rooms in the same color palette makes your home feel larger and flow easier. Neutral colors like warm white or warm beige are the best to use. I always recommend Barely Beige by Benjamin Moore.

 3- Slipcover mismatched furniture in a room that isn’t unified. Remember, the items in a room should relate to each through color, style, proportion, and pattern. If a room feels uncomfortable to you or “off” it’s going to feel uncomfortable to buyers as well.

 4- Test all door and cabinet knobs. Replace mismatched or inexpensive hardware for a quick update.

 5- Let the sun shine in. Natural lighting is a huge selling point and can overcome other issues with the home. Heavy drapes are in the minority.

 6- Freshen up closets with closet organizers to maximize storage space. Make sure that buyers can see the back of closets and pantries.

 7- Consider the appropriate level for finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers in mid-priced neighborhoods aren’t looking for high-end finishes.

8-Clean every surface until it shines.  Windows are important- no streaks! Consider investing in a professional window cleaning service to get the best results.

 9- Edit furniture and accessories in each room. Less is more.  Buyers want to see the home’s bones and not so much of your decorating personality.

 10- Install new light switch-plates Worn or out-of-date covers lack attention to detail.

 Next time…10 Don’ts! when selling your home.

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Science Proves that Environment Influences Health

Science proves what you may already intuit – your environment influences your health. Nerve chemicals produced by your brain in reaction to an environment influence your health – specifically, your immune system.  

A study published in Science magazine concluded that patients in hospital rooms with a view of trees and natural landscaping healed quicker than patients with views of a brick wall. Subsequent studies showed that hospital patients suffering depression were discharged sooner when they stayed in bright and sunny rooms rather than in dark rooms.

Professor Irving Biederman at U.S.C. showed that viewing beautiful scenes such as a mountain vista or a sunset allow our brain’s nerve cells to receive endorphins which induce a naturally “good” feeling.  It seems that the repeating patterns found in nature such as waves, trees and mountain ranges are not only pleasing to look at, but have a calming influence.

These findings help validate the benefits of using Feng Shui principles to arrange your home or work environment. Feng Shui allows you to bring balance and symmetry into an environment through furniture arrangement, lighting, color selection, and accessories. Echoing natural patterns in a space helps you to relax. Using Feng Shui creates a feeling of peace and comfort which nurtures your health and well-being.

Feng Shui 101

Feng Shui is not a gimmick or a unique decorating style. It is a time-tested discipline with specific guidelines involving geographical, psychological, philosophical, mathematical, aesthetic and astrological concepts in relation to living space and energy flow. In short, Feng Shui is about balanced living – the alignment between you and your home.

According to scientific research, the environment has a tangible effect on your health and quality of life.  Using Feng Shui principles when arranging a home or work environment can support your comfort and health. Decorating choices such as color selections, furniture arrangement, lighting, and accessories selected in accordance with Feng Shui will create a comfortable and balanced space, helping you to relax.

When an environment has incorrect Feng Shui, it will make you feel uncomfortable.  Incorrect Feng Shui can cause loss of wealth and/or health and relationship issues.  When good location and design is combined with good Feng Shui, the environment appeals to the senses and feels comfortable, balanced and inviting.  Bottom line – you are better able to live to your full potential.

  Did You Know? 

  • Based on the direction your home faces, you’ll have several
    areas that you can use to increase prosperity.
  • If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable in a space but didn’t quite know why, odds are the Feng Shui was unbalanced.
  • Adding red to a space will create fire energy and can help the space to feel more comfortable?
  • Traditional Feng Shui does not involve philosophy, superstition
    or religion. It is the study of time and space. Feng Shui seeks to
    harmonize nature’s forces within your living or working space.
  • The following companies have used Feng Shui: Microsoft,
    Chase Manhattan, Hyatt Hotels, CNN, ABC, IBM, AT & T, & Donald Trump.

Next Time…the scientific proof that environment influences well-being….

Home Staging 101- Creating an Appealing Atmosphere

Home Staging is marketing. Staging allows buyers to see your home in its best light.  The most effective staging allows buyers to emotionally connect with your house and most importantly, see themselves living there.  Creating an appealing atmosphere in each room and in the home as a whole is vital to leaving buyers with a great impression.

Create atmosphere by paying attention to the details.  Important details include lighting, furniture arrangement, colors, artwork, accessories, sound and smell.  The details in each room should induce buyers to want to linger in the room.  Make sure the room is well-lit and welcoming so buyers will be drawn in. The longer buyers spend in your house, the better the chances that they’ll feel comfortable in it which ultimately leads to a sale.

Three Home Staging Essentials:

I. Accentuate the positive. Ensure that you’ve done all you can to call attention to the areas in your home that are special. Positive features can include windows with views of nature, an outdoor deck, or a gorgeous master bathroom. Accentuating the positive also takes the focus off areas that aren’t so great and will keep buyers excited about what is.

II. Create atmosphere in each area. Use strategically placed, high quality, beautiful items to help buyers envision themselves in the space.  The things you use should be comparable to the sales price of the home. Add items that will spark buyer’s imagination.  Helping buyers see themselves in the home is the key to selling your home.  

If You Have A Great View or Lots of Windows:

1. Create a relaxed. contemplative atmosphere.

2. Make sure the windows are very clean.

3. Keep draperies or blinds open as much as practical.

4. Create a reading nook next to the windows or a window seat.

5. Put something whimsical or beautiful outside like a bird bath or wind chimes.

 If You Have an Appealing Outdoor Deck:

1. Create an atmosphere of fun and excitement.

2. Keep the deck swept and clean.

3. Ensure patio furniture looks fresh.

4. Add colorful cushions to furniture.

5. Add an outdoor area rug or two.

6. Create a conversation area.

7. Place new cooking utensils near the grill, hang a chef’s apron nearby.

If You Have a Spacious Master Bath:

1. Create a relaxing atmosphere.

2. Add luxurious towels to create a spa-like feeling.

3. Add candles around the tub.

4. Add a new container of bubble bath and moisturizer(s)- don’t use anything that’s half-used.

5. Add one or two high-quality soap bas and an orchid or two.

6. Place travel magazines around the tub or on a table if the space permits.

III. Don’t overdo it. Don’t take the focus off the wonderful attributes of each area with too much stuff.  Balance is the key!

I’d enjoy hearing your comments or feedback…..

Feng Shui 101 – Good Feng Shui Helps You Feel Good

I think the following common expressions capture the power of Feng Shui.  “The air was so thick I could cut it with a knife.” “What you need is a change of scenery.”  These expressions explain a familiar but unseen phenomenon – energy.  Energy is the essence of Feng Shui.

After a heated argument, the energy imprint left by people in a room is palpable.  During a stressful meeting the atmosphere in a room may feel thick and heavy.  Why? Because of the energy. We all have a “sixth sense” that gives us a feeling of comfort or discomfort in an environment.  Most of us intuitively sense the type of energy in a space.

The philosophy of Feng Shui holds that the energy in your environment impacts the way you feel.  For example, do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable looking at the photo of the hallway above?  If you feel uncomfortable, you’re responding to imbalances of color, lighting, and shapes in the space.  This hallway does not have good Feng Shui.

Think about an uncomfortable feeling you’ve have had upon entering a hotel room, a restaurant, or a friend’s home.  What was it that made you feel uncomfortable?  Odds are, the way the space was decorated, the lighting, and the furniture arrangement did not feel balanced and harmonious.  When an environment is not alignment with Feng Shui principles you’ll be uncomfortable and it’ll be difficult to relax. 

Feng Shui follows nature’s principles of balance, symmetry, and flow.  The way a room is arranged exudes energy which you can feel. The essence of Feng Shui is to balance elements so that one doesn’t over-take another.  Choices such as wall color, furniture arrangement, artwork, accessories, and lighting create the type of energy in that you feel. 

Here Are Five Simple Ways to Create Balance and Flow in a Room:

1.  Arrange your furniture so that the largest and/or heaviest piece is against a wall.  In a bedroom, this is usually the bed. In a living room it’s usually a couch or media cabinet.

2. Don’t block windows. Don’t put furniture in front of windows unless you have a wall of windows or unless it’s most practical.

3. Keep things uncluttered. The first thing you see when entering each room should lift your spirits.

4. Arrange your furniture so that you can easily walk to it. Think of opening your arms to embrace someone. That’s the way each piece of furniture should be placed – open and accessible. Remove furniture if it’s blocking flow.  Even if it’s a family heirloom, if the space feels more open and accessible without it,  it’s best to remove it.

5.  Balance what’s on your walls too.  Use the open-arm analogy. Think of each opposing wall as an arm embracing you. It feels better to have each side balanced so you feel secure. If you’ve got a large media cabinet on one side of the room, make sure that the wall opposite has artwork sized proportionately to balance the space.

A good rule of thumb for decorating any space is if you feel comfortable and relaxed in the space, if you feel inspired when you walk into the space, and if love being in the space, it’s got good Feng Shui.

Comments, Questions or Feedback?  I’d love to hear from you.

Eight Clutter Clearing Tips You Can Start Today

Use the vibrancy of Spring as motivation for cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering your home or office. If you’re like me, you may put off de-cluttering your desk or organizing an over-stuffed junk drawer for as long as possible. Then, when I finally do it, I feel energized and happy.  I wonder why I waited so long.  Every client I’ve worked with has reported feeling more energetic after decluttering, and happier with the way things look and feel.

Here are Eight Tips to Help You Get Started:

1. Decluttering Your Closet.  If your bedroom closet is packed with stuff and you can’t see much of the floor, it’s time to declutter. According to Feng Shui, having too much stuff in your closet keeps you blocked from opportunities. And it just feels better when look at an organized closet.  Saves you time and stress getting dressed too!

First, make three piles of things – Yes!’s, No’s and Maybe’s. The Yes!’s will be things that you can eliminate today.  The Maybe’s will be things that you think you’ll eventually give away.  And the No’s will be things that you want to keep.  Revisit the Maybe’s every so often or until you get tired of  looking at the items. Gradually move the Maybes to the Yes!’s  Whenever you feel that you can give away something, do it immediately. The goal is to have a closet full of things that you want and will use regularly and not full of things that you haven’t worn in years.  Make it a tradition to do this at least once a year.

2. Kitchen Pantry. If every time you open the pantry you think “I really need to organize this” it’s draining your energy.  Instead, schedule a block of time and clean it out – or start simply with just one small area in the pantry and do another part tomorrow.

3. Desk Drawers. It’s easy to build clutter here.  Remember that if you can’t find what you need easily, it negatively affects your peace of mind. Try to discard unneeded items consistently throughout the year.  If you’ve got junk drawer, shedule thirty minutes for the initial clean-out, and extend the time if you need to.

4. Computer Clutter. Don’t forget to clear out the clutter in your computer…emails, old documents, old applications.  Again, start in small increments of time like 15 or 30 minutes. You may be surprised at how much you can discard in just a few minutes.

5. Refrigerator. Clean out your fridge regularly and it won’t turn into a big project when you don’t clean it for a while. I recommend setting a specific day each month like the 1st or the 6th and take just a few minutes to clean it.

6. Kid’s Rooms.  Model conscious stewardship for your children.  You can give your kids the gift of loving themselves for who they are and not what they have. Don’t allow toys to take over your home. Every few months, ask your kids to find things that they can give away to children that don’t as much.  Guide  them in the experience that giving feels good.

7. Break projects into manageable pieces. Simply say work for 30 or 50 minutes on whatever project most inspires you then stop until the next time.

8. At the beginning of each month, find at least three things in your home that you can give to friends, donate, or throw away. Then do it!  Make it a game. For motivation remember that as you create space in your home new opportunities will be drawn to you.  Remember the adage, “Nature abhors a vacuum.”

Are You a Clutter-Clinger?

Are you clinging on to too much stuff in your home or work environment Is it difficult to begin eliminating your clutter?  The vibrancy of spring makes it the natural time of year to revitalize the energy in your environment. According to Feng Shui, clearing clutter allows energy to flow easily which can restore your energy and well-being.

Having a lot of stuff naturally develops into clutter.  Some people have so much stuff that they use any space they have to store it – frequently keeping their cars outside so they can use their garage to hold their stuff. The storage  industry is booming.  Isn’t it amazing that we actually pay people to keep our stuff for us! 

When stuff fills up your home you’ll spend energy trying to live around it. Clutter keeps you unfocused and anxious.  From an energy perspective, clutter creates stagnation in your life.  And seeing clutter in your home each day creates negativity in your mind – either because you’re not happy with yourself for having the clutter or you don’t like looking at the clutter.   

The truth is that you are not your stuff.  But it’s hard to hear that message over the clamour of advertising messages which tell you that buying things is the key to happiness. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us we are our stuff.  So it’s easy to be hypnotized into believing that our stuff is part of who we are. Don’t judge yourself harshly if you’re a clutter-clinger. You can change with one small step at a time.  Simply realize that when you think of your stuff as part of your identity it’s not the truth.

Clutter clearing necessitates a change in consciousness. In order to make a change in your home you have to make a change in your thinking.  It’s not simply about cleaning out your closet, it’s about letting go of who you think you are.  You have to wrap your mind around the concept that you are the same person without those boots you love or that sweater from Neiman’s that you haven’t worn in decades.

The process can be uncomfortable. The truth is that your authentic self is perfect and doesn’t need any thing to be happy.  Using things to be happy is fleeting and you’ll find that there’s never enough. Instead, when you connect with your inner self and not the outer environment you’ll find true contentment.

Next time…Tips for Clearing Your Clutter.