Archive for the ‘home decor’ Category

How to Make a Bathroom Show Better Without a Renovation

June 19, 2012

Are there inexpensive ways to make a bathroom show better when you are selling your home, without a renovation?

The answer is a resounding YES!

In fact, when someone is selling their apartment or house, I don’t recommend a renovation as the buyers would more likely want to renovate for their own tastes and preferences.

So the objective becomes removing the “ick” factor.  What can we do to spruce up and update this space so that the condition and datedness don’t turn off a buyer?  We want to get past the buyer turn-off and at least get the bathroom to a condition where the buyer can move in and live with the way it looks for a few months before they tackle the renovation.

First of all, bathrooms should be CLEAN.  I always tell my sellers to envision a hotel bathroom:  it should be sparkling clean and free of any personal toiletries, shampoos, children’s bath toys, etc. when showing the home.

The biggest impact in updating a bathroom but at a reasonable cost is changing out outdated and/or poor condition:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Faucets and, if possible, tub and shower fixtures (a friend of mine spray painted her brass fixtures a brushed silver and they looked great and are still holding up two years later)
  • Cabinet door and drawer handles (this same friend spray painted these, including the hinges on the doors)

You don’t have to shop at high-end specialty stores for these items.  Try a Home Depot or Lowe’s.

 

Bathroom Before Updating

 

 Bathroom After Updating

(tiles regrouted, tub recaulked, walls painted, new accessories added)

The next biggest impact is to paint the walls.  Paint always freshens up any space.  But if the tiles are white, don’t paint the wall white. Choose a color that will add some contrast but is neutral such as pale gray or warm beige. And it there is wallpaper, remove it.

And if you are going to paint the walls, consider removing those large, frameless mirrors that span the length of the vanity.  These are dated, and smaller framed mirrors are more in fashion these days.

And if you’re not painting the walls and don’t want to remove the mirror, it can be updated by placing trim around it to give the appearance of being framed.

Then tackle the tub area.  If the tub is in poor condition, or of a dated color, it can be re-glazed by a professional for $400 to $500, much cheaper than removing and replacing the tub.  Often the grout between the tiles surrounding the tub is mildewed or crumbling.  A re-grouting can do wonders and make this area look like you just had new tile installed.  Also, removing old and moldy caulking at the top of the tub where it meets the tile, as well as where it meets the floor and re-caulking can give a fresh and clean appearance.

The sink, vanity and vanity top are additional areas to consider having a big impact if they are dated.  Depending upon the price point of the home you are selling, at the low end you can replace the entire unit for about $500 by buying one at the big box home improvement stores.

Or if you have an outdated oak vanity, painting it in a darker color with a semi-gloss finish, and affixing new hardware will go miles towards an updated look. 

Bathroom Before Updating

 

 Bathroom After Updating

(outdated wallpaper and brass towel bar removed, walls painted, new accessories added)

You can also just replace the vanity top, some of which come with a sink, for a few hundred dollars.

No need to replace the toilet usually, however replacing a well-worn toilet seat is a must!

In some cases where towel bars and toilet paper holders are affixed to drywall, rather than to the tile, these can be changed out as well.

Then of course there are the finishing touches:  new shower curtain and hooks, bath rug, and fluffy bath towels; artwork; matching accessories such as soap dishes and wastebasket; bath oils and soaps placed strategically in a tray or basket with rolled up towels and a loofah or back brush; and a potted fake orchid.  You want buyers to feel like they’ve walked into the closest thing to a spa and imagine themselves enjoying that space.

And before the open house or other showings, make sure:

  • Toiletries, shampoos, used bars of soap are stored away
  • Wastebasket is emptied
  • Toilet seat lid is down
  • Fluffy new towels are out and used towels are in the laundry

© Copyright 2012 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

About the Author: Donna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons. Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has. Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

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Area Rugs: Tips for Selection and Placement

August 28, 2011

Area rug When I am staging a home for sale, area rugs serve many functions in a room:

  • Defining the area, for example, a seating or dining area in a large room
  • Adding pops of color to an otherwise neutral room
  • Toning down a room that has strong and bright colored furniture
  • Adding texture to a neutral colored space

When I am doing an interior redesign, in addition to the above, area rugs also:

  • Provide comfort underfoot
  • Provide physical warmth underfoot
  • Absorb the sound in a room

Area rugs come in these common sizes:

  • 5′ x 8′
  • 6′ x 9′
  • 8′ x 10′, 8′ x 11′
  • 9′ x 12′
  • 12′ x 15′

Here are some tips when buying an area rug:

  • If you anticipate lots of traffic and wear and tear, select a patterned rug which will show stains less than a solid rug.
  • Also, a wool rug is easier to clean than a non-wool rug.
  • The shape of the rug should mirror the furniture or the room size.  For example, a rectangular dining table should have a rectangular rug underneath.  But a round dining table should have a round rug under it.

Round rug

  • In a very large room, you can have multiple area rugs, but make sure they complement and coordinate with each other. They don’t have to be identical, and ideally, we wouldn’t want them to be.
  • The area rug should take up 2/3 to 3/4 of the floor space of an area with no furniture on the rug, for example, the foyer pictured below.  Otherwise the rug will look lost.  However, a small rug right in front of the entry door would be acceptable.

Foyer Rug

  • Don’t cover the entire floor with an area rug – leave 9 to 12 inches of the floor around the edges of the rug exposed.
  • While some designers feel that area rugs on a carpet are a no-no, others say it’s okay to do so.
  • I prefer to start with the color of the sofa before choosing a rug to complement it.  Others start with the rug first, and then choose the sofa.
  • Don’t use busy rugs with large patterns with a sofa or bedding that has large patterns.
  • Use non-skid pads when needed to prevent slips and accidents.  The pad should be a few inches smaller than the rug.

  • There’s always been a debate about furniture on and off the rug, but here is some guidance:
    • At least the front legs of the furniture should be on the rug
    • All of the furniture’s legs should be on the rug, ideally, if the rug is large enough.
  • Avoid placing the rug so that the traffic pattern would have people walking with one foot on the rug and the other foot on the bare floor. And avoid placing the corner of a rug in front of a door as people may trip.
  • In a dining room, make sure that the rug is large enough that, when a person is backing out of their chair, the back legs of the chair are still on the rug.  You can use 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug as a guide.

Dining Room Rug

  • Be aware that in rooms with direct sunlight and hardwood floors, the area rug will create an outline when the floor color changes as a result of the sunlight.  Also, sunlight can fade a rug, particularly oriental rugs.
  • Also be aware of electrical outlets and vents in floors as well as the placement of rugs near doors which may not clear the rug.
  • In a bedroom, at least two sides of the bed should have the same amount of rug showing.

Bedroom with area rug

If you have any other tips about the purchase, placement or care of area rugs, please share them.

© Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

About the AuthorDonna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons.  Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has.  Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

Follow DonnaDazzo on Twitter

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How High Should Artwork Be Hung and Other Tips on Hanging Artwork

May 30, 2011

Many of us like to be surrounded by photos of our family and beautiful pieces of artwork, but are afraid we are going to “make a mistake” when hanging them on the wall. Or worse, some of us don’t even know that the pictures are not hung properly. For you and others to get the most appreciation out of your pictures, here are some helpful tips on how high a picture should be hung to how to hang a group of pictures: 

  • Generally, pictures should be hung at eye level, but whose eye level? Hang it so that the center of the picture is at 5’8″ to 5’10”.

  • The height at which it should be hung should relate to the height of the furniture (and the objects on it) and not be hung too high. Otherwise the artwork will look as if it’s floating. Hanging artwork too high is one of the most common mistakes made.

  • The width of a piece of art or group of pictures should be a minimum of 2/3 the length of the piece of furniture it is hanging over, and should not be wider than the width of the furniture it is hanging over.

  • The size of the piece of art or group of artwork should relate to the size of the wall on which it is hung.

  • If hanging two or more pictures next to each other, the ideal spacing is 3 to 4 inches between them but no more than 8 inches.
  • Use a laser level to make it easier to hang pieces side by side evenly. A laser level, which can be found in national chains such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, is placed against the wall. It emits a red laser beam along the wall so that you can find the spot to place your hook or nail, once the liquid in the bubble is at its level position.
  • While a laser level makes things easier, make sure that the pair of same-sized frames have their hooks and/or wires in the same spot. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If they don’t, then use the laser level to make sure the top of the frames are aligned, then measure down from the top of each frame to determine where you should place the nail or hook.

  • If hanging a group of pictures of different sizes, lay them out on the floor first for the optimal arrangement. There aren’t any rules here, but the arrangement should appear cohesive and balanced. You can also trace the arrangement on a very large piece of paper and then hang the paper on the wall as a guide for placement.
  • Use the proper hardware for the type of wall (e.g., sheetrock vs plaster) and the weight of the picture.
  • Use adhesive anchors like ZotsTM on the back of each corner of the frame to ensure that the picture doesn’t move.
  • If you are staging your home for sale, it is best to stay away from nudes or other artwork that might offend a potential buyer in the target market.

  • Use art to bring some color into an otherwise neutral room. Or if you are afraid to use too much of a bold color in larger pieces in the room such as bedding or the fabric of a sofa, you can still add this bold color to the room through artwork.
  • If hanging art on a wall with busy wallpaper, make sure they art you have chosen has a simple pattern and/or lots of white.
  • The pictures in a room should relate to one another in style. For example, traditional botanical prints and abstract paintings don’t really go well in the same room.
  • Placing art vertically can add the illusion of height to a room. Same with placing art horizontally: it can serve to widen the room.

  • A single large piece of art can have more impact and draw your eye to the focal point of a room more than a grouping of pictures.
  • When hanging a group of pictures on the wall of a staircase, hang them diagonally next to each other. Once you find the optimal placement for one of them, increase/decrease the height of the next one by the height of the step.

Note:  All photos are from Designd to Appeal’s stagings of homes for sale.

© Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved. 

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 About the AuthorDonna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons.  Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has.  Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

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Paint Color and Lighting: Tips and Information

March 27, 2011

Recently I attended a Color and Lighting seminar for the trade at the Benjamin Moore showroom here in New York City.   As a home stager and interior redesigner, I often recommend paint colors to homeowners looking to “stage to sell” or “stage to dwell”. 

The two speakers were a Color Engineer and the Associate Manager of Color Design. 

Here are some interesting tips I learned from their presentations: 

  • When choosing a color, paint a small swatch against a gray surface.
  • Look at a color vertically against the wall, not horizontally in your hand.
  • Two colors that may appear to match in one light source may not match under another light source. This is known as metamerism.
  • Look for a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 50% or more in paint to be used for residential interiors.  LRV is the amount of light reflected from a painted surface (0% is the blackest black and 100% is the whitest white).  The LRV for Benjamin Moore paint colors is listed in the index at the back of the Benjamin Moore “fan decks” (available through your paint store or design professional).
  • When choosing a light bulb, try to get a Color Ranking Index (CRI) of 80% to 85% in order to show true and saturated colors.
  • Incandescent light bulbs have a CRI of 100% but unfortunately will be phased out of production by 2014.
  • Halogen light bulbs have the next highest CRI but they too will probably go the way of incandescent bulbs.
  • Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs have a lower quality of CRI – 75%.
  • LEDs are the newest form of lighting but have a very low CRI.  However, they are great for outdoor lighting.

To set up an appointment for a Paint Color Consultation, contact me at donna@designedtoappeal.com.

© Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved. 

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About the AuthorDonna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons.  Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has.  Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

Follow DonnaDazzo on Twitter

 
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Home Staging New York: Benjamin Moore’s 2011 Paint Colors of the Year

December 2, 2010

In home staging, we like to stick to a neutral color palette so that we can make the home that’s for sale appeal to the broadest range of buyers.  However neutral does not have to mean boring.

I love to use pops of color (red, turquoise, orange, greens, blues) in throw pillows, artwork and decorative objects against the more neutral background colors (beige, grays, whites) in the furniture, bedding and walls.

Even so, I love to see what colors the major paint companies forecast to be THE colors for the upcoming year.

Benjamin Moore’s color designers are forecasting vintage wine  as their Envision Color 2011’s Color of the Year

Benjamin Moore Vintage Wine

Vintage Wine

2116-20   

According to Benjamin Moore’s website: 

“First seen on the fashion runways of New York, Paris, and Milan, this rich hue with a deep brown base and a hint of smoky violet is just as magnificent in the home.

As an undertone in many of the latest wood finishes, leathers, and other textiles, vintage wine, and its lighter variations, will make a great paint color pick for many applications over the coming years.

From deep smoky wine to wildly pumped up fuchsia, purple promises to be a predominant color in home décor in 2011.”

Forecasted Colors for 2011

 
In addition to their Color of the Year, the Benjamin Moore color team also comes up with a palette of colors they are forecasting for the coming year.  The color team reviews cultural, social, and political conditions and looks at how they affect fashion and design trends. Their analysis led to a central Balance theme with three related “style movements”—Soulful, Spirited and Dreamy.  Each of these style movements were then defined by six Benjamin Moore colors.

Soulful…


Communications technology has drawn the global cultures closer.  What may have seemed strange now appears familiar to us.  On the style front, this is visible in ethnic designs, pattern-on-pattern, and handmade decoration such as beading and embroidery. Colors that reflect this include Benjamin Moore’s:

  • Vintage Wine 2116-20
  • Wasabi AF-430
  • Amulet AF-365
  • Casco Bay 2051-30
  • Hush AF-95
  • Etruscan AF – 355

Spirited…


By spirited, this means anything that makes you feel happy, joyful, playful. In fashion and furnishings it’s reflected in designs featuring geometrics, stripes and cubes,  and dots and curlicues. Loud and bright colors are  balanced with gray, black and white. Benjamin Moore colors comprising this palette are:

  • Royal Flush 2076-20
  • Grape Green 2027-40
  • Wrought Iron 2124-10
  • Paper Mache AF-25
  • Storm AF-700
  • Lucerne AF-350

Dreamy…

 
From a design perspective, dreamy means transparency, sheerness, blurriness and softness.  The Benjamin Moore colors that reflect this style or mood are:

  • Gray Mirage 2142-50
  • Genesis White 2134-70
  • Porcelain 2113-60
  • Etiquette AF-50
  • Kendall Charcoal HC-166
  • Smoke 2122-40

Each year Benjamin Moore announces their predictions for the upcoming year in a booklet that’s free and available through the company’s extensive network of stores.  The booklet contains decorating ideas, photo illustrations, plus the forecasted palette of 18 colors for 2011.

© Copyright 2010 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Our website:  www.designedtoappeal.com

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