At Home Entertainment for the Entire Family

One of the best things that we can do right now to protect both ourselves and our friends and neighbors is to stay home. Unfortunately, there are only so many times that you can watch Tiger King or listen to your kids sing along with Elsa on Disney+. You need something new to do, and it needs to be something that the whole family can enjoy while you’re all staying safe at home.

There are some unique opportunities available right now that may never be available again once this is all over. They provide experiences that the whole family can enjoy that aren’t just the same old TV shows. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few activities that you might consider that would give your family some new things to do.

A Virtual Reunion

With record numbers of people working and doing schoolwork at home, more people are using video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams than ever before. These services aren’t just for work, however. You can use them to get in touch with family from around the country, and even schedule a “virtual reunion” to catch up and check in with each other. This can be a recurring event, letting you stay connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic. You may even grow closer as a family despite the distance.

Museum and Zoo Tours

Even though museums and zoos are currently closed to the public, a number of high-profile museums and zoos have started offering virtual online tours for free. You can go online and view great works of art, watch animals relaxing during their downtime, and even see unique things like puppies getting to run wild in an aquarium. On top of these custom experiences, many zoos and similar facilities have webcams focused on specific exhibits that you can check out throughout the year.

Learn Something New

To help families pass the time, many online learning platforms are offering extended free trials so that people can pick up new skills or learn interesting things while in self-isolation. On top of that, some teachers and experts are streaming free courses on Zoom and other platforms as well. There is a wide range of content available for both kids and adults, meaning that there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Start (or Join) a Book Club

Reading is a great way to pass the time, and you can share that with the family by starting a family book club. The premise is simple: Everyone picks out a book, and once a week you get together and discuss what you’re reading. Even younger children can participate; let them pick out a book that they want you to read, and at the meet-up you can let them show off the book and tell everyone about it.

If you want a bit more social interaction with your book club, you can also look into online book clubs that are a bit closer to traditional book club offerings. These can have members from across the nation or around the world. Some of them operate on dedicated websites, and others use social media groups. Either way, there should be options available for most readers.

Listen to a Story

Even if you don’t feel like doing all of that reading, there are a good number of authors and celebrities doing podcasts and videos in which they read a variety of books or stories. Quite a few of these are aimed at children, but some of them are more tailored to adults as well. Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) has even recently launched a video version of his podcast Levar Burton Reads with a wide range of content.

A Night in at the Movies

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be able to take the family out to see some of the many movies that would be in theaters right now. But that’s not possible now that all the theaters are closed. So instead, movie theaters are adapting. Special digital rentals are now available for recent box-office hits that ordinarily wouldn’t be available for rental yet, so that a wider audience can enjoy them. And some movies that were scheduled for early summer release, such as Trolls World Tour, are also making their debut via digital rental. So pop some popcorn and enjoy these new and recent blockbusters all from the privacy and safety of your own home.

Staying Connected with Modern Technology

Our world is significantly different than the world we knew just a year ago. Around the world, people face self-isolation and quarantine as we work to stop the spread of the virus causing COVID-19. This can be scary, especially for those who live alone or who have distant loved ones that they’re worried about. Fortunately, we also live in a world where modern technology brings us closer together even as we must stay apart.

There are a number of ways that modern technology can help us stay connected. While some of these depend on you having the right pieces of hardware. Others are software solutions that almost anyone can use. If you’re feeling lonely, here are a few tech solutions that might help bring you closer to friends and loved ones.

VoIP Solutions

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and VoIP-like phone services are seeing increasingly widespread use around the world. These services allow you to make voice and even video calls over the internet. Services that let you stay connected without the need for a landline phone or cellular service. Many of these services allow for text chat as well, and most are available both on a computer and as a smartphone app.

Video Conferencing Software

When you need something more robust or sophisticated than what a VoIP solution offers, video-conferencing options like Zoom and GoToMeeting can help. Video conferencing software lets you connect people from multiple locations into a single chat. Most of these solutions allow for video, voice and even text chat. Making sure people aren’t left out if they don’t have a webcam or have slow internet service. Some of these options even allow the use of virtual backgrounds. Set a favorite photo or other image as a backdrop for your video call as an added bit of fun.

Virtual Vacations

To help people around the world have something to do, many zoos, museums and other public spaces have taken to streaming video or offering up other virtual options while they are closed. A family trip that was canceled can be virtually simulated through a conference call between multiple households. They can embark on a virtual tour together so everyone experiences it at the same time.

Community Groups

A lot of people already use social media to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, people are turning to sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected even to close friends. By setting up private groups or interacting on specific posts, isolated friends can still share stories and humor, post pictures and share status updates, and generally stay up to date on everyone’s well-being.

The Rise of eSports

One thing that got a lot of people to pay attention and start taking COVID-19 seriously was when various sports organizations started cancelling their usual events and seasons. In the time since, people have started paying more attention to online gaming competitions and eSports. There a wide range of games that people can watch online and then talk about with friends and family, and some professional athletes have started playing and streaming their games as well. Some race car drivers have even taken to having online races using various video games.

Senior-Friendly Options

There are an increasing number of options available to help families stay in touch with seniors. In addition to VoIP software and similar solutions, there are dedicated hardware devices like tablets designed with senior ease-of-use in mind. These devices coordinate with apps placed on the phones or other devices of family members, giving seniors one-touch access to their families so everyone can stay connected. This also helps families check in with their senior friends and relatives to calm fears that they might be under the weather.

In It Together

As you can see, there are several options available to keep in touch even while we have to stay physically distant. This isn’t an exclusive list. You may have additional options available not covered here. No matter what you use, check in with friends and loved ones periodically. Maintaining social contact and ensuring that everyone is okay is only a click away.

Get Ready to DIY!

While everyone’s staying at home, a lot of people are hesitant to bring in outsiders for things like painting or smaller construction projects. This could be the perfect time to tackle some of those tasks as do-it-yourself jobs! There are many things around the house that you can do without having to bring in outside help. Or at the very least, you can get started and bring in someone else to finish later.

One common pitfall for aspiring DIYers is not quite being prepared for the task at hand. Since the current goal is to limit trips out of the house to only the essentials, it’s a good time to take stock of what you have on hand and determine what if anything you might need for those DIY projects. Here are some common things that you should check so you’ll know if you need to make a trip to stock up.

Common Supplies

There are a few things that will come in handy for almost any DIY project. These are items like sandpaper, wood glue, cleaners, rags, tape and lubricants. While not all of these will be used for every project you might tackle, if you don’t have any of them on hand then you’ll likely need to restock before your tasks are finished.

Tools

It’s hard to do it yourself if you don’t have anything to do it with. At the very least you’ll likely need tools like a drill, a hammer, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, wrenches and other common tools. If you have specific tasks in mind that require specialized tools, then you’ll need to make sure that you have those on hand too. You should also check to make sure that your tools are in good condition; too much rust or other corrosion can cause serious problems and possibly even result in broken tools once you get to work.

Screws, Nails and Fasteners

Chances are, you’ll need to have some screws, nails or other fasteners for the work that you’re doing. Don’t just assume that whatever you have on hand will work for any job, though. Screws for example come in different lengths, materials and head types, and if they don’t match the job that you’re doing or the tools that you have then you’re not going to be happy with the results.

Brushes and Rollers

Will you be doing any painting, staining or other similar applications? Make sure that you have the right type of brushes, rollers and other application tools for the job. Different types of paints, stains and glues/pastes all apply differently, so you’ll need to match your tools to the type of material you want to put down.

Shovels and Garden Tools

Working outside is a pretty common DIY task, but make sure that you have the right tools for the job. Shovels, hoes and rakes are all common outdoor tools, but you may also need a tiller or other equipment as well. You should also make sure that you have the right type of shovel or rake for your needs. A flat-nose shovel is good for spreading gravel, for instance, but won’t do you a lot of good if you need to dig a hole to plant a shrub.

Getting Ready to DIY

Once you’ve taken an inventory of the supplies you have with you, make a list of the DIY tasks you’d like to tackle around the house. See how your current supplies will meet the needs of those tasks, writing down anything that you seem to be missing. Take your time to plan out your various DIY projects, prioritizing those things that you can do without any additional materials. If you absolutely must get additional materials for your projects, do your best to make a list of everything that you’ll need so that you can wrap up your DIY shopping with a single trip. Or, better yet, place an online order that’s shipped directly to your house.

Steps to Take When Searching for an Accessible Home for Sale

Finding the perfect home is hard when you need specific features to accommodate a mobility issue. However, there are many homes that have a lot of potential if you know what to look for. Certain renovations can also make a decent home into the perfect fit. Below, learn more about the steps you can take to find a home that suits all your needs.

Make a List of Must-Haves

The first step in any house search is to make a list of the features you can’t live without. Perhaps you are looking for an open concept or single-story home, which will make it easier to get around. Or, maybe you need a home without carpeting or stairs to worry about. When jotting down your list, make sure you are mindful of what counts as a need versus a want. Many prospective homebuyers skip over great homes because they filter out results that don’t fit their wants. In reality, wants are just optional features that make a home nice but aren’t necessarily deal-breakers.

Look for Homes with Potential

If you’re having trouble finding homes, consider broadening your search to include a wider variety. When you need to accommodate a mobility issue, a two-story house might still be a dealbreaker. However, a small issue like wall-to-wall carpeting can be remedied. Homes with narrow doorways, small bathrooms, or cramped bedrooms might present a challenge as well. However, keep in mind that doorways can be widened with some minor
construction work. Rooms can also be converted to serve a different purpose. A bathroom remodel is one of the more common projects you might have to undertake. Putting in accessible bathroom features like grab bars or a new sink with better clearance might be all you need if the room is large enough. If a home has a small bathroom, it can also be expanded by borrowing space from an adjacent room or hallway. This is a more in-depth project, but keep in mind that having a larger bathroom can often increase the resale value of your home. If you don’t have the space or budget to expand or convert an existing room, you’re not out of luck. As Accessible Construction points out, even tiny bathrooms can have potential.

Budget for Renovations

Whether you need to accommodate a mobility issue or not, it’s pretty common to plan renovations when moving to a new home. Having a good home renovation budget is crucial when shopping for a home. Researching what typical remodel projects cost will help you get a realistic idea of your expenses. If you plan on putting in hardwood floors, for example, you’ll typically pay between $6 and $22 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. However, the type of material you choose plays a big role. Materials such as pine and bamboo are much cheaper, while exotic hardwoods and
engineered wood are more expensive. What’s more, you’ll also have to factor in the expense of removing and disposing of old flooring materials.
Putting in hard floors is a great way to make a home more accessible, but as an added benefit, it may also increase the value of the home. Not only that, but hard flooring is also easier to clean and maintain than carpeting.

Make a Renovation Timeline

Depending on the scope of your planned renovations, it might take a while to get your home in perfect condition. Some renovations are fast, such as cosmetic repairs. Putting in new hardwood flooring is also a relatively quick project, taking about 10 days from start to finish in most cases. However, any time you plan on redoing a whole room or making structural changes, it’ll take a lot longer and you’ll need to plan accordingly.

House hunting can be stressful when you have a long list of must-have features. However, by looking for homes with a lot of potential, it’s easy to transform just about any house into one that accommodates all your needs.

Guest written by: Patrick Young

 

Activities You Can do with the Entire Family

With the current state of the world, people are spending more time at home than ever. This provides for some great opportunities to bond as a family, and also gives some of us a bit more time to get things done around the house. Spending more time with your family can lead to some questions, though. One of the biggest is “Exactly what are we supposed to do now that we’re together?” Yikes! Without the breaks afforded by work, school and other activities, trying to come up with activities for the whole family can seem a bit overwhelming.

If you need some ideas on how to spend that family time, here are a few suggestions to get you started. Not only will these ideas help you to spend some quality time together as a family, but some of them might help you with some of those tasks around the house as well!

Planning (and Planting) a Garden

Even though the year has gotten off to a rocky start, time waits for no one. We’re already getting into gardening season, so it’s time to start prepping the soil and starting your seeds. Since you’ve got the family all there at home, try to get everyone else involved as well. Plan out the size and shape of your garden plot and make a list of everyone’s favorite fruits and veggies to help decide what to plant. You can even get younger kids involved by letting them make row markers featuring pictures of everything you plan to grow.

Family Game Nights

Game nights are a classic, but sometimes it can be hard to fit them in. Timing isn’t as much of an issue these days, however, so let’s play some games! These could be anything from board games to multiplayer video games or even tabletop role-playing games. Let the family decide on the specifics and plan out a new game night every week to help keep everyone entertained.

Movie Time

Going to the movies is a popular family activity. Just because the theaters are closed doesn’t mean you have to give up on enjoying a film together, though. Make some popcorn, break out some snacks and cue up a favorite film on the TV. Several studios are releasing movies for sale or rental early, and some have even put new releases up for rental on streaming services even though they should still be in a theatrical run, so you can still catch some of the films that you might have planned on seeing as a family anyway.

Plan Some Redecorations

Were you hoping to redecorate this spring? You still can, and you can get the family involved in the process as well. Let everyone help pick out paint colors and decorations, especially in their bedroom or other rooms where they spend a significant amount of time. Even if you can’t get everything that you need for the project right now, this will let you plan things out in advance so that you’ll be ready to start once it’s go time.

Activities From a Hat

If you aren’t sure what to do, have everyone get together and make a list of three things that you’d like to do as a family. Once you’ve got the lists made, put them all on a hat or other container and draw one of the lists out. Look at the listed items and let the family vote on which activity you’d like to do from the list. If you’re worried that the same person might win too many times, the next time you do it, have the person who won sit out the suggestions and be the one to draw the winning list instead.

Time Alone, Together

Sometimes, one of the best things that you can do as a family is just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t assume that you have to fill up every available moment with activities. Take some time to read books, give the kids some screen time or do some other individual downtime activities. You can take this downtime in the same room, spending casual time together without having to be “on” and actively doing things together all the time.

6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Stay Pest-Free

With spring-like temperatures moving in and working from home, many of us are putting together spring-cleaning checklists. Spring is a great time to not only get your backyard ready for summer fun, but to also conduct an inspection of your home with an eye towards potential pest problems.

1. Eliminate clutter

All the stuff we store in our homes provides lots of places for rodents and other pests to hide out. Basements, attics, and garages that often go undisturbed for long periods of time are some of their favorite spots. Keep your home free of clutter by getting rid of no longer needed items. Store all your belongings in air-tight plastic containers to keep pests out and your belongings protected.

Clutter gives pests great places to hide and makes them difficult to detect. Having a lot of stuff can also make it harder to clean under and behind things – places pests love to hide and build nests. This could also make pests difficult to control, even for the professionals. Eliminating clutter can help eliminate pests in your home.

2. Watch your wires

Electrical boxes and wiring are a favorite of pests looking for a warm place to live in colder weather. Open electrical boxes and look for living or dead insects. Check for damage before you touch wires; even if you don’t think it has a charge running through it. Damaged wires can overload and short out and damage attached appliances. Exposed wires can also overheat and spark, which could lead to dangerous electrical fires.

Rodents love to sharpen their teeth on electrical cords. They frequently chew plastic—especially the soft plastic cover over cords—and expose the encased wiring. They can also damage the wire itself thereby releasing the electrical current. Rodent-related electrical damage is especially dangerous because it often goes unnoticed. If you notice anything suspicious, alert your pest specialist.

3. Don’t feed the animals (or pests)

Pet food, birdseed and dry food items are tempting snacks for hungry pests. Keep dried foods and grains in your pantry contained in sealed, pest-proof containers. The same holds true for pet foods. If your pets are messy eaters, make sure to clean up after they are done. Keep areas swept and empty bowls after your furry friends have eaten. Hose down outside spaces after barbecues. Finally, if your kids snack in rooms other than the kitchen, make sure pick up after.

4. Seal cracks, crevices and gaps

Pests of all kinds can make their way into your home through the smallest gaps and cracks. Particularly near windows, doors, roof lines, or around electrical wiring and vents. These areas should be sealed to prevent pests from getting in. Eliminating potential pest entry points into your home is the best defense you can take to prevent an indoor infestation. Sealing your home can have additional benefits such as reducing energy costs, preventing water damage, and making your home more secure.

5. Fix leaks and eliminate standing water

Moisture of any kind is a huge attractant for pests, including termites, mosquitoes, and rodents. Remove items that may collect water – toys, plant pots, non-functioning birdbaths, etc. Make sure subareas are dry, and that gutters are cleaned. Any leaking faucet or plumbing, both inside and out, should be repaired.

Wipe down kitchen countertops and bathroom sinks. Some insects like spiders, silverfish, and ants may enter your home through water pipes. If parts of your home are humid or damp in warmer months, a dehumidifier can help control excess moisture.

6. Clean up the yard.

Leaves, tree stumps, and other plant waste offer hiding places and safe harbors for pests. Trees hanging over roofs can also give pests access to your home. To prevent pests from invading your home this spring, rake and clean up plant debris, especially under porches and decks.  Keep trees trimmed, leaving at least a three-foot clearance between the tree and any structure.  Remove dead branches and brush, and store firewood at least 25 feet away from your home.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

New to Working From Home? Top Tips.

Working from home can be a challenge, especially when you’re not used to it. There are a lot of distractions that can interfere with your work, sometimes causing you to get so off track that you end up behind on important tasks. While many consider working from home to be a great perk, if you’ve never worked from home before then you might be surprised at just how stressful it can be!

Fortunately, you’re not on your own. These are stressful times, and we’re here to help you get through them. To that end, here are some tips that will make working from home for the first time a lot easier.

Set Up Your Space

When you think of working from home, you might picture yourself lounging on the couch in your pajamas with a laptop on your lap. While some people do choose to work like this when working from home, for most home workers this sort of setup is going to kill any productivity they might have. Instead of taking a “work wherever I end up” approach, set up a desk or office space that’s intended solely for work-related activities. This will help you to stay on task when you’re at work and will keep work activities from bleeding over into leisure time.

Check Your Equipment

If you’re used to having in-person meetings during the week, getting used to remote meetings via a video service like Zoom or Skype can be a bit of an adjustment. To make this easier, check your equipment beforehand to ensure that everything will work correctly when it’s time to start a meeting. This includes checking your webcam, your microphone and your speakers to make sure everything functions properly. There are websites and software solutions that help you with this, and some platforms like Zoom have built-in tests as well.

Keep to a Schedule

One common misconception about working from home is that you automatically gain the freedom to work whenever you feel like working. While this may be true for some industries, if you’ve been working 9 to 5 for the last 10 years then that isn’t likely to change much just because your office is now in your guest room. Keep as close as possible to your regular schedule, allowing for possible reduced hours or other differences brought about by working from home. It can help to print out a copy of your “office hours” as well, both as a reminder to others that you’re busy with work and a reminder to yourself that you’re supposed to be on the job.

Avoid Distractions

It’s said that one of the hard things about working from home is the fact that home is where we keep all our favorite distractions. This includes a lot of things, ranging from games to books to the TV. It also includes family members, who can be hard to ignore when you’re supposed to be on the job. As much as possible, try to avoid interacting with the people and things in your home unless you’re taking a break from work activities.

Don’t Make Deals

It’s easy to tell yourself that if you do something unrelated to work now, you’ll make up the work that you’re supposed to be doing later. Unfortunately, this tends to snowball, and the next thing you know you’re behind on everything you’re supposed to be doing. Avoid making these sorts of deals; instead choose to do those things or have those conversations during your next scheduled break, just like you would do if you were still going in to work. If there’s something you want to do that won’t fit into a regular break, try to get your current tasks done BEFORE you take the time off instead of bargaining that you’ll wrap it up after.

Stay Connected

Isolation is difficult, especially if you’re used to working closely with your coworkers. You can fight this by calling them up, collaborating over video or even sending out daily emails or texts to check on everyone. Even though it’s not the one-on-one interaction you’re used to, the contact you have with your coworkers can still make a huge difference.

Just like we are getting used to the new normal with working at home, there is a quickly developing new normal in buying and selling homes. If you are looking to do either, contact us, we will walk you through the process with your health and well-being top of mind!

Ways to Support Local Businesses

Things are uncertain. Times are scary. People are afraid. In times like these, it’s important to band together as a community and support each other in any way possible. Local small businesses are an essential part of what keeps your community thriving and growing. Without your support during these tough times, some may not survive to see the sun come out again.

How are you supposed to do that in a limited-contact or social isolation scenario, though? Fortunately, there are still several options available that will help you to help those local businesses that keep your community running.

Buy Gift Certificates

One great way to support local businesses is to buy gift cards and gift certificates even if you don’t need them right now. This allows you to make a simple purchase that minimizes potential contact while giving the business that issued the certificate some much-needed income. Once things improve, you can then return to the business and take your time using the gift cards you purchased. As an added bonus, they’re also easy to give to others if you know someone who’s in need.

Buy Branded Merchandise

Another good option is to buy branded merchandise such as t-shirts or coffee mugs that advertise the business. On top of the usual benefits of making a purchase, these items help to advertise the business as well. As an added bonus, buying branded merchandise helps you to show the business owner that you’re there to support the business specifically.

Order Online or On the Phone

Can’t get out? Check and see which businesses in your area offer online ordering and make use of that feature. If you can’t order online, give them a call and inquire about placing an order. You can even make arrangements for delivery or pickup while you’re on the phone.

Tip for Deliveries and Carry-Outs

A lot of people are relying on delivery and carry-out orders these days, especially from local restaurants. Unfortunately, a lot of people tip very little if at all for these services. Remember that a lot of employees are facing reduced hours in this stressful time, and every dollar helps. Be sure to tip even if you normally wouldn’t, and be generous when you do.

Spread the Word

There are many types of support. Financial support is definitely important for local businesses trying to stay open, but not everyone can help out financially. If you can’t afford to shop right now, try to get the word out on social media and other platforms. Share posts, talk about the businesses that you’d like to support and even post pictures of yourself wearing some branded merch. Every little bit helps, and someone might see your post and decide that they need to support local shops as well.

Donate Your Refunds

A major problem that small venues face is the refunding of canceled events. They’ve already spent money on advertising and racked up other costs, and now they’re losing their portion of ticket sales. If you have tickets for an event that was canceled and unlikely to be rescheduled, call the box office and inquire about donating your refund instead. While not all venues will do this, donating your ticket price lets those that do recoup some of what they spent and may even help them to stay open in the face of additional cancellations.

Be Considerate

Local businesses are a part of your community, and as such they want to see the community thrive. Situations like this are very stressful for business owners and employees alike, and the last thing that they want to see is people fighting over merchandise or those in need having to do without because someone else hoarded all the toilet paper. When shopping at local businesses, be courteous to other shoppers, maintain a safe distance so no one is crowded, and avoid the temptation to grab everything when you just need one or two items.

Shop Local

If you need to find local businesses and professionals to support, ask us. We can help you to find locals who need your support. Together we’ll get through this.

Is Wallpaper Making a Comeback?

Wallpaper has been around for thousands of years in one form or another, with wallpaper-like wall coverings being used in China in 200 B.C. Modern style wallpaper with repeating patterns on continuous sheets was created by Jean-Michel Papillion in 1675, and it has remained a popular option ever since.

Although a staple in interior décor, wallpaper hasn’t always been consistently loved. Like many interior design trends, its popularity has waxed and waned over the years.

In the past couple of years, wallpaper has been poised for a comeback. As more and more homeowners turn to wallpaper as an element in their home decoration plans, new trends are starting to emerge. Does that mean that wallpaper is really making a return? It certainly looks that way, and modern wallpaper is definitely leaving its own mark on interior design.

Wallpaper Textures

Textured wallpapers are nothing new, but there are several newer wallpapers that take texture to an extreme that would make older wallpapers clutch their pearls. Embossed designs, brick or wood textures, faux bamboo and even delightfully smooth and satiny wallpapers are changing what people think of when they consider what wallpaper feels like. Not only does textured wallpaper give your walls a novel tactile sensation, but some textures can even change the way the wallpaper looks by creating a 3D effect.

Gradients

Most people think of wallpaper as having a more or less consistent repeating pattern. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Many modern wallpaper designs incorporate gradients that let the colors on your walls change from floor to ceiling. Sometimes this effect can be subtle, but other wallpapers incorporate transitions between bold colors that really stand out. These can be a great way to accent specific colors in your décor or help direct attention to key pieces of furniture.

Bold Prints

In the past, wallpaper has run the gamut from subtle coloration to borderline “too much.” Bolder manufacturers are inching as close to the edge as possible without crossing the line, offering up strikingly bold prints and color palettes. Complex florals, colorful graphics, and even wallpapers that create volumetric effects might seem like they’re just a tad too much, but in the right room they can add that pop that brings your décor to life.

Metallics

Wallpaper that incorporates metallic tones isn’t new, but some modern wallpaper is pushing it a step further. Instead of simply using metallic tones as accents or working with flat metallics, modern wallpapers use metallic coloring along with texture and design to create effects like brushed steel, metal plating and other metal-like designs. Capture the look and feel of metal without the substantial cost, weight, and hassle involved with installing metal plating on your walls.

Combining Wallpaper Styles

One trend that’s really coming to the forefront with modern wallpaper is combining different wallpaper styles within the same room to really make the room stand out. Similar effects were created in the past using paint and wallpaper, but this modern trend uses contrasting wallpaper styles to better incorporate the textures and other features of wallpaper within the room. This can profoundly change both the look and feel of the room, transforming it from a basic living space into an experience that has to be seen to be believed. Even if you don’t take things quite that far, you can run with this trend to help match that couch that doesn’t go with anything.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

While wallpaper has been hiding in the shadows it never really went away. Classics never do. They reinvent and reappear. If you’re ready to embrace this new design diversion contact us, we can help. As Realtors and Interior Designers, we know how to help you traverse through the design trade.

https://www.zimmer-rohde.com/en/zr/collections/fabric-detail/?id=2750058

Make Your Pantry do More!

A pantry is a great thing to have. Not only does it store all your dry goods in one place, but you can also use your pantry to better organize your kitchen and house appliances. Whether it’s a space the size of a small closet or a walk-in the size of a small room, your pantry is an important part of your overall kitchen experience.

With that said, have you been silently wishing your pantry could do just a bit more? Here are a few ways that you can modify your pantry to add additional functionality and really get the most out of that storage space. Best of all, many of these ideas work regardless of the size of your pantry!

Multi-Height Shelving

Most pantries feature shelves that are fairly evenly spaced within the pantry. However, you can get more usable space out of the pantry if you break up that symmetry. Fit in more shelf space by leaving a shelf or two with a lot of headroom and then placing other shelves a bit closer together. If you really want to maximize the effect, install vertical dividers on shelves so you can have one side be tall and add a smaller half-shelf on the other side.

Undershelf Baskets

Another great way to increase storage is to add undershelf baskets that slide out when you need them. These baskets are available in different sizes depending on your needs and can be used for bagged items, loaf bread or other lighter or more fragile items.

Zone Organization

To make better use of your pantry, consider designing a zone organization plan. A zone organization plan places your canned goods in one area, your pastas in another, breads and cereals in another … whatever groupings you want can work! You can modify each zone to meet the shelving and storage needs of of the items being stored, the frequency of required access, and accessibility needs of individuals. When you’re done organizing, add labels to the shelves to identify the zones and make items easier to find and or easier restocking.

Tool and Utensil Storage

A lot of people think that a pantry is just a place to store food items. It’s also a great place to put your kitchen tools and other utensils so they’re out of the way. Add hooks or drawers in the pantry to hold lesser-used utensils so that they’re out of the kitchen but easy to find when you need them. You can even put small kitchen appliances in your pantry as well.

Take Notes

Add a chalkboard, whiteboard or other writing surface to your pantry so that you can make shopping lists, jot down meal ideas or otherwise take notes without having to leave the pantry area. If the pantry has a door, you can even add a coat of chalkboard or dry erase paint on the inside to give you an extended notetaking area.

Door Racks

If you have spices, small containers or other small items to keep in your pantry, consider adding racks on the back of your pantry door as a place to keep them organized but out of the way. Depending on the type of door and what it’s made of, you can either install them directly to the door or simply use an over-the-door hanging rack.

Spin It Around

Lazy Susan units are a great way to get more use out of your pantry space. Depending on your needs and your available space, you can go as simple as a one- or two-tier unit sitting on a shelf or use a bigger floor-to-ceiling unit to make a full revolving section of your pantry. Not a fan of the Susan, look for other options such as blind-corner cabinets or pull-out drawers.

Roll-Out Shelves

If you have limited space and want to make the most of it, consider investing in roll-out shelves or full-width drawers for your pantry. This lets you slide out the shelf that you need and access it all the way to the back so that you can place your shelves closer together than you might be able to with stationary shelving.

Revitalize Your Pantry

Do you need a contractor to help you pull off your pantry revamp? You’re in luck! Luxe Realty Group is here to help you find the perfect contractor for the job. Simply contact us today and we can help you get the pantry of your dreams.