Hot Decor for Winter 2019 Will Give Your Home a Cool Refresh

Just like fashion, decor trends change from season to season. And the cooler light of winter demands a different look—a space where you’ll happily hunker down, comfy and snug until the ground thaws. (Those palm leaf–print linen throw pillows scattered around your living room aren’t exactly cozying up the joint up, are they?)

So you should treat your home to the same eye you give your wardrobe when the weather forecast shifts. It’s time to revamp with the coldest season’s hottest home trends. After all, you’re going to be stuck inside anyway—so you might as well get to work redecorating, right?

Dusty pink

Photo by Sims Hilditch
Call it (if you must) the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” effect: Vintage dusty pink will be huge in the home decor world this winter, experts predict.

It “conjures up thoughts of being soft, yet strong,” says Paula Taylor, lead designer at Graham & Brown, a wallpaper design and manufacturing company. “It has a duality to its personality and is sophisticated, yet fun. You may see dusty pink upholstery lightening up dark dining chairs, for example, or even to create an accent wall with a wall covering that will bring some character to a lifeless room.”

The move toward pink isn’t a winter fling, either. Our 2019 decor forecastsays all shades of the rosy hue will continue to reign supreme in the coming year.

What to buy:


Dark wall colors

Photo by Branca, Inc.
While designers might be turning to light pink for furniture and accessories, they’re going to a dark place for paint colors.

Despite conventional wisdom, a dark wall looks chic—and not at all depressing, insists Marina Case, principal designer at The Red Shutters. In fact, dark colors such as black and navy can make your furniture and art really pop.

But take note: This trend looks best in interior spaces—such as hallways and powder rooms—rather than in a large living space that has a lot of natural light.

“You would think [dark colors] make a room look smaller, but they actually make the room look larger,” Case says. “For example, an entry foyer or a bedroom vestibule is a great place to do a dark wall. And as for how to accessorize, white moldings look great against this look.”

What to buy: Racoon Fur 2126-20, Benjamin Moore


Grass-cloth furniture

Photo by Elms Interior Design
Grass cloth—that handwoven stuff that was all the rage in the ’60s and ’70s—is making a comeback in a big way. Typically used for wallpaper, grass cloth today is found on coffee tables, benches, mirror frames, and more. It might seem strange to incorporate such a summery trend during this particular season, but adding a low-key tropical feel during winter’s most frigid months can really cheer things up.

“Grass cloth is trending because it adds a whole other texture to the room, and manufacturers have figured out how to do it successfully with furniture,” Case says.

But budget buyers, beware: This look might not be for you.

“Making grass cloth is not an easy process, so you can expect to pay a higher price for this type of furniture,” Case says.

Indeed, grass-cloth furniture on Etsy can easily run upward of $1,000. True grass cloth is handwoven, so if you stumble upon something that looks like a steal, it’s probably not the real deal.

What to buy: Custom grass-cloth mirror, Etsy, $300


Maximalist fabrics and prints

Photo by Studio G Interior Design Ltd
This season, expect to see our living spaces embrace the maximalist trend. (The Romanoffs would surely approve.)

“This winter will be a celebration of luxurious fabrics like brocade, silk, damask, and velvet,” says Emily McCrary, a home decor expert at House Method. “Find these in rich colors—like magenta, chartreuse, emerald, crimson, tangerine, and inky black—and loud patterns that announce themselves proudly.”

It’s a decor scheme that might seem excessive, McCrary says, but trust us—it has a natural fit in your home in the gloomy wintertime.

“We see luxurious fabrics, wild patterns, and maximalism rise in popularity during winter, because we crave the warm jewel boxes of our homes, we love throwing parties, we love celebrating the excess of the holidays,” McCrary says. “It lays the perfect palette for the spirit of the season—even after the holidays are over.”

What to buy:


White-painted floors

Photo by Johann Grobler Architects
You wouldn’t dare mess with your beautiful, natural wooden floors, right? Well, design experts suggest you might want to consider painting hardwood floors (and wood-paneled walls) white.

It’s a decor choice that’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s a “big risk, big reward” scenario, promises Gillian Grefé, a design expert at

“These days, risk-taking is being seen in more permanent places like floors and countertops,” she says. “The application of white instead of ‘natural’ colors is bolder than you’d think, and it is an easy, quick, and affordable update.”

Grefé says her clients may be skeptical at first, but love the look in the end.

“People are enjoying the delight in taking a risk,” she says.

By  | Dec 21, 2018


Buying and Selling a House at the Same Time: Where to Begin

Buying a new home while selling your current one is a balancing act. Here are some practical tips to help you succeed as both a buyer and seller.

Buying a new home at the same time as you’re selling your old home is all about timing — and some luck, of course. And while you can’t control everything that happens during the complicated buying and selling process, there are some things you can do to set yourself up for smooth closings — maybe even on the same day!

Consider this key information on how to buy and sell a house at the same time.

Evaluate the local housing market

The state of the real estate market in your area is often the biggest factor in timing your home purchase and sale correctly. Knowing what kind of market you’re in is important whether you’re just moving across town, or if you’re moving across the country. If you’re selling in one market and buying in another, you’ll need to factor that into your timing. The length of time it takes to buy and sell can vary dramatically depending on the local real estate scene.

What is a buyers market?

In a buyers market, there are more homes available than people looking to buy. In a buyers market, you’ll likely have an easier time finding your new home than you will selling your old home. Sellers may be willing to accept a contingent offer, which means you agree to purchase their home contingent on selling yours first — more on that later.

What is a sellers market?

In a sellers market, there are more buyers in the marketplace than there are homes available. In a sellers market, your current home will likely sell more quickly than you’ll be able to find a new home. Consider asking your buyers to do a rent-back after closing to allow you time to find your new place.

If you’re in a…                       What to do
Buyers market Make an offer with a sale and settlement contingency
Buyers market Request an extended closing
Sellers market Make an offer with a settlement contingency
Sellers market Ask for a rent-back agreement

Choose an experienced real estate agent

Buying and selling at the same time can be complicated and at times overwhelming, so it’s helpful to have a pro by your side. An experienced local agent will not only be able to help you determine the market value of your home, but they’ll be able to talk you through timing, strategy, and negotiation.

An agent can guide you to a listing price

In addition to answering questions about process and helping you negotiate, one of the most important roles your agent plays is to help you find the perfect listing price — one that will help you sell on your desired timeline and for enough money to help you take that next step. They’ll use their local market expertise and comparables to inform the price.

Understand your financials

After you’ve chosen an agent and gotten a feel for your local market, it’s time to know your numbers. Reach out to both your mortgage lender and your financial planner to see what’s feasible based on your financial situation. The amount of liquid cash, the amount of equity in your home, and the loan products you qualify for can all factor into which path you take.

Determine your home’s likely resale value

Part of researching your equity is knowing how much your house will reasonably sell for in the current market. Consider completing a pre-inspection so you know how much work needs to go into your house before selling, or the types of concessions you’ll have to make to a buyer to cover those repairs.

Know how much equity you have in your home

If you’re selling a house with a mortgage, do some initial research to find out how much equity you have — meaning the amount left over when you take the current market value of your home and deduct what’s remaining on your mortgage. Also, consider if you’d be able to purchase without tapping into that equity. Remember, the equity you have in your home won’t be accessible until after the sale closes.

Buying a house before selling

If you choose to buy a second home before selling your current home, here are some ways to make it happen:

  • Make an offer with a sale and settlement contingency:  In this scenario, you’ll focus on finding a new home before you list the old one. Once you find a house you love, you’ll submit your offer with a sale and settlement contingency, which means you’ll buy the home only if you can successfully sell your existing home. Typically, the sellers of the home you’re buying are still allowed to seek other offers, but you’ll receive the first right of refusal if you’re unable to remove the contingency when a second offer comes in. Contingencies typically work best in buyers markets, when the seller is less likely to get another offer.
  • Request an extended closing: If you’re confident that your existing home will sell in a short period of time, you can request to extend the closing date of your new home, past the standard 30-45 days. This will give you enough time to sell your current home and use your home equity to buy another house. Just like with contingent offers, you’re more likely to have success with this strategy in a buyers market.
  • Purchase with significant savings: If you’re in the financial position to do so, the simplest route is to use your savings to pay your new down payment, then sell your old home after the dust settles. Keep in mind that you’ll also need money to cover closing costs, inspections, and moving expenses.
  • Purchase with a HELOC: A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, allows you to borrow against the equity in your current home. If you qualify, you could use a HELOC to access money for your down payment, then pay it off when your home sells.
  • Purchase with a bridge loan: A bridge loan is a short-term loan offered by a bank to cover your down payment, just until your sales close. Make sure to talk to your banker about this option early in the process, because not all banks offer this product and it can be hard to qualify.
  • Rent out your first home: If you don’t need the money from your first home to make your down payment on the new home, you could always find renters for your old home, which would allow you to cover the mortgage costs while delaying the need to sell at the same time as you’re buying

Pros of buying before selling

  • You have somewhere to move right away.
  • You only have to move once, which allows you to save money on storage units or temporary housing costs.
  • You’re less pressured to make quick buying decisions, as you can always stay in your current home a little longer if you don’t find a property you love.

Cons of buying before selling

  • You may feel rushed to sell, which may lead you to take a lower offer than you would otherwise.
  • Contingent offers are less competitive, especially in fast-paced markets.
  • You may not have enough cash to make a competitive offer if your money is tied up in your current home.
  • If you decide to rent out your current home, being a landlord isn’t always a walk in the park. And, when you do decide to sell, it can be a challenge to sell while tenants are living in the home.

Selling a house before buying

If you’ve decided to sell your current home first, here are some steps you can take to make the process a bit smoother.

  • Make an offer with a settlement contingency: In this case, you’ll list your house first, then once you have an offer in hand (but before closing), you start looking for your new digs. When you find a house you love, you’ll submit an offer with a settlement contingency, which means you’ll buy the home contingent on the sale of your existing home closing. This works best in a seller’s market, where you can expect to receive offers on your existing home fairly quickly.
  • Find a temporary rental to live in: Yes, you’ll have to move twice, but sometimes closing one sale before starting another one can be the least stressful option, as it takes the pressure off the timing and gives you the time to find a home you really love.
  • Sign a rent-back: A rent-back provision is when you go through with the sale of the home, with the agreement that you can rent the home back from the new owners (and keep living in your home) for 60-90 days. This option can give you more time to shop for your new home, while still giving you access to the money from your sale. Keep in mind that this option works best in a sellers market, where buyers have to be more flexible with contract terms in order to get the home they want.

Pros of selling before buying

  • You know exactly how much equity you’ll have available to put toward your new home.
  • You can easily roll your existing equity into the new purchase.
  • It can be less stressful to close the book on one chapter before focusing on your next move.

Cons of selling before buying

  • You’ll likely have to find a temporary living situation.
  • Storage and double moving costs can add up.