5 Unique Ways to Decorate a Pumpkin


The cooler weather assures us that fall has finally begun, and with it comes lots of decorating.

 

Pumpkins are tasty (especially in pie), but they’re also perfect for spicing up seasonal décor. Following are five ways to go beyond the orange, and add stylish and fun touches to your home.

 

1. Twine Pumpkins

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2. Chalkboard Pumpkins

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3. Glow in the Dark Pumpkins

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4. Typography Pumpkins

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5. Pumpkin Succulent Arrangement

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10 Tips for Picking a Paint Color


10 Tips for Picking a Paint Color

If you’ve ever had to pick a paint color, you know one thing to be true- the options are endless. Choosing the right paint color can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these 10 tips and take on the paint aisle with confidence!

 

1. Bring in Inspiration: Take along an existing pillow, piece of fabric, or photo of your space. This will help you make more informed decisions.

 

2. The Right Light: Make sure to view your paint or paint chips in natural light to ensure you’re seeing the color correctly. Paint looks different under artificial light, so try holding the chip near a window or painting a sample on your wall first.

 

3. Take Home Testers: All the major paint retailers now sell paint in small, tester sizes. These are perfect to take home and try out before committing to a full gallon of paint. The small amount will provide you with enough paint to give you an idea of what it would really be like to live with the color.

 

4. Try Multiple Shades: If you’re having trouble choosing, buy multiple testers and paint side-by-side squares on your walls. Live with them for a few days so you get the chance to see how the colors look morning, noon, and night. Make sure to mark them with identifiers so you’ll remember which one you liked best.

 

5. Choose Your Drama: Take a look at the color wheel for inspiration. Colors close together will make a room calm while those farther apart add drama.

 

6. Do What You Love: Start with a color you love, even if it’s not popular at the moment. Doing this will assure you’ll love the color for years to come. Just remember, your favorite color comes in a range of hues.

 

7. Lighten Up: If you’re afraid a hue may be too dark, ask the mixer to do a 50% tint of the color to lighten it up. Custom colors can also give a room a designer look, but make sure to jot down the specifics of your color for future touch ups.

 

8. Room to Room: If you have rooms that are open to one another, avoid choosing radically different colors, which will make the spaces feel chopped up and small.

 

9. Go Bold: Small rooms that are visited more rarely, like a library or half-bath, can be done in stronger colors that make a statement.

 

10. Spraying vs. Rolling: Rolling may be the most popular choice, but it’s also the most time consuming and requires touch ups more often. On the other hand, spraying results in a more high-end, professional look that also cuts painting time in half. You can rent high volume, low pressure sprayers at most home improvement stores. With both options make sure you properly cover the areas you don’t want painted.

How to Invest: Home Remodel Trends


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On April 1, the Texas Association of Realtors released the 2015 edition of their Texas Remodel Valuation Report. For those of you considering a remodel in your home, it’s time to tune in and listen up.

 

In this report, TAR outlines a most profitable home remodels based on recoup costs of more than 20 different projects in 2014. These are further broken down by profitability nationwide, marketwide, and in four Texas cities. Here’s a quick summary of the projects that will get you the most bang for your buck in the Texas region, Dallas, and nationwide:

 

Regionally:

Curb Appeal is King: Nationally and in Texas, projects that boost curb appeal have the best return on investment, or ROI. Replacing the entry door, garage door, siding, windows, and roofing all ranked highest on this list.

Practical Remodels: Projects that improve a home’s functionality or sustainability were among the most profitable for the second year in a row, significantly more so than upscale remodels and additions.

Increase Livable Square Footage and Sustainability: Basement remodels, wood deck additions, and backup power generators were also popular.

 

Dallas:

5 Most Profitable: Roofing replacement, vinyl window replacement, basement remodel, steel entry door replacement, garage door replacement

5 Least Profitable: Sunroom addition, home office remodel, fiberglass entry door replacement, upscale garage addition, upscale composite deck addition

 

Nationwide:

5 Most Profitable: Steel entry door replacement, stone veneer accent, midrange garage door replacement, siding replacement, and upscale garage door replacement

5 Least Profitable: Sunroom addition, home office addition, upscale master suite addition, upscale garage addition, midrange bathroom addition

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring


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After spring cleaning is done, many people get the itch to change things up. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and the time is right to implement a fresh, new look in your home. There are a lot of ways to go about this, but we have found that the simplest changes can make the biggest impact without costing a fortune. Here are our favorite ideas for breathing new life into your home this season.

 

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

1. Pillows: Decorative pillows on couches, chairs, or beds add pops of color, texture, and layered interest. Try purchasing pillows that allow you to change their covers throughout the year. (Featured property: 4005 Rosa Road, Dallas)

 

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

2. Accessories: If you’re someone who likes decorative details, change them out. Spray paint some ordinary bookends for a pop of color, pick up some fun new coasters, or switch up the books you have on display. Simply exchanging items between rooms can have a big impact visually. (Featured property: 2615 Brookside Court, McKinney)

 

 Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

3. Art and photos: Switch out old photos, paint or buy new pictures frames, rearrange art from one room to the other- all of this will enliven your home. (Featured property: 10106 Caribou Trail, Dallas)

 

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

4. Plants: Bring new plants into the house and change up the ones outside. A small pot of basil in the kitchen or new planters on the front porch add color and interest. (Featured Property: 4708 Crooked Lane, Dallas)

 

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

5. Outdoor: Freshen up your front door mat, address numbers, patio cushions, or add a floral wreath to the front door. All of these will brighten your curb appeal and make coming home feel like a new experience. (Featured property: 211 Rio Grande Drive, Irving)

 

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

6. Paint: If you want to stick to a budget, keep it simple. Paint the front door a bright color, put some chalkboard paint on a small section of one wall, spray paint a lamp or a few bar stools. Paint is a moderately cheap way to update that can be changed with your mood. (Featured property: 4161 Shady Valley Drive, Arlington)

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry


One of the best parts about getting to look at pictures of houses all day is picking up on new trends. One of the hottest trends we’ve noticed over the last few months is contrasting cabinet colors. Islands have stepped into the spotlight and are being treated like their own element. No longer are they beholden to the color choices made for outer kitchen cabinetry.

 

This mix-matching shows up most often in brown and white, but we’re loving this new design trend no matter what color scheme it comes in. It adds a dynamic interest to a kitchen and allows homeowners and designers to step out of the box with cabinetry, an area in which most tend to play it safe.

 

Check out a few of the kitchens in which we’ve found this trend popping up around DFW, they may just inspire a weekend DIY in your home!

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1066 Woodford Drive, Keller

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^6940 Hickory Hill Circle, Argyle

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^7204 Ripley St., McKinney

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^10715 Dixon Branch Drive, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^9427 Monteleon Court, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1315 Sunset Ridge Circle, Cedar Hill

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^7022 Pasadena Ave., Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^4060 Chimney Rock Drive, Prosper

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^6838 Stefani Drive, Dallas

Now Trending: Contrasting Cabinetry^1122 Amy Drive, Allen

7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter


7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter

Although we’re experiencing a rise in temperatures recently in D-FW, we all know that, sadly, they are not here to stay. Winter will be with us for a few more months, and we want to make sure you and your home get the most out of it.

 

This time of year can be hard on efficiency and bills because cooler temperatures force the thermostat up and foggy days have us closing the blinds. Instead of giving in to higher bills, try out some of these techniques for a warmer winter at home.

 

1. Your Thermostat: If you have the funds and the ability, call an expert if the latter is not true, install a programmable thermostat. Programming your thermostat to let the temperature drop a bit while no one’s home and heat up when you return is an easy way to save a lot on heating bills. Also, remember that studies show that cooler temperatures make for a better night’s sleep.

 

2. Let the Light Shine: Draw back curtains and blinds during the day to allow the sun to come in. A sunny day, even a cold one, will heat up rooms a few degrees. At night, and in rooms that don’t get sunlight, keep curtains closed to keep more heat inside. If you’re home is particularly susceptible to heat loss, consider investing in insulated window dressings.

 

3. Fireplace Rules: While a fireplace may feel like a great way to keep warm, they are actually notoriously inefficient. Gas fireplaces can add significantly to your bills and both they and woodburning fires allow cold air to come in in other areas of your house. It is especially important that you keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use, otherwise it’s like opening a window.

 

4. Fan Flip: Ceiling fans don’t necessarily have or need to go off during colder months. If you flip the directional switch on your fan and turn it on a low speed it will push the hot air in your home, which naturally rises, back down. This trick is most beneficial in room with high or vaulted ceilings.

 

5. Mind the Gaps: Check your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and openings. Simply holding your hand up to the base of a window can reveal a strong current of air exchange. Replace any broken glass, framing, and caulk where necessary.

 

6. Close It Up: If you find yourself spending more time in some rooms than others, simply close doors to trap the heat. Additionally, if there are some rooms you never use, shut the door and vent to direct the heat where it needs to go and save on heating bills.

 

7. Add Layers: This means to your floors and to yourself. Rugs keep heat from escaping through the floors and will keep your feet warmer. If you’re really looking to save, stop worrying about heating the house and throw on a pair of fuzzy socks and a warm sweatshirt. Add blankets to your bed and bundle up instead of heating your entire home.

 

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015


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A fresh, new year is the perfect time to implement a new schedule that will keep your home in tip-top shape. Maintaining a clean home with minimal effort is all about routine and organization. Try out these tips to make 2015 the year of clean!

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

1. Procrastination is the Enemy: Leaving a dish in the sink overnight or failing to put away today’s clothes may not seem like a big deal, but it can be if you let it become habit. Get in the “do it now, then it’s done” mindset and you’ll be surprised at how tidy things stay with little effort. (Pictured property: 6326 Lakehurst Ave., Dallas)

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

2. Family Affair: Whether you’re living with family members or roommates, the best way to tackle chores is to divide and conquer. Assign tasks like taking out the trash, cleaning dishes, and folding laundry to each person and hold them to it. (Pictured property: 9729 Shadydale Lane, Dallas)

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

3. 10-Minute Tidy-Up: Take 10 minutes at the end of each day to clean up small messes. A walk through the house before you go to bed is an easy time to toss toys in bins, put away coats and shoes, and straighten up to insure a fresh space when you wake up in the morning. (Pictured property: 3311 Blackburn St. #124, Dallas)

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

4. Divvy Up the Days: Assign one big task to each day and stick to it. For instance, use Mondays for ironing, Tuesdays for vacuuming, Wednesdays for dusting, Thursdays for sprucing up bathrooms, Fridays for kitchen cleaning, Saturdays for cleaning and remaking beds, and Sundays for laundry. (Pictured property: 9744 Dartridge Drive, Dallas)

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

5. Identify Problem Areas: Find the areas in your house that seem to get messy the fastest and implement rules to keep that mess in check. Have your children put their toys away before bedtime, always put away coats and shoes at the end of the day, or simply quit using that table or chair as a pile up spot for excess items. (Pictured property: 3960 Davila Drive, Dallas)

 

Keep Your Home Clean in 2015

6. A Place for Everything: And everything in its place. Too many blankets strewn about the living room? Buy a basket. Shoes won’t fit in neat rows in your closet? Buy a shoe rack. If there’s a place for everything, it’s so much easier to stay tidy and organized. There is a solution for every clutter problem, and in some cases that solution is to part with things you no longer need or use. (Pictured property: 3218 Jubilee Trail, Dallas)

 

27 At-Home Activities for Fall Fun


Whether you live alone, with family, or with friends, it’s time to celebrate the new season! Fall has many iconic traditions, but we’re willing to bet our list will bring new ones into your home.

 

Have some fun this fall with the activities below! Free free to print out this list and check off items as you go. To see more fall ideas, head to our Fall and Halloween Pinterest boards.

27 At-Home Activities for Fall Fun

Decrease Dust by Avoiding These 5 Mistakes


Have you ever dusted your entire home just to turn around and find a fresh new layer? You may be making some common mistakes that allow dust to accumulate faster than normal. Check out these tips below to make your next dust session last longer.

 

-Fear The Feather: Feather dusters are a no no. All they do is spread dust from one place to another. Try using something with microfibers that grabs on and holds on, just make sure to clean or replace pads between uses.

 

-The Dry Dust: Dust bunnies have wings. Apply a dusting spray, polish, or any furniture-safe dampening agent to your duster before you begin to ensure you’re getting the best results. This applies to all surfaces, including furniture, floors, and ceiling fans.

 

-Direct Spray: Applying polish directly to furniture can lead to a waxy build up that actually ends up attracting dust. Like we said before, spray a bit of polish on your duster first to avoid residue build up.

 

-Ventilation Station: It’s easy to walk by your air conditioning and heating vents, especially when they’re ceiling or floor mounted, but they’re major offenders in the dust arena. You can easily clean then using your vacuum and soft brush attachment.

 

-Mind Your Filters: Keep vents and vacuum filters up to date by changing them out when they’re dirty. A simple calendar notification will guarantee you stay on schedule and keep that dust to a minimum.

 

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck


If you’re an avid reader of our blog you know that first impressions are of major importance when selling or buying a home. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ways to get the best bang for your buck, whether you’re selling your home now or trying to increase the future value of a home you’ve purchased.

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Landscaping: Create a fresh look with green landscaping, pops of color, and new mulch. Try to add levels of height if you have the space, this gives a very manicured look.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Outdoor Lighting: Go big or go home. Illuminating your house is one of the most inviting things you can do, so install large-scale exterior lights to dress up the front door. Lights should be sized to reflect the scale of the front of your home, not just the space around the door.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen Cabinets: If you have old cabinetry consider refacing or repainting, a choice that will depend on just how weathered your cabinets are. This update will completely change the look and feel of your kitchen.

 

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen Appliances: If you’re willing to update your dated, dingy appliances, invest in replacements that match in color. It’s off-putting for a buyer to see a white stove, a black microwave, and a stainless refrigerator all in the same space.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Bathroom: Say goodbye to pink toilets, blue bathtubs, and green tile. The best thing you can do for the value of your home is to bring all the fixtures up to date. Hint: White is almost always a safe bet in the bathroom. It’s easily cleaned and gives the illusion of more space.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Expose Hardwoods: Is there hardwood flooring under your carpet? Pull it up, refinished it, and your realtor will love you forever. Hardwoods sell. And when we say hardwoods, we mean it. Laminate floors aren’t fooling anyone, so don’t spend money just to fake-out buyers.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Clean, Clean, Clean: If it’s dirty, clean it. If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s crammed, box it. Buyers are looking for loose knobs, dirty carpets, and crammed closets, so give them a reason to be pleasantly surprised.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Painting: We’ve already filled you in on the best tips, but let us add some more. If you’re planning to stay in your house, feel free to jazz up the walls with a splash of color, but be mindful that you should bring back the neutrals when it’s time to sell. If you’re going to wallpaper, keep the same tip in mind. While it may seem like a quick fix to you, not much turns a buyer off more than a full on red bedroom or dated floral wallpaper.

 

Home photos via ebby.com & Shoot2Sell: 3515 Hickory Grove Lane, Frisco (Landscaping); 2171 Hogan Drive, Irving (Outdoor Lighting): 5995 Beacon Hill Drive, Frisco (Kitchen Cabinetry); 7017 Yamini Drive, Dallas (Kitchen Appliances); 12744 High Meadow Drive, Dallas (Bathroom); 7731 Rolling Acres Drive, Dallas (Expose Hardwoods); 732 Lexington Ave., Coppell (Clean, Clean, Clean); 509 Prescott Drive, Garland (Painting)