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Decorating for Spring – On a Budget!

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: April 27, 2018

After the cold, dark months of winter, is there anything more exciting than Spring? These warmer months bring vibrant colors, cool breezes, and sunshine. What better way to usher out the snow and welcome the season with an indoor makeover? Celebrate Spring with these budget-friendly indoor decorating tips.

De-clutter your home. During the winter, homes tend to accumulate a lot of extra stuff. Holiday decorations, cold-weather gear like boots and hats, and extra blankets can make your home feel small and cluttered. Now that Spring has arrived, it’s time to de-clutter these spaces and simplify things. You can also try for a monochromatic feel with soft whites and light colors. Your home will feel bigger and brighter with that extra space.

Fresh flowers. Flowers add a pop of color and life to any room. But not everyone has a green thumb or the garden space to plant a variety of flowers. Visit your local supermarket for fresh and pre-arranged bouquets to liven up any room in your home. To keep flowers looking fresh longer, use room temperature water and cut the stems (about 1 to 2 inches) before putting them in a vase. Look for flowers at your local grocery store, co-op, or farmer’s market.

Create an edible centerpiece. Spring brings with it a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This produce is beautiful on its own, so why not use it as a centerpiece? Find your favorite serving bowl, or go shopping for one, and fill it with bright oranges and fresh apples. The best part about this decorating tip? You can eat it!

Swap out or put away throw blankets. In the fall and winter, there’s nothing better than curling up under a fuzzy blanket. But we’re saying goodbye to cold weather, so it’s time to put away or swap out those thick, dark-colored blankets. Look for thinner blankets in vibrant colors, like pastel blues or yellows, to give a spring-y look to your living room. For an even more budget-friendly option, repurpose leftover light-colored fabric and drape it over your couch. You’ll be surprised how much this simple action changes the entire feeling of a room.

Buy or make pillow covers. Pillows are an excellent way to decorate on a budget. You can instantly change a room by switching up a pillow cover, which is an easy cost to manage. This has to be one of the easiest ways to decorate a room – no fussy arrangement needed. Just throw a few pillows onto your couch, chair, or bed for a new look. These covers aren’t expensive to buy or make, and storing them takes almost no room at all.

Faux plants or flowers. Fresh flowers are relatively affordable, but maintaining the look can be a hassle. Faux plants or flowers have only an upfront cost and can add a nice natural look to your home. You can change the pot or vase for a fresh décor and never have to worry about cleaning up wilting or dead flowers left out too long. Craft stores often carry these plants and flowers at an affordable rate.

These easy options help your home look brighter and more vibrant without breaking the bank. Preparing your house for Spring will help you bring in the new season and transition from the darker months with ease. Brighten up your home with flowers and new fabrics, and enjoy the sunshine.

Tips for Your Selections Meetings After Purchasing an American Classic Home

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: March 8, 2018

Your new home floor plans are finalized, and now it’s time to choose the details—colors, flooring, countertops, cabinetry hardware, lighting, and so much more. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unprepared, so follow these tips for working with your home builder’s design center to get the look you’re going to love for many years.

Set a budget for upgrades. You can select choices among the standard features that American Classic Homes offers—type of color of flooring,  cabinet colors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, to name just a few. These are included in the price of your home. However, you will also be presented with some choices for upgrades. Maybe you want granite over quartz countertops, or more hardwood in your home. Before you walk into your home selections meeting where you will should aim to determine how much you want to spend fpr adding upgrades to your new home. Be sure your selections professional understands you have a limit and then they should work with you to provide you with cost of each custom request.

Determine your priorities. Along with coming to the selections meeting with a budget, be clear about how you want to use those funds. Think in advance—before all those shiny choices are staring you in the face—what’s more important. For example, can you live with certain fixtures in your powder room in order to upgrade the light fixture in the foyer? Consider which details will deliver more satisfaction in the long run—and stick with that decision.

Bring pictures and swatches. You probably have ideas in mind for your interiors. Maybe you’ve pinned photos on Pinterest, torn pages out of magazines, and collected fabric and paint swatches. Bring everything you’ve gathered so you can share it with the designer. Snap photos of furniture you’ll have in your new home, with measurements, too. You’ll be able to better envision your new space when you have all these details together.

Describe your lifestyle. When you meet with your selections professional talk about the way you’re going to live in your new home. Offer details like how often you entertain, the age of your children (and whether your home is the “fun place”) if you have any, and where you like to eat your daily meals. Are there bottleneck places in your home, like the bathroom or kitchen? How often do you do laundry, and do you fold it in the laundry room? The more you share, the better this pro can guide you toward smart choices.

Take your time. The decisions you make at the selections meeting will have a lasting impact on your new home. Photograph swatches and samples you need, look at them at different times of the day (bearing in mind it might be different in your new home), and then return to finalize the design details on your new home.

Bathroom Vanity Design Trends for 2018

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: February 8, 2018

Are you thinking about updating your bathroom? The new year brings new design trends for every room in your home, from the colors to the fixtures to the style. Bathroom vanity design trends for 2018 can show you how to make a big difference here with the focal point of the room.

What will we see more of this year?

Quartz is replacing granite countertops. Granite has dominated the countertop industry for most of this century. It’s natural, durable, and available in so many colors and patterns that you can easily find one to match your taste. Quartz is an engineered stone, a combination of about 95 percent ground quartz stone and 5 percent polymer resin. Quartz looks and feels like stone, but, because it’s manufactured, you can order the pattern and color and get the consistency you want. Unlike granite, quartz doesn’t need to be resealed. Finally, quartz isn’t porous like granite, so bacteria isn’t absorbed, an important factor in a bathroom countertop!

Brass is back in the bathroom. Polished brass has returned from its exile. Designers are trending toward warmer metals, like brass, bronze, and copper. Even rose gold is making a play for bathroom presence. With trends toward richer colors in the bathroom—like navy blue and plum—the warmer hues of other metals will gain prominence in plumbing fixtures.

Sinks are taking a cue from nature. Homeowners have shifted toward natural looks throughout the home, and the bathroom is reflecting this preference. Stone sinks are popular choices, using granite, marble, and onyx that take advantage of the one-of-a-kind patterns created by nature. Wooden basins—like oak, cedar, teak, and bamboo (which is a grass but largely considered wood)—share the same natural beauty as stone.

The all-white bathroom is fading to black. Vanities are going to the dark side with designers moving away from light cabinetry in the bathroom, in favor of matte black and darker stains, like deep chestnut and espresso. The richness of these deeper hues creates a completely different look that transforms the room.

Bathroom storage gets smarter. Vanities are no longer about vanity. They have beauty, of course, but you should expect more. Manufacturers have recognized the way we use bathrooms and vanities today. Drawer organizers present a custom storage solution, along with a tall cabinet that separates the dual sinks. New vanities are incorporating electrical outlets inside drawers. Keep your hair dryer plugged in yet out of sight.

Sinks will have a splash of color. If you love color, you can get more of it in your bathroom. New ceramic and metal sinks reflect the trend toward vibrant statements, like orange and turquoise.

Every year brings more options to customize your home to the place and space you want it to be. Are you ready to make some changes?

Decorating Tips for Your Open Concept Design

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: January 25, 2018

An open concept is a desirable floor plan for today’s homeowners. Having rooms without walls enhances the spaciousness, but it also presents a design challenge. With less definition provided by walls and doorways, how do you create your spaces within this open space?

These decorating tips for your open concept designs can guide you in the right direction.

Consider the flow. The colors you choose and the placement of your furnishings must flow seamlessly throughout your family room, dining room, and kitchen. Look at the natural flow of movement from one space to the next, like the kitchen to the dining area. Do you need a small workspace adjacent to the kitchen or would it work better as part of your family room? How much space do you need to comfortably move around the furniture, like the dining table, kitchen island, and family room’s seating?

Use color consistently. Decide on one color palette to pull it all together. Start with your foyer, which is the entry to this open floor plan. Expand that color spectrum by incorporating a few shades of your chosen colors.

Plan the lighting. The lighting design for your open floor plan must take into account the wide array of uses in this space. Task lighting will be critical in the kitchen and any other work areas. Be sure to incorporate dimmers on every wall switch to give you control of the room’s overall ambience.

Define task areas. You don’t need walls to create rooms. Use your furniture and decorative accents to establish smaller purposeful spaces within the open floor plan. Make a reading nook by setting a comfortable chair, ottoman and occasional table near a window, with its own area rug. Set up a small workstation for managing bills, sorting mail, or doing homework by placing a small desk or console table near the breakfast nook. Be sure you have good lighting here. You can expand the workspace by adding a bookcase or wall-mounted organizer.

Use area rugs. Define nooks and gathering spaces with area rugs that complement one another with a consistent blend of colors and styles. They don’t have to match, but avoid drastically different designs, like bold contemporary with traditional.

Don’t “arrest” the room. Placing your furniture up against the wall leaves a tremendous gap in an open floor plan. Since you don’t have walls, add boundaries by using larger furnishings, like bookcases and sofas. Break up your seating by building a large section (maybe near the television) and a smaller, more intimate conversation space.

Complement with curves. If your open concept features angular lines, soften them with rounder shapes, like an oval or round dining table, rug, or occasional tables.

An open floor plan presents a creative challenge for decorating, but also gives you plenty of room to create the space that perfectly fits your lifestyle.

2018 Color Trends for Your Home

Categories: Home Design Trends, Interior Design | Posted: January 11, 2018

The new year is here, and it’s bringing a new look in home color trends. Look for colors that boost your spirit with palettes of vibrant color that might remind you of opening that box of 128 crayons.

In 2017, Pantone Color Institute declared “Greenery” as its Color of the Year. The invigorating color aligns with the desire to revitalize ourselves. This year, Pantone is focusing its attention on palettes of colors that reflect different types of energies. Many of these home color combinations feature vibrant shades, which is the direction that will be trending in 2018. “Playful”, for example, blends bright yellow and lime green. “Verdure” takes its cue from nature, with colors like Celery and berry-infused purples.

There’s still room for people who prefer their neutral colors for home décor. But you might find that neutrals are taking on a bit more commitment to color and metallic accents—currently being called “the new neutrals”.

Sherwin Williams has named “Oceanside”—a bold teal shade that the paint company describes as “deep and moody”. Oceanside blends well with the current “mermaids” obsession, but also presents a richness, particularly when paired with a bright white.

House Beautiful’s editor-in-chief Sophie Donelson describes this hue as “a cocoon color”.

“I love a color that’s also a state of mind — that’s what Oceanside feels like to me,” Donelson explains. “We often see similar hues chosen for libraries and studies, because its depth makes it comforting, but also bold and adventurous. It’s like watching a Nature channel deep-sea exploration from the comfort of your sofa!”

Benjamin Moore continues the shift toward bold color by announcing “Caliente” as its 2018 Color of the Year. The vibrant red reflects the royalty of a red-carpet event, “the assured backdrop for a book-lined library, a powerful first impression on a glossy front door The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality,” says Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore & Co.

Behr has jumped into home color trends and announced its first-ever color of the year. “In the Moment” is a soft shade of blue-green that the paint company describes as evoking “a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our always-on lives.”

Behr also presents 19 more color trends that range from the neutral “Wabi-Sabi” and “Soft Focus” to the bold “Spirit Warrior” and “Wide Sky” and the deep “Constellation Blue” and “Nocturne Shade”.

What will you do with your home décor in 2018? Do these trends in home colors inspire you?

Garage organization: De-cluttering and storage tips

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: November 9, 2017

The garage is probably one of the most preferred stash places in your home. The attic is great, but it can be difficult to access. The basement is good, if you have one, but you might worry about dampness. Or you have a finished basement that’s already full.

Rather than continue to pack and stack boxes and bury items so deep that they are essentially lost, spend some time reorganizing your garage. Take back the space! Here are some de-cluttering and storage tips for garage organization.

  • Start with a blank canvas. Remove all the clutter from the garage. Otherwise, you will be shifting things around, not truly organizing them. Sort things out as you go. Set up bins for “Discard”, “Donate”, and “Keep”. Eliminate all items that really aren’t worthy of valuable space (like your t-shirt collection from the 80s). Will you ever repair that broken thingamajig? Be honest with yourself. If these things are buried in your garage, are they worth keeping? Once the garage is empty, sweep and clean the floor. An empty garage is perfect for cleaning the various stains and repairing cracks. You might even consider painting the floor for a really fresh start.
  • Plan the storage zones. Think about the uses of your garage: tools, car care supplies, seasonal décor and clothing, sports gear, lawn and garden care, and paint/home repair, to name a few. You probably also need an area for your trash and recycling. Once you determine the storage zones, choose the most suitable place for each, based on the frequency of use. Label each area so you know where everything will go, and you can visibly see the flow from zone to zone.
  • Design the storage spaces. Your garage offers many options for creating storage zones. In addition to the walls, you have the overhead area where you can attach hooks and shelves. You can install cabinets and pegboards. Explore the local home centers to get ideas for smart storage systems. Invest in a lockable cabinet to store potentially hazardous items (chemicals, sharp tools).
  • Respect the new and improved space. Place the items from your “Keep” stash in the designated storage zones. Give all household members a tour of the new and improved garage and remind them that your garage storage system must be maintained.

Look at your calendar and schedule a weekend for garage organization. Use the reward of not just having a perfectly organized garage but also finding the treasures that have been long lost in the clutter!

Look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: October 26, 2017

One of the first things people notice when they walk into your kitchen are the cabinets. Your choice is a major factor in both the aesthetics and the function of this all-important room. Before you decide on the kitchen cabinets for your new home or renovation, consider some of the style shifts happening. Here’s a look ahead at kitchen cabinetry trends for 2018.

You can never go wrong with white or light. White, off-white, and light gray continue to dominate kitchen cabinet colors. The brightness these neutral tones bring to your kitchen is unbeatable, and they work with just about any color you want in the room.

Mix and match. You don’t have to choose just one color for your cabinets. Kitchen designers are leaning toward one color for the base and another for the wall, or a complementary color for the island.

Put more behind the doors. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) cabinets are more efficient than their ancestors were. Pull-out drawers and shelves enable more efficient usage. A narrow, vertical cabinet door can hide a sliding spice rack or pull-out holder for trays, cookie sheets, and racks. Deep drawers provide more convenient access to your dishes.

Raise your cabinet standards. You know that gap between the top of your cabinets and the kitchen ceiling where you either display things or stash them? Cabinetry is now reaching to the ceiling, a design trend that gives the perception of a bigger room.

Show-offs. Glass doors on some of your upper cabinets allow you to proudly display your most eye-catching pieces, like crystal, pottery, dishware, and kitchen collectibles.

I know the fridge is here somewhere. If you find the front of your refrigerator or microwave a bit disruptive, you’ll appreciate the trend toward masking them with a door that matches your kitchen cabinets.

Mix in a few shelves. Open, “floating” shelves in a contrasting material—like rustic wood with white cabinetry—and a few less cabinets add an airy feeling to the kitchen.

Unjunk your junk drawers. The kitchen drawers are now featuring dividers and even multiple tiers to make organization easier than ever. Whether you’re separating silverware or the mounds of miscellany, these new and improved kitchen drawers are the clutterbug’s new best friend.

Park your appliance in a cabinet garage. Homeowners want a tidier look to their kitchen, so a place to store your small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, mixer, juicer) out of sight, but not out of reach, is essential.

Accessorize. Kitchen cabinets are being finished with more accents that resemble fine furniture. Decorative corbels, carved feet, moldings, and arches are easy ways to embellish your kitchen’s style.

You spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Why not make it as stylish as every other room in your home?

Tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: October 12, 2017

For some people, changing colors in a room is like changing your hairstyle. It’s nice to try something different—and it’s easy enough to change back if you don’t like the result. For others, the prospect of switching is a scary proposition.

Painting a room is one of the most affordable ways to make a big change in your home. The only hard part can be the color choice. Looking at the array of paint chips in the store can be overwhelming. Before you head there, narrow down your choices.

Here are some tips for choosing the right wall colors for your home.

Look at your wardrobe. What colors do you like to wear? That’s a big clue to your color preferences. If you’re drawn to neutral colors, you’re comfortable with those soft shades, making this palette a smart choice for your interior walls. If your penchant for lime green or sunshine orange feels too daring for your walls, tone it down a bit.

Inspect your photos, artwork, and other accents. What colors prevail? You chose these decorative pieces for the message they communicate, but was color a factor as well?

Pull the paint color from a print. You might have a favorite pillow, upholstered chair, or even table linens. Zoom in on the shades that might work well on your wall. Take the fabric to the paint store and ask them to match it.

Use a color wheel. See how colors relate to each other. A color wheel gives insight into the hues that work harmoniously together. You might like a monochromatic color scheme, with variations of a particular color (lightness and saturation). A complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, usually a warm and a cool one (yellow and blue, for example). An analogous color scheme combines colors that are next to each other, like blue and green, or orange and red, and varying shades of those colors. There are several other options for color schemes, but this will get you started. Once you choose the color scheme, you build your palette of specific colors.

Check out color trends. Home décor colors are like fashion. They change with the seasons and the years. Greenery was the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. The foliage-inspired shade is like a springtime refresh. Home décor watchers are expecting 2018 interior color palettes to move from pastels to more intense hues. With palettes named “Far-fetched”, ”Resourceful”, and “Resourceful”, you might find one to suit your taste.

Think holistically. Your house is a sum of its parts, which includes your wall colors. Make sure you have smooth flow from room to room. This is where organizing a whole-house color palette will help.

Home Staging 101

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: September 6, 2016

When you begin the process of selling your home, there is one part that cannot be overlooked and that is home staging. Did you know that over 95% of “Buyers Agents” say that home staging has some effect on the buyer’s opinion of the home?

Open Houses are the make-or-break moment for selling your house on time.With good staging, buyers will recognize how your home could be their new home. But, bad staging could keep your house languishing on the market for some time.

Staging your home doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or time, but by focusing on a few key rooms and understanding a few factors that potential buyers look for can take your house from a dud to a stud. Home staging highlights your home’s strengths and down plays (to some extent) its weaknesses.

Here are a few home staging 101 tips and tricks that will help make your open house successful.

Home Staging 101 Infographic

Feng Shui for American Homes

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: April 18, 2016

Do you ever enter a room and just feel “off”? It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you perceive that something isn’t aligned well. Some rooms can inexplicably make you feel anxious, uneasy, or even angry, while others do the exact opposite. They instantly put you at ease, calm you, and nourish your energy.

Room design is an artform that’s informed by the ancient tradition of Feng Shui. While it was developed over the years for use in Eastern homes, its principals can also be applied to American homes as well. With these insights, you’ll be able to make your home relaxed yet energizing, while setting yourself up for prosperity.

Ensure that there is no line-of-sight from the front door to the back door.

If you can see out the back door from the front door, that means the chi in your house is flowing straight out of your home. Instead, make sure the chi has an opportunity to remain in the home.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Line of SightKeep the path to your front door clean.

If the immediate path from your front door is obstructed by furniture, clutter, or trash, then incoming chi could be slowed down or even stopped. To prevent this from happening, make sure the path from your front door into your home is clear of any potential interference.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Path to Front Door

Keep your house clear of clutter.

As the chi enters your home, you want it to remain fresh and not become stagnant. Keeping your house free of unnecessary clutter will help keep your home light and open.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Keep Clean Clutter

Maximize natural light, with open windows and mirrors.

Natural light is essential in bringing in positive energy into your home. With ample light and plenty of mirrors, your home can be a warm, welcoming, energetic place to be.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Maximize Natural Light

Make sure the stove is not across from the sink.

The stove is a source of the fire element. Placing it across from the sink all but ensures the fire energy will be drained from your home almost immediately.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Stove Sink

Don’t point the stairway toward the front door.

As the chi flows into your home from the front door, it needs to have the chance to remain on the ground floor. If your stairway points toward the front door, all of the chi will flow upward, to your upstairs rooms.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Stairway Front Door

Ensure your home contains a proportional amount of the five elements: Earth, Wood, Fire, Water, and Metal.

Striking a balance in feng shui is essential. If your home has a sufficient amount of each element, it will remain in harmony.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Proportional Elements

Remove negative symbolism.

While certain decorations or wall art may appear harmless at first glance, they can foster a negative energy in your home. Remove all mounted weapons, scenes of war, and other negative outcomes to ensure your home fosters a positive energy.

American Classic Homes Feng Shui Negative Symbolism