Adding Value to Your Home

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From selling to staying, the value of your home is important to you. We have six simple ways to increase value in your home this summer.

Six Ways to Add Value to Your Home:

Upgraded: It is important to take into consideration all the small features that may need updated and replaced like faucets, door knobs and light switch coverings. These small upgrades can actually add more value to your home in the eyes of a buyer.

One Step at a Time: When remodeling your home, it is important to take it one room at a time. Create a list of the things you would like to accomplish in each room and then start working on it one at a time. This way you can save your time, energy and even money. If you start with your most important projects, you can cover unexpected circumstances/costs without having to worry about finding extra money in the budget.

Establish Curb Appeal: The exterior of your home is extremely important when considering a home’s value. Before you put your house on the market, make sure to do all necessary yard work, clean up the leaves, trim the bushes, touch up exterior paint, etc. You want to make sure that the first thing potential buyers see makes a good impression.

Quality Kitchen: Kitchens are one of the biggest factors considered in home value; therefore, they should be your top priority during a remodel. If you do not have a lot of money to spend, update what you can and do a “mini remodel.” Any updates can help increase a home’s value even if they are small.

Buyers Love Bathrooms: Bathrooms are another selling feature of homes. Make sure your bathroom is in tip-top shape before you put it on the market. Again, we recommend updating as much as you can afford in the bathroom because it is important in increasing your home’s value. If you have extra money in the budget, try adding heated floors!

Inspection: Inspectors can give homeowners a good idea of what needs fixed in their home. If you are planning on selling, schedule an inspection before you put your house on the market. This way you are not blind-sided with house issues that you did not even know existed. Even if you are not selling, scheduling a home inspection can be a good idea to catch issues before they get expensive. If you get something fixed now, you may save money before it got worse.

Finish your remodel off with the best way to add value to your home: new flooring. We have a wide selection of flooring ranging from carpet to hardwood. Stop in and visit our showroom at 915 Rand Road
Mt. Prospect, IL 60056 for more information, pricing and design inspiration. We look forward to working with you!

6 Hacks to a Cleaner Home

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Have you ever been to a friend’s house and it seems like they have it all together? Their house is always perfectly organized, clean, and surprisingly spotless. You want in on their secret! They have kids, a hectic schedule, and work full-time, so how do they possibly do it? There is no need to wonder, because we have six hacks to help you keep your home clean and organized.

6 Life Hacks to a Cleaner Home:

Hack #1: Make Your Bed.
Make your mama proud and always make your bed! This is a great life hack to help homeowners start their day off right. Plus, you will be so excited to come home to a made bed each night.

Hack #2: Eat then Clean.
This is one of the most difficult tasks on our list, because we all get tired. We say that the dishes can wait until tomorrow, but you never know when you will have an unexpected guest. Always clean up after dinner and you will thank yourself tomorrow. Try to wipe down your kitchen surfaces and load the dishwasher every night after dinner.

Hack #3: Learn to Love Laundry.
You are probably already rolling your eyes at this one, but laundry can be made easy. All you have to do is wash one load of laundry every night. The worst part about laundry is spending endless hours on your off-days washing, drying and putting away all of your clothes. You can eliminate the piles of clothes left around your house by simple learning to “love” laundry. You will appreciate how much time you will save yourself. After you put the kids to bed, throw in a load of laundry. Added bonus: you can watch your favorite show while the washing machine does its work.

Hack #4: Beautify your Bathroom.
Anytime you or your family uses an item in the bathroom, put it away. Have everyone wipe off the counters each night to remove toothpaste and other stains.

Hack #5: Straighten up.
If you see items laying around, pick them up and stash them away in their proper place. It is that easy! The more that you clean up after yourselves, the less you will have to clean in the future.

Hack #6: Once a week.
We all have a lengthy to-do list that never seems to get done, because our time is consumed by minimal tasks we did not do throughout the week. Now that you have focused your energy throughout the week on these smaller tasks, use your off days to check off one item from your to-do list. Whether you are organizing your master closet or cleaning out the garage, accomplishing one giant task a week will make you proud of your home.

We hope you enjoyed these 6 hacks to a cleaner home!

Plants that are Easy to Keep Alive

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Plants are a wonderful addition to the interior of your home.  Most decor styles benefit from these little pieces of the outdoors, and they help to clean the air inside your home. If you don’t feel that you have a green thumb, there are some plants that are a good fit.  These plants are each easy to keep alive as long as you water them occasionally!

Indoor plants can be easy to keep alive. If you don’t plan on planting a garden this spring, consider some potted plants that you can keep indoors.

Basil is an easy plant to grow indoors. It also tastes fresh and delicious. This plant is perfect to grow on a window sill. It needs sun, so this is a good location. The aroma it gives off is amazing and it is wonderful to have in the kitchen. Just pick a few leaves and add it to a meal! A small flower pot can be used to grow basil, so it can fit on a window sill or counter top.

Aloe is an good plant to have around the home. It is perfect for providing a soothing, natural remedy for sun burns during the summer. It can go days and even weeks without water. This plant does require sun. Place it in a sunny spot and enjoy it for years! You can even cut off a piece of aloe and regrow it. Feel free to make a gift out of your aloe, by re-growing it over and over again and giving it out to loved ones. 

Mint is another easy plant to grow indoors. It smells great and adds a noticeable fresh scent wherever it lives. These plants like a cool environment which makes it easy to grow indoors. Place your mint plant where indirect light is available. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Mint also enjoys humidity, so misting the plant occasionally will keep it happy and thriving. Turn the plant every three to four days to ensure it grows evenly. Use this plant to garnish dishes or add it to refreshing drinks!

The plants above listed are easy to grow indoors and useful to keep around. They can be grown and enjoyed year!

Using Partitions

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In the past twenty years contractors have gotten better at building homes with open floor plans. This is much better than having smaller rooms clustered together (as older homes seem to have). Sometimes a good amount of that space becomes unutilized. There is a simple solution to help with this problem. Have no fear partitions are here! There are so many types of partitions to choose from.  

Fabric partitions are great for breaking up a large room. This solution looks best on a flat ceiling. Panels are suspended from hardware (much resembling curtain rods). The hardware is installed on the ceiling. The fabric panels can either be fastened to the floor or simply hang. The hanging fabric panels usually will have a rod sewn into the seam at the bottom. This gives the panel weight and allows it to hang straight.

If you like keeping your doors and windows open when the weather is nice, opt for the panels that attach to the floor. These panels come in all types of fabrics. The selection is endless. This type of partition is great for architecturally breaking up a room or space. The length and width can be various sizes, so you can really customize your look.

Furniture partitions are great for providing a little nook of privacy. This type of partition is generally referred to as a “Screen”. Typically they do not expand more than a couple of feet. Screens can transform a corner of a large room into a smaller reading area in minutes. Complete the look with an arm chair, accent table and a lamp.

Get a little creative and pair house plants with dividers. Partitions do not have to stand alone. They can work well with other supporting pieces. Don’t be afraid to do a little mixing and matching. 

7 Creative Winter Wedding Engagement Photo Ideas

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Winter weddings often require slightly more planning than weddings that take place in warmer weather. For example, you have to plan for the theme far in advance to ensure all aspects of the wedding reflect the winter theme. Engagement photos often have the longest lead time so you might want to start with those at the top of your to-do list. Try one of the seven ideas that will wow everyone on your mailing list, and create a wonderful memory in the process!

  1. Stake skis and poles into the snow in a nice arrangement. Sit in the snow between them.
  2. Wear a fairy princess dress with a fur stole and an elaborate crown. Dress your groom in an elegant suit. Take the photos in a rustic, snowy location so that your glamour stands out against the simplicity of the rustic background.
  3. Dress in warm comfy clothes in colors that match. Have an actual snowball fight while the photographer snaps photos of it. When the snowball fight is over lie down in the snow and make snow angels together.
  4. Decorate an outdoor Christmas tree. Find a location with a pretty pine tree and winter surroundings. Try traditional decorations such as popcorn garland. Bring along some wrapped presents to place at the base of the tree. Use wrapping paper that coordinates with the colors of your wedding. It might be a good idea to wear clothes in those colors as well. Include a ladder with the props because it will add interesting options for posing.
  5. Wear a cable knit sweater with a plaid flannel scarf and jeans. Have the groom wear a flannel shirt and jeans. Find a natural colored background in a place in the woods. Take along mistletoe and have your groom hold it over your heads while you hold hands and kiss.
  6. If you winter wedding will be in the mountains try engagement photos captured on a ski lift. Dress in formal wear so it’s clear that it’s an unusual photo of a bride and groom. Ride the lift several times and while the photographer captures the moment, keep the photos interesting by talking, looking out at scenery, kidding, laughing, and so on.
  7. In a snowy mountainous area build a fire. Take along comfy camping chairs and the ingredients for s’mores. Wear fashionable winter gear that includes your wedding colors. Enjoy the fire and each other’s company while the photographer capture photos of you spending time and making s’mores.

Tips for Clearing Clutter

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Getting rid of clutter goes hand in hand with deep cleaning. Find out how to get rid of clutter the easy way. The best way to cut ties with things you have been holding on to is to ask yourself a few of questions about the item in question.

Do I have the space available to keep storing this item? If the answer is no, then toss or donate the item. Space is so valuable and you always seem to need more of it. If you could store other things, which you use on a regular basis, clear out this space and put it to good use.

Do I have another item that serves the same or similar purpose? If yes then you need to consider which item is more practical. Also consider which item is easier to store and takes up the least amount of space.

Am I holding on to this broken item with intentions to fix it? If yes then you need to consider if it is worth saving. Ask yourself: “Can I fix this in the next two weeks?”  “Do I currently have the resources to fix it?” if your answer is no to either question then you should let the item go.

Have I used this in the last year? If you have been able to go about your day to day life without using this particular thing for a year, then chances are you do not need it. You may want to consider tossing it even if you have only used the item once or twice during the past year. Unless the thing you have been holding on to is Christmas decorations, it should be under serious review.

Have I been keeping this for sentimental reasons? We can become attached to things easily. Just by looking at an item can create a sense of nostalgia and we are leery of losing those feelings forever. Keep smaller sentimental things that can be put into a scrap book or a small box.

Keep this list of questions so you can de-clutter throughout the year. This list will help you keep the important items and cut ties with the rest!

6 Ways To Make Your Front Porch Welcoming In the Fall

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Fall seems to be the coziest season of the year! Capitalize on its inherently comforting qualities by decorating your front porch with traditional fall decorations. People will feel instantly at home before they even walk through the front door!

  1. Create a display that includes the numerical part of your address. At the craft store, buy large metal or wooden numbers. So, let’s say your address is 5564. Buy two fives, a six, and a four. Attach each one to a white pumpkin. Fill a large whisky barrel with the leaves and foliage you collect after cleaning up the yard. Stack the pumpkins on top of each other on the foliage in the barrel to display your numerical address. If you buy wooden numbers try painting them first with fall colors that coordinate with the color of the exterior paint on your house.
  2. Set a distressed, weathered, wooden chair and table on the porch. On the table place a pot of mums. On the chair set an arrangement of pumpkins and pinecones. On the porch floor, at the foot of the table and the chair, set another large pot of mums and an oversized pumpkin.
  3. Set a large, tin watering can on the porch and use it as a ‘vase.’ Fill it with tall sprigs of fall foliage. Next to it place a large, medium, and small pumpkin. At night, include an outdoor candle to illuminate things. Try citronella if you live in an area prone to mosquitoes.
  4. Frame your front door with a large, trailing, fall foliage garland. Hang a fall wreath on the door. If you like Halloween, the wreath is a great way to incorporate the theme. Place one tall tin planter on each side of the door. Weight it with rocks at the bottom and place tall corn stalks inside.
  5. Decorate mini pumpkins with fall themed ribbons tied around the stem. Use them to fill up a flower planter that attaches to the wall of the porch. Display the pumpkins rather than flowers in the planter.
  6. Replace the summer patio furniture. Put away the wrought iron and glass table, as well as the metal chairs with warm weather cushions. In their place use wicker/rattan set of table and chairs. Drape a couple of the chairs with throws that can withstand being exposed to the elements.

Basement Ideas

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Do you have an unfinished basement that you have thought of finishing? Many homeowners have a basement that they choose to finish for various reasons. You could potentially gain equity in your home by making improvements. The options for the space are endless.  What could you use the extra space for in your own home?

The new space can be single or multi use depending on how much space is available. If the size is smaller, keep the use to single in order to keep from feeling cramped. If space is not an issue, you may want several rooms or a space that provides multiple uses. For example, turn the space into guest quarters with a laundry room for an added bonus in the home.

One option is to turn the basement into a media center or theater room. These rooms are great for families because it serves as a second living room. You have the option to buy a big screen television or install a screen and use a projector to give the space a real theater like feel. Seating can be groupings of furniture or actual theater seating. Who wouldn’t want to show this space off to guests? A media room is a way to do just that. It is also a good space for entertaining children.

A game room or Man Cave is another option for a space to entertain guests. Turning a basement into a game room can consist of a pool table or vintage video games. For a Man Cave, consider adding a bar and themed decorating. Either option will allow peace to reign upstairs while louder fun stays downstairs.

Single use spaces can have dual functions. For example, add a full bath to the media or game room and it could be converted to guest quarters at night. Add a pullout sofa bed or a comfortable couch. If your space is large, consider adding multiple rooms that function with the rest of the home.

Each of these ideas will add value to your home, whether you are thinking about staying or moving.  Visit our Design Center for a few ideas to help get you motivated!  

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Tips For Renters Part 4

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Let’s keep up the good work and continue leaning how to be a savvy renter. Find here the next four pieces of advice for living happily in the home your rent!

  1. You might want to ask about the size and efficiency of the water heater. For a single person it isn’t likely to be important. But if you have a family and the water heater is small and ineffective, you might end up with a lot of dirty kids, heaped laundry and messy dishes on a daily basis.
  2. Find out if there is a washer and dryer, or hook ups. You will need to provide your own machines if there are only hook ups. (There are always used ones available on Craigslist.) It’s also good to confirm that the laundry facility is in the apartment. Older communities still have shared laundry facilities that are used by all of the residents.
  3. If you want to run any kind of business out of the home you rent, give careful consideration. Some leases don’t allow it. Especially if there’s any potential liability. They might evict you for breaking the lease if you operate a business on the property without permission.  At a minimum,  you might be required to take out a renter’s insurance policy with a broader scope of coverage than is standard.
  4. Remember personal safety. Ask where the fire extinguisher is, check batteries on smoke alarms, and ask if a carbon monoxide detector can be installed if there isn’t one. Check out all of the doors and window to ensure they are properly installed and can be completely secured, to deter intruders. Find the fire exits, and be especially inquisitive about them in a finished basement. Even if a basement if beautifully finished, it doesn’t offer the same ease of exit as the main part of the home. If you’re going to live in a multi-level apartment complex or a home with windows higher than you care to jump out of, buy an escape ladder. They’re specially made to hang out the window and so you can get to the ground safely if you need to evacuate through a window.

Next read guidelines #17-20. Leave us a comment with a funny story about running out of hot water in the house!

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Tips For Renters Part 3

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Next in our series, we provide additional pointers on how to successfully rent a space and live there happily! Don’t forget to go back and read Part 1 of tips for renters and Part 2 of tips for renters!

  1. Determine how much light you need to be happy. If you suffer from depression or seasonal dysphoria, a dark dwelling in a basement apartment is not a good idea. If light is really important, you may also want to narrow your search by dismissing any north facing windows. They do not offer much light or warmth. Also, look for rooms that don’t have overhead light fixtures. You’ll need lamps for those rooms right away.
  2. Take a look at entries and exits as they relate to moving furniture and appliances. Some properties have exceptionally small doorways and tight hallways. If you have huge furniture you may run the risk of not being able to get it inside. Keep in mind that there is often a window that might solve the problem if both panes are removed.
  3. If you don’t own much furniture and/or you have very limited space in your new place, favor properties that have built-ins. There will be less to buy and less to move. Many homes have built in desks, armoires, entertainment centers, and so on.
  4. Consider how you’re going to manage your pets. Most people just ask if dogs or cats are allowed. But, there are lifestyle decisions that are part of owning a pet. For instance, if you don’t like walking your dog three times a day, then you need a yard. If you’re gone all day, you need a doggie door. If you prefer playing in a natural setting or having some alone time with your dog, a city apartment would not be a good idea. City life requires you to leave the building, be in a busy public setting, and walk on concrete. Also, many residences have exotic animal restrictions and don’t allow bunnies, ferrets, or large fish aquariums. With any species, there is almost always an additional cost when you bring along a pet. Typically an extra deposit and sometimes even pet rent. Fido might have to get a job!

Next read guidelines #13-16.  Leave us a comment with your worst horror story about an item not fitting through the doors of your new home, and how you overcame it!