How to Capture Real Estate Pictures|Part One

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Tips

Real estate is a competitive market. You need to know how to represent your product best if you want potential homebuyers to make an offer on your home. Knowing how to take professional real estate pictures is essential to selling your home. You want to know what to shoot and how to capture it. Here are the general three rules of thumb to capture the perfect pictures for selling your home:

Not Too Many or Not Enough?

When taking pictures of your home, it is important to find balance. You are trying to spark the interest of the buyer. Not enough pictures can make buyers skeptical of the property, whereas too many images can hurt the potential sale as well. Aim for a dozen photos–include some exterior and interior shots. You are trying to showcase the strongest attributes of the home. Take pictures of areas that make your home unique and can help add to the sale. Remember to ask yourself why you are taking each picture.

Staging

Next, it is essential to make sure you stage your pictures correctly. Your landscaping should be impeccable for the photographs as well as your interior setting. Do not upload photos with messes or personal items in them like your car, family members, or pets. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised. You may even want to remove bulk furniture from the space. This can be temporary for the photo but allows the area to look bigger. You want your home is welcome to look lived in; however, do it with taste. Remove your toiletries from the restrooms and only have essentials for selling points.

Exterior Tips

Not essential, but you can include some unique exterior shots to help your home on the market. If you live in a nice neighborhood, consider having a drone shot of the property, including some of the surrounding homes. If you have the ability to show one seasonal shot, take advantage of this as well. Homes can look different during the winter and summer months. If your environment does not have dramatic influences on the home’s exterior, you do not need to include this. Remember, you do not want to create a massive album. Three to five exterior shots are plenty.

Having pictures can increase the amount of internet traffic and views. Make sure you take the time to get the best photos to help sell your home. For more tips, be sure to check out Part 2. The more tricks and tips you have in your arsenal can give you the advantage you need to sell your home.

Four Unique Ways to Make Your Staircase Standout

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice

Many homeowners are not aware of the design opportunity that a staircase provides, and many times, people tend to overlook this architectural element when decorating their homes. From using your favorite color to playing with LED lights, there are numerous ways you can style and add personality to your staircases. If you are interested in learning more, here four unique ways you can make your staircase standout:

A Beautiful Stair Runner

One easy way you can add style to your staircase is to use a stair runner. Go bold by selecting a runner with a vibrant hue or pattern. From animal prints to more textured runners, there is a wide variety on the market to fit your taste. Prints and designs are timeless because they instantly add a fun vibe while hiding any tracked in dirt or debris.

Use a Creative Handrail

A great way to make a statement with the staircase is to add a creative handrail. You can use a handrail made of a different material than you would think to use such as a rope handrail, or you can even bring in a hint of nature by building a handrail made from a branch. The possibilities are endless! Top off the look by adding a well-placed accessory at the bottom of the stairs such as a small table on the side or a woven basket to accent your look.

Illuminate the Pathway

Adding lighting to the stairway can be beneficial for safety reasons, but you can also use lighting to set a particular mood. This can be done by installing LED lights on the side of the steps. Lining the side of the staircase with LED lights will cast a futuristic glow that can also feel luxurious in dark settings.

Rainbow Staircase

Love color? Well, you can express your love of different hues right on your staircase. You can apply linoleum made up of different colors right on the riser so you can see each color from the bottom of the staircase and you can enjoy the look of each color as you go up or down the stairs.

What do you think your favorite staircase look is? We would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

The Ultimate Spring Checklist for Homeowners

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Outdoor Living

Chicago winters can be harsh on your home; therefore, it is essential to do an annual spring check-up of your house. Inspecting your home can help prevent any further damage to the structure and save homeowners a lot of money. This weekend, we recommend going outside and examining your house using this checklist to assure your home is in excellent condition.

Examine Your Exterior Siding

First, you will want to take a look at your home’s siding or bricks and check from any chipping or crumbling.

Repaint Siding and Trim

If necessary, you may have to repaint your home’s siding or trim. Experts recommend that you do not just “touch up” the area but repaint the entire section. We do this because paint can fade into different colors over time and it will be more noticeable that you just “touched up” the area than it was before you painted it.

Check Your Roof

It is imperative to check your roofing to avoid future leaking. Call an expert or two to come and look at your roof to ensure it is in good condition for the upcoming seasons.

Get a Chimney Inspection

Chimney inspections can help detect cracks or leaks in the structure that may be unseen from the outside. Also, you should have your chimney cleaned annually.

Clear out Your Gutters and Downspouts

A lot of grime and guck can get stuck in your gutters during the winter season. Clean out your gutters annually and make sure they are lined up with your home. There should not be any gaps or dips between them and the roof.

Look at Your Heating and Air Condition Unit

Check and replace your filters and air purifiers.

Inspect Your Attic

Attics should be examined annually to determine if they have proper ventilation. Homeowners should look for any hindrance in the vents and panels. Also, you should take a look at the attic to see if any leaking is coming from your roof.

Inspecting your home annually can be beneficial for you and your family’s health. Also, it can help save you money in the future by being aware of issues ahead of time. If you are concerned about something in your home, call a company to come out and take a look. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Creating the Ultimate Spring Garden

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Curb Appeal, DIY Projects, Outdoor Living

Spring into a new yard design this year by incorporating some of spring’s trendiest flowers and plants. Every spring, homeowners fall into a routine of planting the same things each year. This year, liven up your yard with bright colors and take on planting that garden you have always talked about, and spring into a new routine!

Plan the Layout

Your garden holds extraordinary potential, and maybe you have the perfect layout already in mind. But if you do not, draw up a layout of how you want your plants, herbs, vegetables and/or flowers to sit in your garden.

Pro Tip: You do not need to section off your flowers from vegetables, they can coexist and actually mix well with one another. Vegetables can actually benefit from certain plants and their shade. For example, lettuce loves the shade; place your taller flowers in front to help the growth of this vegetable.

When Less Is Better

Look for plants that are grown in your area at local nurseries or shops, because these plants will flourish in your yard. Homeowners struggle with choosing their plants because a lot of times they are not native to your area and will ultimately take a lot of extra work. So, create less work for yourself by dressing up your yard in native plants.

Add Personality

Marking your garden’s items is a great way to get creative. Plus, making DIY garden labels creates a fun project!

DIY Garden Labels:

  • Purchase chalkboard signs and write each of the herbs/vegetables you have growing in your garden.
  • Use some old bricks and write the plant names with a permanent marker.
  • Paint some rocks with the names of your plants.
  • Hammer down silverware and engrave the plant’s name onto the utensil.

Also, think about the containers you are keeping your potted plants in and try to purchase some stylish pots. You can even get crafty with your current pots and a can of paint.

Make a Calendar

Timing is everything when it comes to gardening. Making a calendar will help assure your garden grows to its highest potential. Section off the things that should be done in the early, middle, and end of spring.

Do you love to garden? Have any tips you can share with our readers? We would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Grout like an Expert

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Flooring, Tile, Tips

Tile can give any home a very luxurious feel. Immaculate backsplashes, enhancing shower systems, or tantalizing foyers all are rooted with tasteful tile selections. However, nothing can hurt this pristine look quite like dirty grout lines. You invest time and money into finding the perfect tiles and complementary grout yet overtime your grout has browned and looks unkept. To help, here is everything you need to know on why your grout is getting dirty, how to clean it, and how to prevent it from happening down the line. Let’s take a look!

Why Grout Gets Dirty

Grout is a pourable mortar used to close the gaps between floor and wall tiles. It comes in two types: sanded and unsanded. The sealant is composed of water, cement, and sometimes sand; therefore, grout is very porous, allowing it to be very permeable to liquids. If moisture is in the air, it can embed dirt into your grout lines. Likewise, if you spill a colored beverage, your grout is susceptible to soaking it up and staining with the color.

How to Clean Grout

First, you will want to broom or dust the surface of any grime. Using hot water can help break down more difficult soot embedded into the surface of the grout. Create a homogenous mixture of vinegar and water and pour it onto your grout. It may need to soak for several minutes to work its way down into the grout. After it is absorbed, use a toothbrush or scrub brush to remove debris.

Maintenance

Typically, installers will not seal grout the same day of being applied to allow the grout to cure. If you have epoxy grout, it is not porous and will not need to be sealed. However, if not, it would be in your best interest to seal it. This sealant can prevent unwanted discoloring or staining from occurring in the future. Your sealant will help protect against stains and bacteria from forming on your grout lines.

If you have dirty grout, do not leave it unattended for too long. Cleaning your grout is easy and can make your tile look brand new. Remember to seal your grout after to help prevent discoloring down the road. For more tips and tricks on floor maintenance, make sure to subscribe to our blog!

Charming Ways to Spruce up Your Home’s Exterior

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, DIY Projects, Outdoor Living

As spring is in full bloom, it is time to start taking care of our home’s exterior, and small weekend projects can make a big difference. If you have the opportunity to set aside a couple of hours this week, here are our top picks for exterior home modifications that are cost-effective and time-conscious. Let’s take a look!

Paint Your Front Door

This is a great do-it-yourself project that can really change your entire curb appeal. Simply, start by removing your door then remove your handles and locks so only the part that needs painted remains. Take your door outside where you can paint it. You will want to sand the door to remove old paint or until it feels smooth. Make sure all the dust is off the door before adding your primer. You can now paint your door any color you choose. You can give your home a pop of color with a bright red or blue, or you can even provide a modern look with a dark grey or black. Just make sure your door is completely dry before rehanging it.

Plant Flowers

Some flowers are easier to grow than others. If it is your first garden or flowerbed, you may want to start with easy plants. Consider if you will incorporate a water irrigation system. If you can make a system before planting, you can evade having your life revolve around watering plants during the hot months. Just make sure your plants can be exposed to plenty of sunlight as well. Trees and houses can block some other important sunrays crucial to growing your plants. Flowerbeds can be a fun project to keep up on during the warm months and completely change your home’s curb appeal.

Stain Your Patio Furniture

Pick a day that there will be no rain or intense heat. If you are staining patio furniture on a deck or concrete surface, make sure to tarp the area. Stain can really spruce up your old furniture but be sure to plan ahead because not all woods except stain the same. You will also want to sand with the grain. Apply your first coat and allow it to soak. You can wipe to remove any heavy coating and apply accordingly until you accomplish the level you like.

These simple projects are great for any level of home fixer-uppers. With little tools and a full weekend, you can accomplish wonders in your yard. Which projects are your favorite? We would love to hear from you. Make sure to leave a comment below and subscribe for more content.

Why Do I Need Backsplash?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Backsplash, Ceramic / Porcelain Tile, Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Remodeling, Tile, Tips

When you think of your dream kitchen, it probably has beautiful cabinetry, a gorgeous sink setup, plenty of counter space, and of course, a backsplash.  Backsplashes are the perfect remedy to take your kitchen’s aesthetics to the next level because tile is a timeless home improvement that can make any room feel more luxurious and personalized. Additionally, tile can help tailor the design to your liking. 

Think of a backsplash as a blank canvas to express your design theme.  From monochromatic tiles to intricate mosaic glass work, your backsplash can be designed in a variety of different ways to make a statement.  That being said, backsplash serves more than just this purpose.  Here is everything you should consider prior to adding your backsplash to your kitchen:

Functionality

Kitchens can get messy, and drywall does not respond well to sticky messes and water.  Backsplashes primarily protect your walls and can make messes easier to clean.  Think of your backsplash as an extension to your countertops that runs up the wall.  They can easily be wiped down and help prevent stains from getting on the walls.  Backsplashes work great for behind the sink, range, or countertop where food prep is done.  You can even include backsplashes in your bathrooms as well to protect your walls.

Aesthetics

Functionality aside, backsplashes are downright beautiful.  Adding a backsplash in your kitchen or bath can help enhance your home’s aesthetics.  There are some many wonderful selections to choose from when picking your tile.  Consider mosaic, painted designs on tiles, ceramic, subway tile, or even creating your own picture frame with pencil tile.  Your walls are blank canvases for you to create your very own masterpiece.  The next step is to find a complementary grout to help enhance the design.  You can go with a close neutral color or even a contrasting color to help make your tiles pop.  A general rule of thumb is to not have your wall tiles be a larger size than tiles on the flooring.

Other Materials

There are more than just ceramic or glass tiles you can use to create your look.  You can invest in granite, stainless steel, laminate, shiplap, or even sheet glass for a flawless look.  Decide what backsplash will enhance your design the most while considering how messy your walls may get and what application works best.  Find the best solution for functionality and then go about the design for your home.

Backsplashes are perfect upgrades to improve your home’s beauty and value.  They say “copying” is the highest form of flattery.  Look online or in person for a style you would like to replicate. If you need help or assistance, one of our knowledgable sales associates would love to assist you in finding the perfect look. 

Interior Design Principles for the Home

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Are you one of those people who was born with an excellent eye for design? If not, did you know that many designers have learned this valuable skill instead of inheriting it? There are some of us that do not have the first inkling of what to do when it comes to designing our homes. To help, we have listed a few of the basic techniques that will help you design your home. These decorating tips are simple enough that just about anyone can use. We hope you are motivated and comfortable in starting to design an entire house or just one room!

The Room’s Focal Point

The most emphasized feature of a room is the focal point. It is what your eye is drawn to when entering the room. Everything around the focal point will complement it. Finding the focal point is the first place to begin when decorating a room. If you are not sure where to start, look around the room for already built-in focal points. For example, a large window or fireplace can serve as built-in focal points. If the room does not already have a focal point, create one.

Think about what you will be doing inside of the room and build your focal point around it. If it is a reading room, make a bookcase your focal point. You can also use a large piece of artwork or a mirror as a focal point. If you already have a focal point, let’s say the fireplace is painted white; you will place some accent pieces around the room in white. If the focal point is a mirror, you may frame it on either side with complementing pieces of artwork. If your room does not have a focal point, you can create one by:

  • Painting one wall a different color and accessorizing it with artwork or decorative shelves.
  • Decide what you want to use the room for then create a focal point around that. A great example would be a reading room and the bookcase as a focal point.
  • Use a large piece of furniture as a focal point.
  • Use a large piece of artwork/mirror/textile as a focal point.

The Odd Numbers Rule

By designing a room with odd numbers, you will be able to create harmony with visual interest. Designing with odd numbers is a foundation that carries more appealing and memorable areas than even numbered items. You need to have items that vary in height, textures, and shapes. Also, do not forget to keep in mind that something similar should be happening with each item. There should be something similar that groups these items.

Designing a space takes time. You will learn what works for your house through trial and error. Remember to take it slow and that you know more than you may think.

How to Choose the Perfect Bathroom Tile

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Flooring, Hints and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Remodeling, Tile, Tips

When deciding to begin a bathroom remodel, we get excited to explore all the different ideas that can be incorporated. We look at countertops, sinks, cabinets, bathtubs, but most importantly, we look for the perfect tile. Tile is a timeless bathroom remedy that can functionally enhance the aesthetics of the atmosphere. We generate a theme from what we have seen before and have liked. Maybe you saw a rustic design at a restaurant, or perhaps your friends’ house has a simply beautiful, all-white design. While we search through a plethora of Pinterest pins and available options in a store, you begin to form an idea of the direction you want your bathroom design to go. To help you guide you during your decision process, here are our top three rules to follow in choosing the perfect bathroom tile.

Design

The first step is that you will need to select a design style that is meaningful to you. Decide if you want dark or light tiles, ceramic or glass, a lot of character or plain, texturized or smooth. Try not to select more than three tile types in your bathroom. Too many styles can feel busy and chaotic. To make your design feel more uniform, you will want to pick a primary tile and secondary tile. Your other tile choices can be used for trim, accent, and added character throughout the room.

Scale

If you are stuck on the size tile, consider the relative scale. If you select a 12×24, you can use it to accentuate the length of a room. You can use a smaller, more symmetrical option like 12×12 tiles too if your bathroom demands more cuts. A smaller tile will mean fewer cuts around plumbing and furniture. If you go with a larger tile, it can make a small room feel larger. Be careful not to go to big in very small spaces, or it can look strange. A general rule of thumb is to never put larger tiles on the walls than the tiles on the floor.

Maintenance

If you are okay with a little more maintenance, natural stone tiles are great for adding character to a room. However, if you do not want to be spending a ton of time cleaning, ceramic and porcelain are your safest options. Glass can make great for accents or walls but is not a good choice for the ground. Look into some mosaic glass designs to add even more character in your showers or bath.

Picking the perfect tile is fun. It is safest to go with your first instinct. All tiles have character, decide how much you are willing to put in a space. Too many high-designed tiles can clash and make the space look busy. Also, do not forget to consider the maintenance and size you want in your home. With these simple guidelines in mind, you are ready to create your dream oasis bathroom.

Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood and Laminate

In today’s flooring market, we not only have solid hardwood floors we also have engineered hardwood floors. Engineered wood is made from a thin, top layer of solid wood, while the base of the product is made of plywood. Engineered wood is durable while providing the same beautiful look found in traditional hardwood floors. If you are new to the concept of engineered hardwood, we wanted to explain the key differences between traditional and engineered hardwood. Let’s take a look!

Engineered Hardwood

  • The cost is less expensive than solid hardwood because of the plywood base. Regarding solid hardwood, you are paying for the entire plank of wood, compared to engineered the expensive layer is only on the top.
  • Versatility for installing engineered wood floors with a tongue and groove system by loosely laid or installed using glue. Engineered floors can be installed on all levels of the home. Also, engineered hardwoods do not expand and contract like solid hardwood floors.
  • Various finishes are offered from hand-scraped, textured, and smooth.
  • Engineered floors are more environmentally friendly than traditional hardwood floors.
  • Engineered hardwood holds up well against moisture, allowing homeowners to install hardwood floors in places they never imagined possible.

Traditional Hardwood

  • Hardwood floors can be refinished over and over with the results looking like the day you bought it.
  • Many homeowners love having beautiful, solid hardwood floors in their home.
  • Solid hardwood floors are made from 100% wood and are more expensive. If you are not concerned with budget, solid hardwood floors may be the best choice for you.
  • Solid hardwood floors have more of a specific process for installing than engineered wood floors.
  • Solid hardwood floors will expand and contract with the weather and over time.

For more information on traditional hardwood and engineered hardwood, one of our expert sales associates would love to help guide you on which option may be best for your lifestyle and home. Please call or visit one of our showrooms for more information.